Red, Watery, Dry Itchy Eyes and Eyelids Causes and Cures

Do you have itchy, red, dry, flaky eyelids as well as watery, dry eyes?  Get a deep insight into causes including those for red, watery, swollen burning eyes.  Also, find out what medication or remedies to bring relief to itching and how best you can cure these problems to enable you to live a quality life even during pregnancy. In due course, we shall try our best to shine a spotlight on symptoms and what to use for itchy eyes.

What causes watery itchy eyes + symptoms

You having burning, red, itchy or watery eyes is not a superstition or a mysterious thing to believe in. What are the causes?  The most common reason is allergies. But there are more causes some of which come to show up in a complex manner such as headaches as you will see from the various symptoms.

1. From Allergies – Allergic Conjunctivitis

One of the most common reasons for red watery eyes is due to ocular allergies. Normally, when any of these materials get into your eyes, the body responds by producing certain chemicals that react to counter-effect possible damage caused by foreign materials. As a result, blood vessels or capillaries (increased flow of blood) causing them to become permeable.

While most allergens are airborne, some of the common sources of these include pollen, molds, pet dander (skin cells shed by some animals), dust, and seasonal allergies such as hay. Other allergic sources are eye drops that contain preservatives and certain cosmetics. Although some people may be allergic to some foods or stings from insects, the results are mostly less severe to eyes.

Some of the symptoms of allergies include the following:

  • Sneezing,
  • Runny noses especially in children or toddlers,
  • Red, itchy and watery eyes
  • Congestion of the nasal cavity,
  • Swollen eyelids

We have 2 types of allergic conjunctivitis namely acute allergic conjunctivitis and chronic allergic conjunctivitis.

Acute is responsible for making your eyelids become swollen, itchy, and burning especially after exposure to a seasonal allergy that affects eyes. Chronic conjunctivitis is caused by a combination of food, dust, and dander. This type will also cause itching and burning sensation.

2. Other Causes 

Here are more causes for watery itchy eyes that we have not looked at yet.

a. Conjunctivitis

A pink eye is “is an infection or swelling in the outer membrane of your eyeball.” []

What causes it to humans? The most common causes are bacterial conjunctivitis a bacterial infection (staph infection) that causes a sore throat, viral infections (cold), allergies and certain chemicals such as chlorine water.

Even though is referred to as a pink eye, inflammation to the conjunctiva membrane will most likely turn red or pink in color. This is the reason why its symptoms (outlined below) are associated with conjunctivitis.

  1. Excessive tearing,
  2. Itchiness,
  3. Thick discharge at night or during the night,
  4. A gritty or scratchy feeling inside the eyes
Treatment and remedies

Is conjunctivitis treatable? Definitely yes. Those cases problems due to bacteria and allergens have treatments. Unluckily, viral infections that result in the pink eye have no known cures. Therefore, it is only through home remedies such as warm compresses that you can soothe the symptoms. However, these symptoms should go away on their own in a few days.

Bacterial conjunctivitis: If your child is suffering from bacterial conjunctivitis then you need prescribed antibiotics especially ointments. There are also eye drops for both children and adults as well.

Allergic Conjunctivitis: to relieve inflammation, see your doctor who can prescribe for you antihistamines. Examples are Benadryl, Claritin, etc. for the treatment of itchy eyes due to allergies.

The bottom line is that you can prevent conjunctivitis. But if you already are infected, they have to take certain strict measures. These involve high standard personal hygiene practices comprising the following.

  • Washing your hands after handling a conjunctivitis victim,
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as (eye) glasses, towels and face clothes with infected individuals, etc.
  • Replacing and renewing contact solutions more frequently, ensuring that you follow your doctor’s instructions altogether,
  • In case you have your child at school then you need to withdraw them until the infection it is adequately contained,

b. Allergic rhinitis

Some people may not show the general symptomatic of allergy but will respond to certain allergens only. A widely known allergen for rhinitis is hay fever but there are other types of allergens that cause problems among certain individuals.

Who is at risk of allergic rhinitis? We have internal factors as well as external factors but these are some of the contributing factors:

  • People who smoke cigarettes,
  • Living in areas with cold temperatures,
  • Air pollution,
  • Use of perfumes and other body chemicals such as hairsprays,

In addition to symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, if you suffer from rhinitis here are more signs to help you identify it:

  • itchy eyes and headaches that are frequent,
  • itchiness and watering,
  • dark circles under eyes,
  • coughing and sneezing,
  • sore and scratchy throat,
  • runny, stuffy and itchy nose,
  • Presence of red skin hives, among many other symptoms.

How do you approach it during treatment? Since allergies form a larger portion of causes, you will need to be treated using antihistamines, decongestants and the best eye drops which we are going to discuss shortly. They will not only act as a relief to inflammation but also bring down sinus pressure and unlock that stuffy nose.

Even though, both decongestants and antihistamines must be used only for a very short period because of their side effects.

Apart from that, suffering patients may also think about getting immunotherapy. This technique aims at decreasing responses to specific allergic substances. It is effective especially if it is used with other medications as instructed or administered by your doctor. In the case of severe rhinitis, some medical practitioners precisely recommend a treatment based on long-term – reasons being to help few people who may be developing sinusitis.

