Practically everyone experiences itchy eyes from time to time. There are many causes of itchy eyes, and the problem frequently is accompanied by itchy eyelids– especially at the base of the eyelashes– and red eyes or swollen eyelids.
The medical term for itchy eyes is ocular pruritus (“proo-RIE-tus”).
Why Are My Eyes Always Itchy?
Most of the time, itchy eyes are triggered by some kind of allergic reaction. An annoying substance (called an irritant) – such as pollen, dust and animal dander – causes the release of compounds called histamines in the tissues around the eyes, which leads to itching, redness and swelling.
Surprisingly, there are two significant forms of allergic reactions – eye allergic reactions and nose allergic reactions, called allergic conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis, respectively. Although many individuals who suffer from allergies do have both allergic conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis together, it is completely possible to just have one or the other! Therefore it is possible to have itching, soreness, and tearing of the eyes, representing allergic rhinitis, without accompanying sneezing and nasal blockage.
How You Can Help Yourself?
I would recommend that you visit your doctor. They will be able to confirm a medical diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis. Thankfully, there are exceptional medications that can be used to treat allergic conjunctivitis, consisting of non sedating antihistamines like loratidine (claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec), as well as various eye drops that your doctor can prescribe for you.
It will also be important to consider potential sources of the eye allergic reactions. Typical offenders are “indoor allergens” like cat or dog dandruff, mites, mold, and fungus. If you can identify the upseting representative, it makes it simpler to deal with the symptoms, as you can work at getting rid of the irritant (for instance if the problem is termites, you can put mite covers on your bed mattress).
However allergies aren’t the only cause of always itchy eyes. If (in addition to itching) your eyes are burning, the cause may be dry eye syndrome or meibomian gland dysfunction, not allergic reactions.
Similarly, if your eyelids are red and inflamed, you may have a condition called blepharitis, which is caused by bacteria and sometimes by tiny mites that reside on the eyelids.
If you use contact lenses, itchy eyes can make lens wear very unpleasant. Sometimes, if you are wearing your contacts too long or do not replace them often enough, this too can cause itchy eyes.