Itchy eyes: causes and home remedies that help

itchy eyes
Photo: CC0 / Unsplash / Amanda Dalbjorn

While itchy eyes are often harmless, they can drive us insane. Here you can find out what causes the itching and how you can quickly relieve it.

Itchy eyes are often a sign of infection, but they can also be a sign that you’ve been straining your eyes. Although the itching usually only occurs for a few hours or days, it can be very distressing for those affected. We tell you how you can relieve the itching with natural home remedies and what you should avoid now.

Causes of Itchy Eyes

Screen work can cause itchy eyes.
Screen work can cause itchy eyes. (Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / FirmBee)

The itching is often triggered by dry eyes. When our eyes aren’t hydrated enough, they become more sensitive to environmental influences – we then get the urge to rub them. However, by doing so, we irritate them even more, resulting in itchy eyes.

These are common triggers for itchy eyes:

  • Allergies: These include animal hair, house dust and pollen allergies. The symptoms are often accompanied by watery, red eyes and fits of sneezing or a runny nose.

  • Eye strain: The blinking of the eyelids decreases, especially if you look at screens a lot. As a result, the eyes dry up quickly. The same applies if you drive at night or read in low light. Poorly fitted contact lenses or swimming in a heavily chlorinated pool can also irritate the eye. The itching then sometimes occurs as a side effect of a non-contagious conjunctivitis in the form of irritant conjunctivitis. Allergies and certain medications can also trigger it. The best thing to do in this case is to avoid the causes of the irritation.

  • Viral or bacterial conjunctivitis: Certain bacteria and viruses can cause conjunctivitis if they get into your eye. Here it is particularly important that you never rub your eyes and that you practice good hygiene so that the infection does not spread – for example by not sharing towels with other people in your household. Healthcare professionals can determine if conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial, or non-infectious and select appropriate treatment based on that. For example, you could be given antibiotic eye ointment (only for bacterial infection). In the case of a viral infection, the inflammation usually subsides on its own.

  • Stye: If your eyes are sore, itchy, and swollen, the symptoms are probably caused by a stye. The same applies here: never rub and always wash your hands after contact with your face. A stye often heals on its own. However, if your eye hurts and is severely swollen, or you get frequent styes, you should seek medical advice.

In the case of infectious diseases in particular, it makes sense to have the symptoms clarified by medical professionals. The eyes are a very sensitive sensory organ – you should therefore always seek medical help if you have eye problems.

The itching usually goes away after the cause of the irritated eyes has been addressed. You can relieve the itching with simple home remedies.

Home remedies for itchy eyes

Regular breaks in nature help prevent eye irritation.
Regular breaks in nature help prevent eye irritation. (Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / silviarita)

Itchy eyes are very uncomfortable, but there are a number of home remedies that can be used to soothe them. The natural remedies you use will depend on the cause of the itch. We also recommend that you use the remedies several times a day – this way you will achieve better results.

  • Cold compresses can help with red, burning and itchy eyes. To do this, dip a clean washcloth in cold water, wring it out well, and place it over your eyes.

  • If your eyes are swollen, you can put a few drops of chamomile tea on the cold compresses. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and calming effects. But beware! If you suffer from allergies or are directly allergic to daisy family, the chamomile compress can make symptoms worse. However, some experts also advise against using chamomile to treat eye problems because the finest particles in the tea bag can get into the eye and irritate it even more.
  • Cold slices of cucumber are not only popular in face masks. Cucumbers can relieve symptoms, have a cooling and anti-inflammatory effect. Wash an organic cucumber thoroughly and cut it into slices. You then put it in the fridge for a quarter of an hour and then apply it to your itchy eyes.

  • Saline solutions reduce eye irritation from dust or dust mites. The salt reduces itching and allergic reactions. Add 1 heaping teaspoon (about 5 grams) of salt to 500 milliliters of water – this makes about a 1% solution. (Most saline eyewash solutions available at the pharmacy contain 0.9 percent salt.) Bring this mixture to a boil until the salt is dissolved, then allow it to cool completely. Rinse your eyes thoroughly with the cooled saline solution.

  • An eye wash with green tea also helps to soothe itchy eyes. For this you need half a liter of distilled water. Boil two tea bags of green tea in it. You let the infusion cool down. Make sure that no pieces are floating in the water. With the conditioner you can now clean your eyes several times a day. You can also dip a cotton pad in the mixture and place it on irritated eyes.

What also helps:

  • Give your eyes regular breaks from screens. The artificial light strains the eyes and reduces our blinking. A walk in nature or regular rest breaks help against overexertion.
  • Drink enough to keep your eyes from drying out. Are you unsure how much is needed? Then have a look here: Drink water: That much is healthy

  • In the case of infections in particular, you should absolutely avoid make-up or contact lenses. But even if your eye is irritated for other reasons, you should not continue to burden your eye with foreign objects.


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