An itching sensation in the eye is usually related to allergies. Similar to other allergies, eye allergies occur when your body has an autoimmune response to an unwanted particle, or allergen, coming into contact with the body. The immune system will create antibodies to combat the allergen in the eye, causing eyes to become itchy.
Typically, a particle/allergen makes contact and attaches to one of superficial layers of the eye. The allergen will cause the tissue to release certain chemicals in the eye called histamines, thus causing the eyes to become itchy and red. It can also cause bumps to appear underneath the eyelid, which will create an uneven ocular surface leading to irritation every time a patient blinks.
You may experience itchy eyes due to allergies at any time of year, but often you will find they are associated with a particular season. Early spring and summer are common seasons for eye allergies, as allergens such as pollen from grass, trees, and other plants are in the air. However, some allergens can be found year-round such as dust mites, feathers, and animal dander. If you find you are experiencing itchy eyes, assess your surroundings to determine if any potential allergens could be found in your space.
If itchy eyes are related to allergies, you can begin to relieve them first by knowing and avoiding your triggers. Discuss your symptoms and work with your optometrist to determine the best remedies to relieve your itchy eyes. While you may find relief from over-the-counter medications, extended use could cause further irritation, and a prescription eye medication may be the right choice for you.
Most of the time itchy eyes point towards allergies but in some cases it can relate to other eye issues. If your itchy eyes are worsening and vision begins to be compromised then please see an optometrist to be properly diagnosed.