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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


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 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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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.

Emergency Eye Care Services - Pink Eye Treatment in Lincoln Park, Illinois

Do you or your child have red irritated sore eyes with a bit of swelling and or burning with a sticky discharge? It may be pink eye.


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What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an eye condition where the conjunctiva – the thin, clear layer lining the white (sclera) of the eye – swells up, causing the eye to appear red. The reddish or pink hue is due to the appearance of inflamed blood vessels in the sclera.

There exist several causes of pink eye, all of which will be discussed below. The term “pink eye” most commonly refers to the viral infection, though it can also be bacterial or allergic in origin.

If you suspect you may have pink eye, call your optometrist right away for prompt treatment. While pink eye is a mild eye emergency, delayed treatment can lead to vision or ocular damage.

The 4 Types of Pink Eye

1. Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus and is the most contagious form of the condition. One can easily spread the virus by sneezing or coughing. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include watery, itchy, and red eyes along with sensitivity to light (in one or both eyes).This type of pink eye will usually run its course and clear up on its own within a few days without medical treatment. To relieve unpleasant symptoms, apply a cold, wet compress to the affected eye several times a day.

2. Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria and can affect either one or both eyes. Symptoms of a bacterial infection include burning, grittiness and a yellow, sticky discharge in the corner of the eye. Bacterial pink eye is contagious and can spread through direct contact with contaminated hands or items that have been in contact with the affected eye. Treatment for bacterial eye infection is vital because, if left untreated, it can result in severe vision damage. Treatment includes antibiotic eye drops and ointments, which improve conjunctivitis in a matter of 3-5 days.

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3. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by eye allergens or irritants, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust. Symptoms include itchy, watery, or burning eyes, occasionally accompanied by nasal congestion or a runny nose. Since allergic conjunctivitis affects individuals who are sensitive to specific allergens, it is not contagious and always affects both eyes. Allergy medication can help prevent or shorten allergic pink eye flare-ups.

4. Chemical conjunctivitis, a non-contagious form of pink eye, is caused by chemicals that lead the eye(s) to become irritated and swollen. Certain chemical irritants include smoke, chlorine (in a pool), air pollution, fumes, and other non-toxic chemicals. Symptoms include pain, temporarily decreased vision, redness, and swelling. To treat chemical conjunctivitis, you need to thoroughly flush the eye with clean water or a sterile eye irrigating solution to remove any irritating substances from the eye. Once the chemical is removed, you can use lubricating eye drops to soothe the eye and decrease redness.

Tips for Preventing Pink Eye

Contact lens wearers should remove their contacts if redness occurs and refrain from re-inserting them until the eyes fully heal. A visit to the eye doctor will help determine whether your contact lenses are the cause of your conjunctivitis and will advise on how to avoid a recurrence in the future.

Contact your eye doctor at Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park to determine the root cause and to get the best treatment for your pink eye. This condition tends to be simple to treat and easy to prevent.

Anyone can get conjunctivitis, but these simple precautions can help you dramatically lower your risk.

  • Frequently wash your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • Never share items such as makeup, hand towels, washcloths, or eyeglasses
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • Wear goggles when swimming to shield the eyes from microbes and irritants
  • Replace contact lenses as directed
  • Regularly sanitize household surfaces and handheld devices
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