What Causes Dry, Itchy Eyes?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2019
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Dry, itchy eyes are a common and highly annoying irritation that can be caused by a variety of conditions and problems. Occasional dry, itchy eyes will affect many if not most people, but for some, the condition is a constantly uncomfortable chronic problem. Luckily, there are several cures for dry, itchy eyes, although determining the exact cause of the symptoms may take careful observation and even may require medical attention.

The eyes are delicate organs composed mostly of fats and liquids. When irritants get into the eyes, they can many different unpleasant symptoms, from vision problems and reddening to dry, itchy eyes. One of the basic ways to keep eyes from becoming irritated is to clean inner corners of debris at least once day, and avoid excessive eye makeup. This can help cut down on chronic irritation and keep eyes clean.

Allergies are an extremely common cause of dry, itchy eyes. When the eye is exposed to dust, floating pollen, or pet dander, particulate matter can easily irritate the eyes and cause allergic symptoms. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can help reduce overall allergies, while eye drops may help clean the eyes of any allergens. When outdoors during hay fever season, consider wearing glasses or sunglasses to give the eyes further protection.


For many different reasons, eyes may cease to produce enough tears to properly hydrate and clean the surfaces. This can be caused by dehydration, certain medications, prolonged contact use, or simply age. Dry, itchy eyes are often a major symptom of inadequate tear production. If tear ducts are under-productive, certain eye drops may be used to artificially hydrate the eyes. Be careful when purchasing artificial tear drops, however, as they are different than the traditional form of eye drops used to lessen redness. Some experts suggest that regular eye drops, while clearing redness, can actually contribute to dry, itchy eyes.

Dry, itchy eyes can also be a symptom of certain illnesses, such as pink eye or conjunctivitis. These eye infections are typically bacterial or viral in nature and can be treated with prescription drugs such as antibiotics or antiviral medications. People diagnosed with conjunctivitis should be very cautious during treatment, as the condition is very contagious and easy to spread. Avoid touching eyes and wash hands frequently to prevent spreading the infection.

In some cases, malformation of the eyes or eyelids can contribute to dry, itchy eyes and other symptoms. For minor cases, eye drops may be able to diminish symptoms in some patients. Often, cosmetic surgery is required to correct the condition and allow eyes to function normally.


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Post 1

Another common cause for dry, itchy eyes is simply lack of sleep. If you go too long without adequate sleep, your body can become dehydrated and will generally stop being able to do things like produce tears, focus you vision and thoughts, et cetera. All of these will add to eye redness and irritation, not to mention general frustration.

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