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Why Are My Eyes Red and Itchy?

Why Are My Eyes Red and Itchy?

Red, itchy eyes are irritating and can make it difficult to work, sleep and enjoy life. Since there are several reasons why eyes may be red and itchy, it is important to consult an eye doctor, who can determine what is causing your symptoms. Contact Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park and .

Common Causes of Red, Itchy Eyes

If your eyes are pink or reddish and itchy, the reason may be:

  • Allergies
  • Infectious conjunctivitis
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Blepharitis

Allergies

The same allergens that cause sneezing and coughing can also make your eyes red and itchy. Hay fever, allergies to pet dander, and just about any type of allergic reaction can bring on these symptoms.

Infectious Conjunctivitis

A red- or pink-looking front part of the eye and ocular itchiness are also associated with infectious conjunctivitis, commonly called “pink eye.” Highly contagious, it is often transmitted by viruses, but sometimes by bacteria. Conjunctivitis often occurs along with a cold, flu or an infection of the upper respiratory tract or ear.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that can range from mildly irritating redness and dryness to serious chronic inflammation. Eyes become dry, red and may sometimes itch or burn. Vision may become blurred. Dry eyes are often caused by a meibomian gland dysfunction that affects the tears.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid that can cause eyes to become red, the eyelids swollen and the eyelashes crusty. It can be caused by a bacterial infection, mite infestations, parasites and meibomian gland dysfunction.

Find the Root Cause of Red, Itchy Eyes

These are a few of the possible reasons your eyes are red and itchy. If your symptoms suddenly worsen or persist more than a few days, it’s important to consult your eye doctor, who can diagnose and treat the problem. Book an appointment with Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park and .

At Eye Mechanix, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 773-857-1260 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lincoln Park eye doctors.

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Q&A

What Is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Viral conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye,” is the most common type of conjunctivitis.The viral variety is often accompanied by a sore throat, fever, runny nose and a cold. The eye is a pink color, is itchy and tears up. Viral conjunctivitis often goes away on its own after three to seven days, but can lead to a bacterial eye infection, so always consult your eye doctor. Cold compresses and artificial tears may relieve symptoms.

What is Bacterial Conjunctivitis?

Bacterial conjunctivitis occurs less often than the viral form and arises from an infection caused by staphylococcal, streptococcus or Haemophilus bacteria. The eyes become reddish or pink, tear up, itch and often burn. Frequently, the eye emits yellowish or greenish discharge and the eyelids swell. Bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious and must be treated with antibiotic drops or cream to eliminate the infection as soon as possible.

Risk Of Overusing Eye Drops

If you find yourself constantly reaching for eye drops, it’s time to start looking into the bigger issue: Why do you need them so often? While they may provide a quick and satisfying fix for irritated or itchy eyes, they don’t focus on what might be causing the irritation to begin with.

Two signs that you’re overusing eye drops: you often exceed the daily recommended dose and/or you view eye drops as a cure rather than a temporary treatment.

Risks of Overusing Eye Drops

When overusing eye drops you can run the risk of:

  • Washing away your natural tears. Artificial tears feel great as they lubricate your eyes and help with insufficient tear production. But overuse can literally wash away the natural moisturizers and your natural tears that protect your eyes.
  • Rebounding. As the effects of the eye drops subside or upon discontinuation of the drops, the original eye symptoms may return stronger than before. This is known as eye rebounding. Eye drops clamp down on the blood vessels in the eye to stop itchiness, which means your sclera isn’t getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs. When you stop using eye drops, or their effects wear off, your eyes may work in overdrive to deliver oxygen to those vessels.
  • Masking a more serious problem. Addressing the symptoms of red, itchy eyes rather than the cause could be more serious than you think.

Conditions That Eye Drops Could Be Masking

Red, itchy eyes are a symptom of several conditions, including:

  • Blepharitis – Red and inflamed eyelids, caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, gland dysfunction, parasites, or dry eye, all of which require treatment beyond over-the-counter eye drops.
  • Eye trauma – Scratching or rubbing your eye can cause blood vessels to break, making the eye itchy and red. Some more serious traumas will require prescription eye drops or surgery.
  • Eye strain – Focusing on work all day and night can cause irritated, tired, and strained eyes.
  • Foreign objects – An eyelash, dust, or something worse could be in your eye. If you have long-term issues with itchy or dry eyes, make sure a foreign body isn’t the culprit.
  • Allergies – Allergies to the environment or pets can cause dry, itchy eyes.
  • Pink eye – A bacterial or viral eye infection, also called conjunctivitis, can cause burning, swelling, and itchiness.
  • Dry eye syndrome – Irritation, redness and itchiness are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. In severe cases, DES can damage the cornea.

Regardless of why you often use eye drops, the only way to get to the root cause of your symptoms is a thorough eye exam. Don’t cover up the symptoms with eye drops.

If you’re suffering from irritated, dry eyes that haven’t resolved on their own, contact Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park. We can help you find the long-lasting relief you’ve been looking for.

At Eye Mechanix, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 773-857-1260 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lincoln Park eye doctors.

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Frequently Asked Questions with Randall Ricketts O.D.

Q: What are symptoms of dry eye syndrome ?

  • A: Irritation, redness and itchiness are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. In severe cases, DES can damage the cornea.

Q: Are OTC eye drops safe ?

  • A: Eye drops may provide relief. But don’t overuse them. Overuse can cause more harm than good. Find out what happens when you overuse those relieving eye drops.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Chicago, Illinois. Visit Eye Mechanix for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.