Itchy eyes – causes, treatment

Itchy eyes

Itchy, burning eyes are an expression of redness of the eyelid or conjunctiva, the disease can occur acutely or chronically and lead to sticky eyelids after awakening.

What are itchy eyes?

Itchy eyes cause a burning, unpleasant feeling, usually the itchy eye is accompanied by many other symptoms, including foreign body, dryness or pressure in the eyes.

Foreheadheadaches can also occur together with itchy eyes and are perceived by patients as particularly unpleasant. Dandruff at the base of the eyelashes or on the eyelids may also occur. Increased tear formation is also typical, in some cases also with purulent, watery or mucous secretions.

Itchy eyes can be a short-term, temporary symptom of the disease. If the symptom of itchy eyes persists for a long time, an ophthalmologist should be consulted. This is especially true if the itchy eyes occur in connection with other symptoms, side effects or pain.

In the medical diagnosis code, itchy eyes are defined as other eye affections and the appendages of the eyes. Burning eyes or red eyes are also used synonymously for the term itchy eyes.


Itchy eyes are a symptom that can be caused by different causes. Often eye inflammation leads to itching and burning, the doctor also speaks of conjunctivitis or conjunctivitis. The so-called sicca syndrome also causes itchy eyes, which is also referred to as dry eye.

Episcleritis and blepharitis are also considered to be the cause of itchy eyes. These are inflammatory reactions between the conjunctiva and sclera or, as in blepharitis, inflammation of the eyelid margin. If the surface of the eye has been injured by mechanical action, this can also cause itchy eyes. The rare causes of itchy eyes include scleritis, scleritis, the so-called wing fur as a benign corneal growth and corneal inflammationkeratitis.

Age-related conjunctival changes often cause itchy eyes in old age. Other possible causes are allergies, overexertion after working too long at the screen or toxins that can occur in the environment, in the home or in the body, such as formaldehyde, chlorine or amalgam.

Diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & course

The symptom of itchy eyes can be acute or chronic, chronic disease courses are not uncommon, especially if no clear cause could be found after elaborate diagnostic examinations.

Basically, itchy eyes can be harmless, but also expression of different diseases that require therapy. To make the diagnosis, the ophthalmologist will first interview the patient in detail. Subsequently, various medical tests, possibly also special blood tests, are carried out to confirm the diagnosis of itchy eyes.

An eye test or allergy test should be done as standard to get diagnostic clues. An examination of the tear fluid can also lead to an exact diagnosis. In the case of purulent courses, a swab can also be taken in order to subsequently carry out a microbial pathogen identification.

In his diagnostic considerations, the doctor will also include a previously unrecognized visual impairment, the resulting overstrain of the eyes can also lead to itchy eyes. Important for the diagnosis are also questions about whether only one or both eyes are affected, whether the itchy eyes occur only in certain everyday situations or at the workplace during activities on the screen.

↳ Further information: Home remedies for eye inflammation


A particularly insidious inflammation is eye flu, which has symptoms similar to those of normal conjunctivitis. The period between the first contact with the pathogen and the onset of the disease can last up to eight days. During this time, there are no signs in the patient.

The affected person is symptom-free, but highly infectious and can spread the viruses by means of smear infection. Eye flu is notifiable. It is triggered by particularly aggressive and dangerous adenoviruses. These viruses have already developed a high adaptability to environmental stimuli and can survive for a longer period of time at normal room temperatures.

At the latest at this period, the visit to the ophthalmologist is absolutely necessary. However, if the waiting position is still preferred, persist in some cases for months, sometimes permanently. Itchy eyes in the context of conjunctivitis can also be signs of infectious diseases or superinfection with other pathogens.

Even the ophthalmologist will first treat the itching of the eyes with medication. Only after a few days there is an outbreak of dysentery, measles or , which must be clarified by a specialist as soon as possible. In the case of itchy eyes and complaints that last for a longer period of time, medical advice should always be sought.

When to go to the doctor?

Itchy eyes usually indicate an infection or a foreign body in the eye. If there is a foreign body in the eye, then a doctor should be consulted immediately. Self-attempts to remove the foreign body should definitely be refrained from, otherwise the eye could be severely and severely damaged. The clinical picture of an infection looks somewhat more harmless. Often a stye is the cause of an itchy eye. With a stye, it is not necessary to immediately consult a doctor. First, the affected person can use some home remedies.

