Dry and Itchy Eyes: Understanding Its Causes and Treatments

Aarohi Batra
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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dry itchy eyes

Waking up early with dry and itchy eyes can be frustrating.

But it can be more irritating if left without treatment for a long time.

According to NCBI, between 5% and 34% of people suffer from dry eyes.

There can be several reasons behind eye dryness and itchiness affecting your quality of life.

Understanding the main reason behind your problem and treating it from the core is crucial to prevent severe complications.

This article will help you understand the symptoms, causes, and treatment of itchy and dry eyes to preserve your vision.

So, let’s delve into the topic and learn more about it.

What are dry and itchy eyes

As their name suggests, itchy and dry eyes are eye conditions that can force you to rub your eyes to stop itching.

Itchiness in the eyes is medically called ocular Pruritis, whereas dry eyes are known as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

Various factors can cause dry eyes but often have a common symptom of itchy eyes.

The common reasons behind dry eyes include illness, hormonal changes, poor blinking habits, and screen exposure time.

Untreated itchy, and dry eyes can often lead to severe eye conditions. If these conditions are not treated for a long time, they can even result in loss of vision.

Therefore, learning more about these is crucial.

Symptoms of dry and itchy eyes

closeup of red eye blood shotSource: Red_eye_Dominik_Moser_Flickr
Closeup of eye redness

Here are some of the common symptoms of itchy and dry eyes:

  • Redness in eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Mucus near eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Teary eyes
  • Burning sensation in eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Warning:
If facing these symptoms, consult your doctor and seek medical treatment to avoid severe eye problems.

What causes dry and itchy eyes

The main cause or risk factors of itchy and dry eyes are discussed as follows:

Surgery

Eye surgeries, such as Cataracts and LASIK, can show dry, itchy eyes as side effects. 

Dry eyes post Cataract surgery are due to instability in the tear film.

Deficiency of Vitamin A

According to NCBI, a deficiency of Vitamin A can cause Xerophthalmia and result in dry eyes due to Corneal Xerosis.

According to the American Academy of Opthmalogy, Xerophthalmia is a broad spectrum of ocular (eye) diseases caused by severe deficiency of Vitamin A.

Vitamin A deficiency can also cause Dry Eye Disease (DED).

Quality of eye moisture

Tear glands sometimes do not produce tears with enough oil to lubricate the eyes.

The low-quality tear produced evaporates instead of moistening the eyeball.

This causes dry eyes, and the condition is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

Age is also associated with MGD, leading to tear film instability and dry eyes. 

Allergies

Allergies can cause dryness and itchiness in the eyes. This condition is also known as Allergic Conjunctivitis.

On exposure to allergens, your body can trigger an inflammatory response and induce changes in your eye’s tear film.

These changes can decrease the production of tears and lead to dry eyes. 

Pollen, dust mites, and pet furs are some of the allergens.

Contact lenses

Wearing contact lenses for refractive error correction is one of the causes of dry eyes in people.

According to NCBI, nearly 40% of people wearing contact lenses reported a sensation of dry eyes as the most common symptom.

Often, wearing lenses without cleaning them can also cause protein deposition on the lens, resulting in contact lens-induced Conjunctivitis.

It can show symptoms such as red eyes, itchiness, and blurred vision.

Pink eye

Symptoms of infectious-Pink eyeSource: DawnPoland_from_Getty_Images
Pink eye

A pink eye, or Conjunctivitis, can show symptoms such as red, dry, and itchy eyes. 

The condition can also be painful for some people.

Medications

Certain medications can also increase the risk of developing dry, itchy eyes.

Medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and Hormone Replacement Therapy, are associated with itchy and dry eyes.

Therefore, you should consult your doctor before administering these medications to preserve your eyes.

How are dry and itchy eyes treated

After noticing symptoms of dry eyes with itching, you should consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Your doctor can recommend a few treatments to treat dryness and itchiness in your eyes.

