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Itchy Eye Treatments


Updated May 16, 2014

Are you suffering from itchy eyes and looking for treatment options? Itchy eyes are a common symptom of allergies. They also can occur occasionally if you have a cold or other illness. Here, we look at some common causes and treatments for itchy eyes.

Are your eyes itchy and watery?

These symptoms are most common with allergies (and sometimes colds) and typically do not include redness of the eyeball. Treatment options for itchy eyes related to allergies include:

Are your (or your child’s) eyes red, itchy and have thick colored discharge coming out?

These symptoms are most common with conjunctivitis, or pinkeye. This is a very contagious illness that can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Treatments for itchy eyes related to pinkeye include:

  • Avoid touching your eye and wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading the infection.
  • Warm compresses to relieve discomfort
  • Warm moist cloth to remove any discharge. Remember to wipe away from the eye, being careful not to rub the discharge further into the eye.
  • Adults can try over-the-counter drops. Children should see a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment.
  • If your healthcare provider determines that the infection is bacterial, antibiotic eye drops may be needed to clear it up. These drops are only available by prescription.

Do you have itching or pain and redness or swelling around just one eye?

This could indicate a potentially serious infection called periorbital cellulitis. This requires immediate evaluation by a doctor as it can lead to the infection entering the brain. Periorbital cellulitis is most common in children under the age of 6, but can occur at any age. If you think you or child may have it, contact your healthcare provider right away.

If your eyes are itching but none of the above treatments help, contact your health care provider. An evaluation by a medical professional can help determine what is causing your itching and she will be able to help you decide which treatment option is best for you.

If you decide to try over the counter anti-itch eye drops, do not use them for more than 2 to 3 days without consulting your health care provider. Prolonged use can cause further eye problems and more itching.


”Eye Problems.” Familydoctor.org American Academy of Family Physicians 2009. 26 Mar 09.

”Periorbital Cellulitis.” Medical Encyclopedia 12 Nov 07. National Institutes of Health. 26 Mar 09.

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