Misconceptions Regarding Treating Red, Itchy Eyes

December 15, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Most people who have red, itchy eyes either assume or have been told it is due to allergies. Although this is true in many cases, it is not always the cause says Dr. Ahad Mahootch of The Eye Clinic of Florida in Tampa Bay. In addition, many of the treatments for allergies do not address red, itchy eyes at all, requiring a second medication for the eyes alone. If you suffer from allergy symptoms that affect the eye or just have itchy eyes, it is important to know what treatments are available that can help with your issue.

Treating Red Eye Due to Allergies

If you only have red, itchy eyes during certain times of the year, it is most likely caused by seasonal allergies. While there are many prescription and over-the-counter medications for allergies, most of the oral drugs do not effectively treat red eyes. There are several OTC eye drops that can be used to temporarily relieve eye allergy symptoms; however, there are better choices available.

OTC drops generally give relief for about two hours, but do not offer any protection from further irritation to the eye. There are prescription allergy eye drops that are available that offer up to 12 hours of relief, with some having an added benefit of reducing future allergy-eye flare ups. Patanol, Elestat and Pataday are a few of the options that offer a better solution for treating allergy-eye.

Misdiagnosed Eye Symptoms

Since red and itchy eyes from seasonal allergies are so common, often this condition is misdiagnosed as allergies. However, there are many other reasons a person may be experiencing red eyes. Using medications that are formulated for allergy-eye symptoms may not give you relief if the problem is something other than seasonal allergies.

One of the most common disorders that are blamed on allergies is dry eye. While dry eye produces the same redness as allergy-eye, it is usually not as itchy. Dry eye occurs when the tear ducts either do not produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly due to their composition. Either way, people that suffer from dry eye need medication that is specifically formulated for their condition, not made for those with allergy symptoms.

Another issue that is misdiagnosed as seasonal eye allergies is an allergic reaction to an eye product. It could be contact lens solution or cleaner, or an eye drop for a condition such as glaucoma. If you are constantly exposing your eye to an allergen, it can be difficult to relieve the symptoms. Relieving the red, itchy eye symptoms in these cases may be as simple as changing brands or type of product, without needing any medication at all.

For those who struggle with red, itchy eyes, it is important to know the exact cause and what treatments are available. The best way to determine how to effectively treat the symptoms is to schedule an appointment with an eye specialist. They can diagnose what is causing your eye symptoms and offer a variety of solutions to remedy your disorder.