Ocular Pruritus Explained

Ocular Pruritus

Introduction

Itching of the eyes is termed ocular pruritus. Nearly everyone experiences itchy eyes at some point. There are many underlying causes of itchy eyes which should not be overlooked. 

Causes Of Ocular Pruritus

Common allergens such as dust, smoke, or animal proteins irritate the eye and result in itching due to the release of a chemical substance called histamine. This reaction may lead to redness and swelling of the eyes. However, other factors may also lead to itchy eyes. The etiological factors of ocular pruritus can be divided into the following broad categories:

  1. Seasonal Variation

    1. Allergies due to seasonal variations are the most common cause of ocular pruritus. Pollen grass, shrubs, fungus, or molds can be the underlying cause. 

  2. Smoke And Dust

    1. The gritty sensation or feeling of sand under the eyes could be due to smoke and dust present in the environment. This is a common cause of ocular pruritus.

  3. Dry Eyes

    1. Tears are produced each time we blink and help to lubricate the eyes. They are made up of water, mucus, and oils. Decreased production of any of these constituents results in dry eyes. This may be accompanied by itching or irritation.

  4. Eye Strain

    1. Staring at screens or studying/working for longer durations without adequate blinking may result in irritation and ocular pruritus.

  5. Blepharitis

    1. This is an inflammation of eyelids and eyes that results from malfunction of the oil glands that line your eyelids. The eyes become red, swollen, and may stick together due to mucus discharge. This can lead to itchy eyes.

  6. Sjogren syndrome

    1. This is an autoimmune disease characterized by dry eye and dry mouth.

  7. Makeup products and soaps

    1. These products may lead to blockage of the oil glands lining the eyelids and subsequent blepharitis, an oily tear film, or an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the products. 

  8. Traumatic injury

    1. Injury to ocular structures may lead to irritation and itching.

Signs And Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of ocular pruritus may be:

Evaluation Of Ocular Pruritus

The physician may ask the following questions to rule out the underlying cause:

The physician will examine your eyelids, cornea, and conjunctiva to identify the cause of your symptoms.

Management Of Ocular Pruritus

The treatment of ocular pruritus depends on the eradication of underlying cause and some general measures for prevention. Its management can be divided into the following categories:

If you suffer from itchy eyelids, contact ESA for an evaluation. All of our physicians can diagnose and treat ocular pruritus and will be more than happy to help you achieve optimal eye health!

References

  1. The Itchy Eye: Diagnosis, Management of Ocular Pruritus. (2016, March 23). American Academy of Ophthalmology. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/itchy-eye-diagnosis-management-of-ocular-pruritis

  2. Hellem, A. (2022, January 5). Itchy eyes: Causes and cures. All About Vision. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/itchy-eyes.htm#:%7E:text=Most%20of%20the%20time%2C%20itchy,t%20help%20your%20itchy%20eyes.

  3. Itchy Eyes: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. (2020, July 24). WebMD. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/itchy-eyes-symptoms-causes-treatment

Author
Eye Surgeons Associates Drs. Meiraj A. Siddiqui, Zuhair H. Peracha, Manal H. Peracha-Riyaz, Eric Zuckerman and Leila Siblani are dedicated to excellence in eye care and service. We utilize the latest treatment methods and procedures, including routine eye care, cataract surgery, glaucoma treatment, retinal disease management, diabetic eye treatment, and eyelid surgery.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What is Ectropion?

Ectropion is a condition in which your eyelid turns outward. This months blog details what the signs and symptoms of ectropion are and how you or your loved one can best treat it.

Treatment of Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis can be either bacterial or viral. Treatment varies, so be sure to see a professional for a proper diagnosis. Details are provided for you in this month's blog post.

What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion is normally painless, however symptoms should not be ignored. Find out more in this months blog.

Eyelashes Gone Awry

Where your eyes are concerned, small things matter. This month we cover all you need to know about a condition called trichiasis. When something as simple as your eyelashes is a concern that needs to be addressed.

What is Entropion?

Below we will cover the signs, symptoms, and causes of the condition entropion. Are you at risk of developing it? Take the time to read this months featured discussion and find out.

Floaters and Flashes of Light

What are floaters & flashes of light? While they are generally part of the aging process, you should see a specialist at the onset of symptoms to rule out something serious. In this months blog, we cover the causes, risks, and treatment you need to know.