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What are itchy eyes?

When we say we have itchy eyes, we actually mean that we have an irritation of the eye lid/s, usually around the eyelash area but it can also be an irritation of the clear membrane that covers the eye. Itchy eyes are often a symptom of another condition.

Who is affected by itchy eyes?

Nearly everyone has itchy eyes now and again and they are usually nothing to worry about.

What are the symptoms of itchy eyes?

Itchy eyes are itchy! The skin around them can be red and inflamed or dry and flaky. They can be caused by a dusty or smoky atmosphere, wearing your contact lenses for too long or any of a number of conditions including:

How do you treat itchy eyes?

Itchy eyes can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, and the treatment usually depends on the cause. No matter how tempting, avoid rubbing your eyes as this can make them worse. Symptoms can be alleviated with over-the counter eye drops or a clean, cold damp cloth placed on the eye lids. If the itching persists, book an appointment with your optometrist who will be able to determine the cause and recommend suitable eye drops, medication or other suitable treatment. Some optometrists are qualified as independent prescribers, which means that they will be able to write a prescription.

If it is an allergy, such as hay fever, your GP or local pharmacist will be able to advise on suitable antihistamines and ways to alleviate symptoms.