Itchy Eyes? You Should See an Optometrist

If your eyes are often itchy, you might turn to over-the-counter eye drops and allergy medications for relief. And these measures can work for some patients. But if they do not work for you, then your next step should be to see an optometrist. They can help get to the bottom of what's causing your itchy eyes, and depending on the cause, recommend one of the following treatments.

1. Anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Often, eyes become itchy due to inflammation. And this inflammation can be caused by anything from allergies, to makeup sensitivity, to an autoimmune condition. Obviously, staying away from things that may be causing an allergic reaction or sensitivity is important, but anti-inflammatory eye drops can also help. Usually, these are provided by prescription. You will need to apply them once or twice a day to keep symptoms at bay, hopefully preventing the inflammation and itching before it acts up.

2. Different contacts or contact solution.

If you are a contact lens wearer, then your itchiness may be related to your contacts or contact solution. Sometimes a contact solution that works really well for most people does make certain patients' eyes itchy. Your optometrist may recommend a different contact solution for you to use. Or, they may recommend a different brand of contact lenses that breathes a little more. Getting more oxygen to your eyes through a more permeable contact lens can help curb the itching. In some cases, you may be advised to avoid wearing contacts, either permanently, or just for a few weeks until you can get a handle on the itchiness.

3. Punctal plugs.

Sometimes itchiness occurs because your eyes are dry. Your eye doctor can easily tell if you have below-normal tear production and dry eyes. If you do, they may recommend a treatment called punctal plugs. These are tiny, silicone plugs that look like bitty grains of rice. Your eye doctor can insert them in your tear ducts. Don't worry; this does not hurt! The punctal plugs will keep your tears from draining into your tear ducts, so your eyes stay moist. Once your eye is moister, the itchiness should fade away. Punctal plugs can stay in place for years at a time. If they fall out, they're easy to replace. 

Don't ignore itchy eyes. Regardless of the cause, there is plenty your eye doctor can do for them. You deserve to live comfortably with non-itchy eyes.