It’s never easy to have uncomfortable, itchy eyes. It makes it difficult to focus on your work or having fun with your family because it’s on your mind all the time. Maybe your eyes hurt when you blink or it feels better when they’re closed.
In some cases, people think that itchy eyes are their new normal. You might learn to live with it, even though it makes life less enjoyable. Before you go another day in discomfort, it’s time to learn what you can do to help yourself.
Read on to discover what to do for dry, itchy eyes. You may find a simple solution that fixes the problem immediately or learn that your doctor could recommend a better long-term solution. It all depends on the source of the irritation and how your eyes react to each treatment.
Grab Your Face Wash
Allergies are the most common cause for itchy eyes, especially during spring and summer, when seasonal allergens are everywhere. You may have dealt with pollen or ragweed allergies since you were a kid or just started experiencing the symptoms this year.
The next time you walk inside after a trip to the store or a walk around the block, grab your face wash. Gently cleanse your face and avoid rubbing around the eyes. Once you rinse and dry off, your skin will be free of any allergens sticking around. This could help solve the problem and let your eyes ease back to normal.
Use a Few Eye Drops
Eye drops are a simple, cost-effective solution to dry eyes. You can find them at nearly any store for only a few dollars. Look for a product that aims explicitly to help dryness. Some drops focus on only reducing redness.
Use the drops as recommended by the directions on the box and give them a few hours to work. If you don’t notice a difference by then, it may be time to try another approach.
Create a Compress
Find a washcloth or other small towel in your home and turn it into a compress. The key is to try either hot or cold treatments to help your eyes, depending on what underlying cause.
Run the cloth under water that’s hot enough to retain heat but not hot enough to hurt you. Place it over your eyes and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. The heat will stimulate your meibomian glands, which produce oil from your eyelids. It’s a natural oil that traditionally lubricates the eyes, but the glands can become swollen or clogged.
You can also try a cold compress by running your cloth under cold water or soaking it in an ice bath. Apply it for 10 minutes and note if your eyes feel or look better. Cold temperatures constrict inflamed blood vessels that cause itchiness. It also calms the nerves around your eyes, which should help you feel immediate relief.
Invest in a Humidifier
If you live in a place with dry air or you’re experiencing winter weather, the cause of your dry eyes could be dry air. When the weather cools down, it typically contains less moisture. The dry breeze evaporates your natural tear film, leaving you with dry eyes that hurt or itch.
Set up a humidifier in your home or office space, depending on where you spend the most time. You’ll increase the humidity in the air and may notice a difference in how you feel right away.
Take a Break
Most people spend their days staring at a computer screen, written work or another task in complete focus. You might not even notice how long you go without blinking once you’re in a good workflow, but that could be what’s irritating your eyes. Set alarms or timers to remind you to take breaks. Walk around, stretch and make sure to check in on how your eyes feel. The movement will snap you out of your staring if it’s the cause of your eye irritation.
Consult With Your Doctor
If none of these tips seem to make a difference and you experience itchy dry eyes every day, the problem could be the medication you take. Certain medications include a side effect that interrupts normal tear production, even on a minimal level. Talk with your doctor to see if this is the case for your daily medication and they’ll come up with a plan to adjust your dosage or fill out a new prescription that may help more.