Itchy eyes may not equal allergies in every case

itchy eyesDuring fall, ragweed and other culprits may cause hay fever flare-ups and eye problems. The same goes for springtime when the trees, bushes, and flowers are blooming and itchy, red eyes can be attributed to pollen in the air.

But what if pollen’s not to blame? Sometimes eyes can react strongly to dust, which doesn’t have a season, or to insect stings, make-up, soap or household cleaning products. Sometimes medication can be the problem as well.

A quick way to see if it’s pollen is to take an antihistamine. In addition to helping calm down any sneezing that’s going on, this will also likely soothe the itch and redness in your eyes. If that doesn’t help, you may have something more serious, such as:

  • Scratched cornea. A mild scratch will cause some itching, but a more severe injury will also produce redness, pain, blurry vision and sensitivity to light.
  • Dry eye syndrome. If your eyes are not producing enough tears, then they are not flushing out irritants, which can cause redness and swelling.
  • Eyelid inflammation. Known as blepharitis, this happens when the oil glands at the base of your eyelashes aren’t working properly.
  • Pink eye. Also known as conjunctivitis, this can be any one of several problems that causes redness in the eye from a virus.

Any or all of the above conditions won’t go away by themselves, so if your itchy, red eyes aren’t clearing up on their own and are affecting your vision, make an appointment to see your eye care professional right away. He or she will quickly get to the bottom of the problem, and recommend a treatment that’ll have you clear-eyed in no time.