Common Causes of Eye Irritation
Eye irritation is a common and unpleasant condition that affects many people and can manifest in several forms, ranging from mild discomfort to serious medical complications. Here are the 7 common causes of eye irritation.
To treat eye irritation effectively, it is important to first identify its symptoms and causes.
Symptoms of an Irritated Eye
The symptoms of an irritated eye depend on the source of what caused your eye irritation in the first place. However, these are the most common symptoms experienced:
- Watery eyes
- Blurry vision
- Itching in your eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Redness and pain in your eyes
Common Causes of Eye Irritation
There can be several reasons behind your irritated eye – the weather, pollution, or even an irritant. However, it’s essential to find the source for getting instant relief. Here are seven common causes of eye irritation and some ways to fix them:
1. Eye Allergies
You know it’s the allergy season when your eyes start getting irritated, watery, itchy, swollen, and red. You can develop an eye allergy when you come in contact with an allergen (something that causes an allergic reaction), disturbing the membranes of your eyes.
Several allergens could trigger your eye allergy. These may include molds, dust mites, pollens, and pet dander. Eye irritation is a major symptom of eye allergy; you may experience it if exposed to an allergen.
Solution: Major focus is planted on soothing the symptoms to treat eye allergies. Eye drops or OTC medicines might help. But if it persists longer, consult a doctor for a more prescription-based relief plan.
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2. Other Objects
Objects as tiny as your eyelashes to as large as a glass piece can irritate your eyes and sometimes even harm them. If you feel any presence of a foreign object in your eyes, immediately show your doctor. They’ll throw a small light into your eyes to better see the object and even look under the underlid for any scratched eye symptoms.
Solution: The treatment to fix irritated eyes caused by foreign objects is focused on removing the object from your eyes. And further, depending on what went in your eyes, your doctor may even recommend an antibiotics course to avoid chances of infection.
Chemical vapors, smoke, or even dust particles can act as irritants and cause eye irritation. Apart from being watery and red post-exposure to these things, you may even feel graininess in your vision.
Solution: If you think your exposure to irritants has caused the irritation in your eyes, make sure to thoroughly rinse your eyes with water (room temperature) for 15-20 minutes. Consult a doctor immediately if you don’t feel relieved after rinsing your eyes. Some irritants may even cause burns in your eyes, causing permanent damage. So, limit your exposure to them.
4. Dry Eyes
Another reason for eye irritation is dry eyes. This can happen when the quality and quantity of your tears are inadequate to moisten your eyes. Tears are why your eyes stay lubricated and moist, and when they are formed insufficiently, you develop dry and irritated eyes that may even seem scratchy sometimes.
Solution: OTC medications like artificial tears may help treat mild dry eyes. However, you need to visit the doctor for prescription-based medicines in severe cases. Some lifestyle changes like decreasing your screentime and quitting smoking may help.
5. Eye Infections
Fungal, viral, or even bacterial infections can cause eye irritation. When you get an eye infection, you may experience an urge to rub your eyes frequently, see swollen membranes around your eyes, have crusty eyelids, or have mucus/pus discharge.
Solution: Viral infections are usually mild and may resolve in a week or two. Bacterial infections must be shown to a doctor, who may prescribe some antibiotics in the form of eye drops. And fungal infections can be in the form of a pill or eye drop, where severe cases need medications to be injected directly into the eyes.
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6. Contact Lenses
If you don’t properly look after your contact lenses, they can irritate the cornea of your eyes. Even wearing them for a prolonged period can cause irritation and red eyes. When this happens, avoid wearing contact lenses.
Solution: Disinfect the lenses or replace them as suggested by your doctor. Your doctor may advice you to wear them less often.
7. Digital Eye Strain
Using a phone, computer, or other electronic devices for an extended time period can also cause eye irritation. This can be referred to as digital eye strain. It also comes with other symptoms, such as headaches, shoulder or neck pain, or dry eyes. However, digital eye strain is not permanent, and you may feel relieved once you get off your gadget.
Solution: Following the 20-20-20 rule can help relieve irritated eyes caused due to digital eye strain. Take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away after every 20 minutes while working.
Some causes of eye irritation, like digital eye strain, can go away on their own, while some causes, like irritant exposure or eye infections, need medical intervention. If an irritated eye is bothering you, consult your doctor for relief.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.