Having irritated and itching eyes can result from a myriad of factors. In this article, we will look at some of the possible causes and home remedies that apply to the same.
Note that you should always consult your doctor before opting to use home remedies. By delaying your visit to the hospital, you could be aggravating the situation.
Eye irritation causes
An eye irritant refers to anything that irritates the inside or exterior of your eye. Symptoms of eye irritation are often similar, though irritation can result from various factors.
People with eye irritation often suffer from itchiness, redness, wateriness, tearing, pain, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. The symptoms usually depend on the cause of the irritation.
Possible causes of eye irritation include allergies, irritants, exposure to foreign objects, eye strain, dry eye, infections, styes, and blocked ducts. The irritation could also indicate underlying health conditions such as ocular rosacea, blepharitis, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis.
If you suffer the above symptoms, you should seek medical attention to understand the cause of the irritation. That way, the doctor can decide on what treatment would work best in your case.
Eye itching causes
An eye itch can lead to the occurrence of redness in the eyes. It feels uncomfortable. Also, rubbing on the eyes can aggravate the cause of the itchiness. It is thus best that you understand the cause of the itch before addressing the symptoms.
Possible causes of eye itching include seasonal and perennial allergies, airborne irritants, infections, dry eye, eye strain, the use of contact lenses, and blepharitis. These are but some of the likely causes. You should get a test done to determine the cause of the itch. That way, if you have an underlying health condition, you can get a diagnosis early enough.
Home remedies for irritated and itching eyes
1. Cold compresses
Having irritated or itching eyes can lead to swelling, owing to inflammation of the eye parts. To bring the swelling down, you can make use of a cold compress. Start by using some cold water on your eyes, preferably ice-cold water. From here, you can apply some ice packs onto the eyelids for a few minutes. That should bring down the swelling. You can leave the icepack for as long as is necessary.
Alternatively, you could use cold water if the weather does not allow for icepacks. In this case, you can dip a clean cloth into the water and wring out the excess water. Follow through by placing the wet cloth on the affected eye for five to ten minutes.
2. Chilled spoons
Itchiness and irritation can cause swelling in and around the eyes, which can be very uncomfortable. An easy way to bring down the swelling would be the use of ice packs, as described above. However, sometimes, this may not be possible.
Also, you may want a technique that brings the swelling down immediately. In this case, you can chill spoons and place them on the affected eye. You will need ice water for this. Place the spoons in the water for at least ten minutes.
Now, start taking them out one by one as you place them on the affected eye. Once the spoon begins to warm, dip it into the cold water and use another to replace it. You can do this until the swelling starts to go down. You should be careful with this, though. Where the swelling is a result of an infection, you cannot re-dip the spoons.
If you have had trouble sleeping at some point in your life, you have probably drunk some chamomile tea. Well, this tea is not only soothing internally, but it also works for external soothing. For this, you will need a teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers, which you will add to a cup of boiled water.
Alternatively, you can use a chamomile tea bag. Proceed to steep the contents for five minutes, allowing the tea to soak in the flavor. Strain the tea and allow it to cool. Using the tea when hot would only exacerbate the irritation. Once the tea feels cold to the touch, dip a clean cloth into it and wring out the excess fluid.
Use the cloth on your eyes for a few minutes. If you wish, you can use the tea as a cold compress. You should check with your doctor on the cause of the irritation. Some home remedies may worsen the situation, depending on the cause of the itch.
4. Tea bags
Other than chamomile, other teas also present you with an array of benefits suited to ease the inflammation in your eyes. Tea contains tannins and tannic acid, which aid in soothing your eyes.
For this, you will need either green or black tea bags with which you will make a cup of tea. In this case, you will not use the resultant tea, but the tea bags themselves. Place them on a clean saucer where they can cool. After this, you can use them on your eyes to soothe the itchiness.
5. Cucumber slices
Why do facials go hand in hand with cucumber slices? Well, it owes to the soothing nature of the slices, given their antioxidant nature. Cut some thin cucumber slices and leave them in cold water for about ten minutes. Take two out and place them on your eyelids, relaxing all the while. Once these turn warm, you can replace them with cold ones. You can do this until you feel refreshed.
6. Potato slices
If you do not have cucumbers in your home, you can make use of potato slices. They, too, have astringent effects that are sure to reduce the irritation around your eyes. Find a fresh potato and cut up some thin slices before placing them in cold water. Lie on your back and use the cold slices on your eyelids until they feel warm. Keep replacing the slices every ten to fifteen minutes.
7. Incorporate fatty acids
What you eat will eventually affect the way your body works. If you eat well, this shows in the functioning of body organs. The reverse of this also holds. As such, you should work on eating more omega-3 fatty acids. Not only do they hydrate the eyes, but they also soothe inflammation in the eyes and other body parts.
The next time you go shopping, make a deliberate effort to buy more foods rich in this nutrient. Examples include walnuts and chia seeds. And with the many recipes on the internet, you will not have much trouble cooking these.
