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How To Ease Eye Itching: 6 Tips To Soothe The Discomfort

Medically reviewed by Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO · Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Dan Navarro · Updated Jul 26, 2021

How To Ease Eye Itching: 6 Tips To Soothe The Discomfort

Are you experiencing a combination of itchy, burning, and watery sensation in your eyes? Are you having difficulty opening your eyes? Do you find that gunk accumulates more often on your eyelids than usual? It can all become very inconvenient and uncomfortable. Learn how to ease eye itching here. 

Why Do My Eyes Itch?

Itchiness and irritation in our eyes can be a burden on our daily lives and activities. It is especially true if our work requires our sight. Eye itching occurs due to various factors such as bacteria and irritation from foreign substances. So, we should recognize what causes our discomfort, what preventive measures can be done, and how to reduce eye itching.

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Possible Causes

Most of us have experienced eye itching and irritation and are treating these as typical occurrences. However, this condition is a common symptom of numerous eye disorders or other complications. These include:

  • Conjunctivitis/ Pink Eye. This happens when the conjunctiva, the tissue that covers the white part of the eye and inside the eyelids, becomes inflamed. Symptoms include itching and irritation of the eyes and a sticky discharge such as pus and mucus
  • Outdoor allergens such as pollen from plants and trees. 
  • Indoor allergens like dander, dust mites, and molds.
  • Irritants such as smoke, perfume, and cosmetic products.
  • Dry eyes. This is due to the low production of tears. It can lead to an itchy, rough, and burning sensation in our eyes, along with redness, blurred vision, and lack of tears. This can also be due to the body’s response to medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, contraceptive pills, and medicinal treatments for acne such as isotretinoin.
  • Blepharitis. Commonly due to bacterial infection, the condition may cause pain, heat, and swelling around the eyes. It can also lead to irritation and itchiness of the eye and the production of flaky or sticky substances on the eyelashes.
  • Eyestrain. Excessive use of our eyes in our daily activities can also lead to a burning, watery, and itchy feeling in your eyes, as well as headache and soreness on the neck, shoulders, or back.
  • Contact Lens Infections. The contact lenses that we usually use for aesthetic purposes may also harbor allergens and bacteria that can lead to itchiness and irritation in the eye if we do not often change and clean our contact lenses.
  • Rubbing the eyes. Rubbing our eyes whenever we feel itchiness and irritation is a way too common practice. However, this might cause more pain and infection. Intense rubbing can also lead to a scratch or tear in the cornea.

How to Ease Eye Itching

Eye itching and irritation are symptoms of numerous eye disorders, some of which can be contagious, or are triggered by irritants and other substances in our environment. While we can’t avoid the risks of experiencing these conditions, there are ways on how to reduce irritation in the eyes.

1. Avoid rubbing your eyes

As much as possible, avoid rubbing and touching the irritated and itchy eye as it may become more painful and infected. It may also cause a scratch or a tear in the cornea. Instead of rubbing, apply a cold compress on the infected eye to minimize the symptoms.

2. Keep your hands clean

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before treating your eyes with eye drops or ointments. Make sure they’re clean as well before and after you remove any discharge from your eyes.

When cleaning your eyes, do it gently. Carefully remove any discharge around your eyes several times a day with a clean, wet cloth or fresh cotton ball. Dispose of the used cotton ball with pus or mucus, and sanitize the clothing with hot water and detergent after use.

3. No sharing of garments and eye products

Avoid sharing pillows, towels, eye drops, cosmetics, contact lenses, eyeglasses, and other personal belongings as it can lead to potential eye irritation and infection.

4. Rest your eyes

Prevent eye strain by resting your eyes and taking breaks. It is also important to limit screen time. You may also use appropriate eyewear or adjust the lighting of your workspace.

Simple Eye Exercises to Prevent Eye Strain

5. Keep your contact lens clean

Dispose of disposable contact lenses after every use. If not possible, always clean your contact lenses and case with a cleaning solution.

6. Use eye drops

Use doctor-prescribed lubricating eye drops and artificial tears to ease the irritation and wash away allergens in the eye. For seasonal allergies, you can either take oral antihistamine medications or eye drops to minimize itchiness.

If symptoms persist or have worsened, seek medical treatments from professional eye doctors.

Key Takeaways

Itchiness and irritation in the eye can signify an underlying eye condition. It may be due to several factors that trigger an infection in the eye. After determining the cause, you can proceed to explore the different treatments on how to ease eye itching.

While there are available over-the-counter medicines and other home treatments for the infected eye, seeking professional advice from eye doctors is a must, especially if you want to know how to reduce irritation in the eyes and keep the condition from recurring. 

Learn more about Eye Care here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO

Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Dan Navarro · Updated Jul 26, 2021

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