There are a variety of reasons eyes can be itchy, and an even wider variety of treatments. But those treatments can get pricey, and some of them have serious long-term consequences. If you’re tired of running to the pharmacy to manage itchy eyes, try some of these home remedies.
Allergy Home Remedies
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a type of allergy that causes itchy eyes. When your immune system marks something as an allergen, common and harmless particles like pet dander, dust mites, and pollen cause the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms -- like itchy eyes, also called ocular pruritus. Take steps to keep allergens out of your home, like using an air conditioner, rather than opening the windows.
Another itchy eyes remedy is to apply a cold compress to the skin around your eyes, which offers a numbing and soothing sensation. Ditch the contact lenses, as they can trap allergens in and make the situation worse. Additionally, rose water is recommended not only as a great option for rinsing but to use as eye drops for quick relief. Use great care when introducing any new substance into your eyes, especially one not specifically designated as an eye drop.
Dryness Home Remedies
Itchy eyes can also develop as a result of eyes that are too dry. This can be because of chronic illnesses (like Sjogren’s syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis), age, the environment, or many other reasons. The best way to help dry, itchy eyes is to reintroduce moisture. Artificial tears can be great for minor dryness. When glands in the eyes that produce moisture become blocked, issues like blepharitis can ensue, causing itchy eyelids as well.
You can also apply a warm compress; use it to gently clean the area around your eyes-- eyelashes too! -- because if you do have a blocked gland, it may not be clearing out particles as well as you might hope. Your diet may help too -- try introducing more omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon, into your diet. If your dry, itchy eyes are because of your environment, a humidifier will increase moisture in the air, which means the air won’t take as much out of your eyes.
Infection Home Remedies
Keratitis is a potentially infectious eye issue that experts recommend going to the doctor for as quickly as possible to prevent serious complications. Other issues, like pink eye, will often clear up by themselves over a few days.
In the meantime, try dipping a cotton ball in milk and rubbing it across your closed eyes. Leaving the soaked cotton ball on the eyelids may provide a soothing effect. If you’re dealing with itchy eyelids, the lactic acid in milk is great for itchy skin. You can also boil green tea bags in a cup of water and use them as a compress. Green tea is not only an anti inflammatory agent, it has antimicrobial properties that may help speed up the healing process. If home remedies fail to make the itchiness subside, it might be time to talk to a doctor to avoid any complications that might ensue and make sure there’s nothing more serious going on.