8. Drink water
This home remedy may seem overly simplified, but it is just that. Sometimes, an eye condition may point to the lack of adequate water in the body. Dry eye is one such example that can occur when you have not had enough water, based on your body’s needs. In this case, drinking water would provide your eyes with the hydration that they need. If this does not work, you can embrace more remedies.
9. Witch hazel
Have you heard of this powerful plant with a ton of medicinal properties? Well, it comprises compounds with anti-inflammatory benefits. Additionally, it has a bunch of oxidants. You can use this astringent to reduce inflammation on or around your eyes.
It works like a gem, and you should see the results almost immediately. All you need is to pour some onto a cotton pad or clean cloth and wipe it over your eyes.
10. Apple cider vinegar
There are tons of ways through which you can make use of apple cider vinegar. In this case, you will use it to soothe your eyes and bring down the inflammation. It also has antibacterial properties that give you a line of defense against infections.
For this, you will need one cup of clean cold water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Dip a clean cloth in this mixture, wring out what’s excess and place it on your eyes. Rest for about ten minutes and await the positive results.
11. Rose water
When your eyes feel especially irritated, you need something that can soothe that itching. Rosewater can help you with this by providing immediate relief. You can be free of that soreness in about five minutes.
All you need is to dip a clean cloth in rose water, squeeze out the excess and place the cloth on your eyes. Wait a few minutes and take off the cloth once you begin to experience some relief.
12. Castor oil
This oil provides anti-inflammatory benefits to the users and works in bringing down redness and eye irritation. Additionally, it works wonders in reducing dry eye by improving the production of oils and preventing evaporation of tears. It is thus a means to kill two birds with one stone, and you can use it as needed.
To administer the oil, you will need to use a sterile glass dropper, as you will do as eye drops. Note that you cannot use any glass dropper you come across. Doing so would only put you at risk of eye infections. Also, castor oil tends to blur vision before it gets absorbed. It might be best that you use it as you head to bed.
13. Honey and milk
These two have soothing effects on the skin, and they work for a myriad of health issues. The antibacterial properties of honey make it a go-to when dealing with eye irritation. You will need equal parts of warm milk and honey, which you should stir into a smooth mixture.
Place two clean cloths or cotton pads into the mix and wring out the excess. Proceed to place the cloths on your eyelids and rest on your back for at least ten minutes. The irritation should reduce significantly.
14. Aloe vera
This plant is full of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and can thus work wonders for your ailing eyes. You can use its extracts as a juice or a gel to bring down that inflammation.
To use it, mix one teaspoon of gel with two tablespoons of cold water and place a clean cloth in this mixture. Squeeze out any excess fluid and place the cloth on your eyes, keeping them shut for ten minutes. Ensure that the fluid does not get into the eyes. You can do this twice a day to reap the full benefits of the plant.
15. Eye drops
While these provide relief, you should be careful when using them. Doing so often can create a dependency, without which your eyes cannot function as needed. You should check with your doctor to understand what can work for you.
Common eye drops used in alleviating eye redness are artificial tears. These work in lubricating the eye and are great for people who need the extra moisture. You can use these twice a day, under the close watch of your doctor.
16. Cold bread
If you need instant relief and haven’t got the time for the above remedies, how about you use cold bread? It works just as well. All you need to do is to place a slice of bread in the fridge and let it grow cold before using it on your eyes. While this may appear simplistic, it yields impressive results.
How to prevent irritated and itching eyes?
You can avoid the occurrence of itchy and dry eyes by avoiding some known causes as follows:
Sometimes, eye strain leads to the development of eye irritation. It could result from spending long hours working on the computer without taking adequate breaks. When this happens, you could find yourself scratching your eyes at night.
You can avoid this by using the 20-20-20 rule. For every twenty minutes on the computer, look away for twenty seconds and focus on an object twenty feet away. That helps the eyes relax.
2. Practice hygiene
Your eye irritation could owe to an accumulation of irritants around the eyes. These include dirt and makeup. You can avoid this by keeping your eyes clean at all times. Using cold and clean water on the irritants helps in washing them away. Also, if you wear makeup, you can start by removing it before cleaning the eyes. That way, you can avoid exposing the eye to the same.
3. Use humidifiers
Dry air is a causative factor of drying out the eyes. When this happens, you can be more prone to itching. It helps to have a humidifier in the room when you live in dry and hot places. Also, when the weather becomes cold, the chances of dry air increase.
4. Reduce contact lens use
The use of contact lens may be to blame for the constant itching in your eyes, more so if you wear them at night. You should consider taking a break from their use at night. Also, work on cleaning them as recommended by the doctor.
In some cases, you may have to do away with their use in entirety. You can also consider changing the kind of contact lens you wear. Using disposable ones reduces your risk of infections and itchiness.
5. Avoid allergens
If the irritation and itching owe to exposure to allergens, you should consider avoiding them whenever you can. For example, you can sleep with the windows closed, avoid pets, use air filters, and keep your environment clean, among others. Find out what triggers the allergies and work on actively avoiding the same.