Watery itchy eyes

Watery, Itchy Eyes - What Causes It and How to Treat It

Watery, itchy eyes can be annoying and uncomfortable. This condition is called allergic conjunctivitis, a very common eye problem typically caused by allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. In severe cases, it can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Here’s what you need to know about this condition, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatments.

What are the Symptoms of Watery, Itchy Eyes?

The most common symptom of allergic conjunctivitis is red, itchy, and watery eyes. You might also notice your eyes tearing up or an increased sensitivity to light. Other symptoms may include redness, swelling, burning, crusting around the eyes, and blurred or decreased vision.

What Causes Watery, Itchy Eyes?

Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergies to things in the environment such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and molds. Other triggers include smoke, perfumes, air pollution, and certain eye drops. Some people might even have reactions to chlorine in swimming pools.

How is Watery, Itchy Eyes Diagnosed?

If you’re experiencing watery, itchy eyes, you should see an ophthalmologist or optometrist for a proper diagnosis. The doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and examine your eyes. Your doctor might also ask you to keep a record of your symptoms to help pinpoint the trigger.

How is Watery, Itchy Eyes Treated?

The goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms and prevent future allergic reactions. Treatments may include:

  • Identifying and avoiding triggers
  • Prescription eyedrops
  • Over-the-counter drops or antihistamine pills
  • Gels, ointments, or creams to reduce inflammation

If your symptoms don’t improve with self-care or over-the-counter medications, your doctor or an allergist may recommend immunotherapy, a series of allergy shots administered over time.

If eye allergies are severe and don’t respond to other treatments, surgery may be an option to treat chronic inflammation, scarring, and extreme discomfort.

Preventing Watery, Itchy Eyes

In addition to avoiding triggers, you can also make a few lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of allergic conjunctivitis.

  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses when outdoors.
  • Keep windows and doors closed during high-pollen days.
  • Change your pillowcase often.
  • Dust and vacuum frequently.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Bathe your pets often.

By managing your allergies and following preventive measures, you can help keep your eye allergies at bay and improve your overall eye health.