It's not advisable to jump to conclusions whenever you have an eye problem. If your assumption is way off the mark, you may end up treating the wrong condition. For example, if you have an itchy eye, you may automatically assume that you are dealing with an eye allergy since allergies are a leading cause of itchy eyes. However, there are other conditions that may cause itchy eyes, such as the following:
The dry eye syndrome (DES) is a health condition in which the eyes don't produce adequate tears. Inadequate tears lead to dry eyes, discomfort, and visual disturbance. Symptoms of the condition include:
- Itchy feeling in the eyes
- Burning feeling in the eyes
- Gritty feeling in the eyes (feeling of a foreign object in the eyes)
- Heavy eyelids
- Eye fatigue
DES has many causes. It can occur as a side effect of medication, malfunction of the tear glands, eye surgery complication, and many other things. There are different forms of treatment to deal with the DES; for example, you can try treating the underlying condition or using artificial tears.
Inadequate Oil in the Tears
One of the major functions of the tears is to lubricate the eyes. Your tears cannot perform this function if they aren't oiled properly. Unfortunately, an eye condition known as the meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) causes a malfunction of the oil glands located in your eyelids. These glands are meant to produce the oil that mixes with the other components of your tears to lubricate your eyes. Without the oil component, your tears dry up faster than they should, thus leading to dry and itchy eyes.
Apart from itchiness, other symptoms of MGD include a burning feeling, sensitivity to light, intermittent blurry vision, and stickiness in the eyes, among others. The treatment of MGD takes many forms, such as eyelid massage and diet supplements (mainly flaxseed and fish oil) to improve oil secretion in the eyes.
Contact Lens Discomfort
Lastly, if you are wearing contact lenses, then the itchiness in your eyes may also be due to contact lens discomfort. Contact lens discomfort may also be characterized by excessive eye watering, reduced sharpness of vision, and sensitivity to light.
The discomfort can be caused by eye infection (especially if you don't clean your lenses as advised by your doctor), damaged contact lenses, and poor fit of the lenses. If you suspect contact lens discomfort, remove the contacts immediately and consult your doctor. The treatment will focus on diagnosing and eliminating the root of the discomfort.