Chamomile, for example, is an anti-inflammatory material that can also effectively combat a stye. However, if there is no significant improvement after one to two days, then a doctor should be consulted immediately. At the latest when the formation of pus on the eye is apparent, a visit to the doctor must not be postponed. If a visit to the doctor is completely dispensed with, then the conjunctiva or retina can be permanently damaged. Thus, for all problems that affect the human eye, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. At the beginning, some home remedies can be used for relief. However, if these do not improve, medical or drug treatment must take place.

Treatment & Therapy

Treatment of itchy eyes is always effective when the cause has been identified. In this context, one also speaks of causal therapy. If the cause remains in the dark despite sufficient diagnostics, treatment must be symptomatic so that the patient can be as symptom-free as possible.

If, for example, the itchy eyes are caused by poor eyesight, correction with a suitable visual aid can quickly remedy the situation. If PC work is the cause, regular breaks should be taken to relieve the eyes. So-called artificial tears or cold compresses can provide a short-term calming of itchy eyes. If the cause is a bacterial infection, with antibiotics or mucosal decongestants are used for treatment.

Especially in the case of unclear findings, ophthalmologists often prescribe cortisone-containing drops, because this can temporarily alleviate the symptom of itchy eyes. If allergies are the cause of itchy eyes, the doctor will prescribe special antiallergic eye drops with so-called mast cell stabilizers and .

In severe cases, oral administration of antihistamines may also be required. In the longer term, patients with itchy eyes due to allergies also benefit from hyposensitization. In the case of itchy eyes as an expression of an underlying systemic disease, other medical specialties must also be involved in the treatment.

Outlook & Forecast

Itchy eyes are mostly dry eyes. The dryness must feel uncomfortable and as disturbing as possible so that the person notices that something is wrong – so it feels like itching. Often the causes are or dry, stuffy room air. The itchy feeling in the eyes disappears as soon as the eyeball is sufficiently moist again.

With special lipid spray, especially contact lens wearers help out, as itchy eyes occur more frequently. This replaces the outermost layer of moisture that is broken through in dry eyes, which envelops the eyeball and protects it from dehydration, the so-called lipid layer. As a result, itchy eyes improve almost immediately after application. If they occur again, the lipid spray is applied repeatedly. It can not harm the eyes and is therefore a helpful and quickly effective remedy.

However, external influences are not the only cause of dry and therefore itchy eyes – allergies, infectious diseases or even the influence of medication can dry out the eyes, causing them to itch. In these cases, the improvement depends on the cause.

While some allergies can be reflected in such symptoms in severe cases for months, a mild conjunctivitis as the cause of itchy eyes can heal quickly and the unpleasant feeling can be relieved well by home remedies such as cotton pads with lukewarm chamomile tea.


For the prophylaxis of itchy eyes, allergenic substances should be avoided as far as possible. In order to prevent eye strain, VDU work should be limited in time and interrupted by regular breaks. To prevent emergencies in the eye, an eyewash bottle has been shown to be helpful. If toxic substances get into the eye, the eye can be rinsed out professionally and itchy eyes can be prevented. Prevention also includes consistent drug therapy to counteract chronification.

What you can do yourself

With itchy eyes, it is important to relax the eyes. You need to rest to be able to fight the itching, which can happen especially during . Therefore, the patient should also refrain from working at a computer or watching television in case of itchy eyes and thus protect the eyes. In most cases, the itching in the eyes disappears after a few hours and does not lead to further problems or complications.

The itchy eyes can also be combated with the help of eye drops from the pharmacy. These are also available without a prescription and can promote healing. It is also completely normal for itchy eyes to water a little. This is the eyes’ own protective mechanism. In any case, the patient should avoid rubbing the eyes and also not touch the eyes with his fingers. This usually only intensifies the itching.

If the itching causes pain and does not disappear on its own, an ophthalmologist must be consulted. In this case, it can be an infection or an inflammation that does not disappear on its own. A doctor should also be consulted immediately if, in addition to itching, there is also a change in vision.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.