Medical treatment

To treat your dry eyes, your doctor can prescribe you the following eye drops and medications:

  • Artificial tears: By lubricating eyes with artificial tears, especially without preservatives, you can relieve dryness and discomfort caused by allergies
  • Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs: These medications are suitable for people with eye inflammation and dryness
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  • Self-help

    You can incorporate changes into your routine to preserve your eyes and avoid dryness and itching.

    Some of the easy self-care tips to improve dry, itchy eyes are:

    • Consume foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Avoid rubbing or poking your eyes
    • Avoid wearing contact lenses for a long time
    • Do not blow air directly to your eyes
    • Wash your eyes regularly with water
    • Use warm or cold compressor to relieve irritation

    Also Read: To know more such natural ways, read our informative article “Effective and Natural Home Remedies for Dry Eyes.”

    Fact:
    Rubbing your itchy eyes can cause other eye conditions, including Keratoconus, Ocular infections, and Cataracts.

    How to prevent dry, itchy eyes

    Wear 100% ultraviolet protection sunglassesSource: Fábio_Scaletta_from_Pexels
    Wear UV protected sunglasses

    You can prevent itchy and dry eyes by taking some crucial steps and avoiding certain irritants at your level: 

    • Wearing sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and air particles
    • Blinking while reading or doing long tasks 
    • Avoiding smoking
    • Using air humidifiers
    • Limiting screen timing
    • Keep your home cool and moist

    You can incorporate these prevention measures to preserve your eyes.

    However, it is recommended to consult your doctor and get a routine eye examination for early detection of severe problems.

    Also Read: To know when to visit a doctor for eye examination, read our article “The Eye Care Checklist: How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam?

    Conclusion

    Dry and itchy eyes can get frustrating and need medical treatment to avoid serious complications.

    The symptoms of itchy and dry eyes include red eyes, blurred vision, and increased sensitivity to light.

    The underlying reasons behind dry, itchy eyes include surgery, Vitamin A deficiency, allergies, certain medications, etc.

    You can consult your doctor and seek treatment in the form of eye drops and medicines to relieve the itchiness and inflammation in the eyes.

    You can also incorporate self-help tips such as consuming Omega-3 fatty acids, avoiding prolonged contact lenses, and washing your eyes.

    Also, wearing sunglasses, blinking regularly, and avoiding smoking can be preventive measures to preserve your eyes.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you get rid of dry and itchy eyes?

    You can use artificial tears and some prescribed antibiotics to eliminate itchy and dry eyes. Furthermore, a few self-care tips can help you treat dry eyes, such as consuming foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, washing and blinking your eyes regularly, reducing smoking, and avoiding rubbing your eyes.

    Why are my eyes so dry and itchy?

    There are several reasons behind your itchy and dry eyes. It can be a side effect of your Cataract surgery, Conjunctivitis, allergies, some reaction with medications, or Vitamin A deficiency. Consulting your doctor and seeking medical guidance is advised to avoid serious complications.

    What deficiency causes dry and itchy eyes?

    According to NCBI, Vitamin A deficiency causes some eye conditions, such as Xerophthalmia, and results in itchy and dry eyes. It is advised to consult your doctor and seek professional medical treatment, as delaying can increase the risk of complications.

    What self-help methods can I use to treat my dry and itchy eyes?

    You can consume foods with high Omega-3 fatty acids to help treat dry, itchy eyes. Instead of rubbing your eyes, wash them with clean water to stop itchiness. You can also prevent dry, itchy eyes by wearing sunglasses, blinking regularly, and avoiding smoking.

    How do you fix eye dryness and itchiness naturally?

    Consume foods with high Vitamin A and Omega-3 fatty acids to fix eye dryness and itchiness. Avoid rubbing your eyes. Instead, wash them or use a cold compressor to relieve inflammation. Also, wear sunglasses to prevent harmful UV rays and avoid smoking.

    Citations:
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