My Eyes Itch!

Your eyes are red, irritated, and they itch! You try allergy drops and they are not working. Could it be Demodex? What is going on and why is this happening?!?!

Allergy Season Options

Let’s be honest, red itchy eyes are a staple for some of you during “allergy” season. When pollen or hay fever kicks in you are going to have some eye issues. And, contact lenses are probably out of the question. As long as this happens every year around the same time and subsides after a few weeks to a couple months, you know this is an allergic response.

How do you want to itch your eyes? It matters!

The classic symptom that eye doctors talk about is the desire to itch your eyes. However, the type of itch matters. If you want to take your knuckle and dig it into the corner of your eye and rub, you guessed it, allergy! Now realize that this type of relief is short lived. The rubbing actually releases more histamines and makes it worse for your eyes. You will want to use a mast cell stabilizer and antihistamine drop like Pataday. Wearing your glasses, switching to daily replacement contact lenses, and cleaning your face at night are the usual treatments.

Fingernail on the Lash Line Means…

However, if the itch that you feel makes you want to take your fingernail and rub it along your lash line, this is not an allergic response. The irritation may feel more like a burning sensation and it is a year round event that does not seem to follow any particular season. This is a result of blepharitis or inflammation of your eyelids which is a result of bacteria or dry eye (usually a combination of both).

Dry Eye Relief

In regards to dry eye disease, we have discussed numerous ways to find relief which include but are not limited to: Systane Complete eye drops, Hylo-Night ointment at night, IPL and other heat based therapies. Although IPL is the exception (it does treat both dry eye and bacteria), these therapies do not address the accumulation of bacteria which is causing the itch and inflammation.

Bacteria and Demodex, Oh my!

The most common type of bacteria is Staphylococcus or staph. Staph is easily treated with lid hygiene and antibiotics. Topical ointments, steroids, or even oral antibiotics are readily prescribed to give you relief. However, if the infection is related to a bug called demodex, these treatments are not going to work. You will need specific targeted therapies such as a Eye Eco tea tree cleanser, Avenova hypochlorous acid spray, or an in office ZEST deep eyelid cleaning treatment. If the infection is bad enough IPL may be warranted in combination with a ZEST treatment.

Get a professional diagnosis

The moral of the story is, if your eye are red, irritated, and itchy and the allergy drops are not working, call the office at (616) 219-8153 or click here, and get the exact diagnosis and customized treatment for your condition. Your eyes will thank you!