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Itchy Eyes/Ocular Pruritus

Itchy eyes are usually caused from allergies affecting the conjunctiva (tissue lining the white of the eye) due to exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust and pet dander. It can also be caused by an allergic reaction to chemicals such as contact lens solution, eye drops or make-up. Itchy eyes may also be caused by an underlying condition such as dry eyes and bacterial infections of the eye lid. Some of the symptoms associated with itchy eyes include watering of the eyes, swollen eyelids, redness of the eyes, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, blurred vision, and running nose. These symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition.

Your doctor can diagnose the cause of itchy eyes after taking a history, performing a physical examination and possibly ordering some tests. Once diagnosed, it can be treated by removing the offending allergen and reducing the immune response with anti-inflammatory eye drops. If you are at risk or have a history of itchy eyes, this condition is better prevented than treated.

Some steps that can be taken to prevent allergic conjunctivitis are:

  • Dust your house regularly and remove pet dander
  • Shut your windows to avoid allergens from outside
  • Keep your pets away from your bed and places where you spend most of your time
  • Avoid smoking indoors
  • Take precautions while working outside: use face masks when mowing the lawn and wash yourself thoroughly after working outside

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