Itchy flaky, sticky, and swollen puffy eyelids

What causes itchy eyelids or eyelids that are red and itchy? Can swollen eyelids be causing scaling? Let us look at some of the cause of itchy, flaky, sticky and swollen eyes including some symptoms.

1. Blepharitis – Red Itchy eyelids

One of the common causes of eyelids that are puffy and itchy or flaky is blepharitis. Common symptoms: red itchy inflamed eyes or eyelids in the morning.

Other common symptoms of blepharitis are:

  • Sticky eyelids difficult open normally in the morning.
  • Eye irritation,
  • Oily eyelids

2. Contact dermatitis

If you have itchy and flaky eyelids then a possible cause is contact dermatitis. According to NHS Choices, this condition causes your skin around the eyelids to become inflamed after it has come into contact with usually an irritant or allergen (such as make-ups).

This condition may go on their own if you stopped using things that cause inflammation.

3. Meibomian Cysts or Chalazion

A meibomian cyst is a term used to refer to a swollen upper or lower eyelids. Meibomian cysts are caused by blocked meibomian glands whose function is to hydrate the eyes.

These cysts are painless and vary in size. However, if infected they grow into a red and painful chalazion.

They may disappear on their own but have a tendency to appear again even after months. Before you even think of how to treat then you should seek medical assistance from your GP for prescription antibiotics if the cysts take more than 1 month to go away.

If they are infected, an alternative treatment may involve draining them by having an incision done by a surgeon. Unless you are treated, cysts that grow on eyelids may compromise your eyes such as cellulitis infection.

4. Other Causes

They include allergic reactions and shingles/herpes zoster which affects face nerves and skin that surrounds it. Major causes of style are chickenpox that remains dormant in adulthood, old age, stress, certain medications, immune system conditions such as HIV and AIDs.

Unfortunately, these infections has no cure. However, you can relieve the symptoms through various treatments such as taking painkillers – paracetamol, ibuprofen. Talk to your GP in order to get good drugs which should fit your situation.

Here are more causes.

a. Styes

This is yet another eye infection and causes for swollen eyelids. Unlike chalazion, style infections are minor and occur at the base of the eyelids.

b. Infected contact lenses or solutions

Another cause of swelling and puffiness is cleaning your lenses using contaminated contact solutions. If you have been complaining to get irritation or being allergic to contact lens then it is possible that germs landed in your eyes.

Take correct measures by first discarding all solutions and then discontinue contact

Dry itchy eyes causes

Having dry eyes can be compared to open eyeballs without eyelids. What does it mean when your eye itches and shows signs of dryness? This condition can affect anyone in any age bracket but worsens as we age. Below is a brief discussion of all possible causes of dry eyes which, in one way or the other cause itchiness.

1. Dry eye syndrome

It is of the conditions responsible for a dry itchy eye. Typically, it is due to this condition has to do with quality or quantity of tears produced by their glands. Little or poor tear quality cannot guarantee you a moist and maintain quality tear film to cover your eyeball.

This means that lubrication is not sufficient. For instance, eyes can get easily irritated whenever dust gets into them since it cannot be washed away naturally.

2. Collagen Vascular Disease

Another disease quite characteristic of arthritis but affects the collagen which shapes structures of tendons, and connective tissues which include the bones. Remember that even around the eye there are tendons supporting each.  According to Eyehealthweb, if immune system malfunctions, then these tendons and connective tissues may collapse leading to their dryness.

3. Dry tear film

A normal tear film comprises three layers namely oil, water, and mucous layers. If one or all of these layers are depleted, then you are likely to develop an eye that has signs of dryness as well as itchiness including on eyelids. What causes a dry tear film in humans?

Some of the problematic conditions are responsible. They include meibomitis, blepharitis and rosacea/acne. All the three conditions will rip of the eye’s oil which is produced by the meibomian glands located in bases of eyelids.

4. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Secondly, rheumatoid arthritis as an autoimmune disease that affects joints, can cause chronic inflammation and dryness around eyes and your mouth.

Red Itchy Eyes that also burn?

Going on, slight irritation to one eye not only makes them to pain but also may turn red. Some of the causes may appear or repeat because they share or have common symptoms. Here are some common causes.

1. Corneal Abrasion

Abrasion means a minor scratch or injury. A corneal abrasion may be caused by various things and processes that involve the eye. Common causes are dust from soil and other metallic specks such as fillings. Other things that cause it are contact lenses and eye surgery.

All these have effects in that one becomes sensitive to light which affects proper vision besides eye pain. Note that if your cornea after abrasion is infected may become a cornea ulcer easily.

What is the treatment for corneal abrasion? For an effective treatment, you need to have a diagnosis to determine whether your cornea may be infected as well.

2. Blepharitis

This condition is typical of the eyelids but can cause inflammation within the eye itself. It is a complicated one. Studies have shown that the exact cause cannot be determined easily. It is thus worth looking at its risk factors not forgetting causes.

Risk factors or causes?

There are two types of inflammation caused by inflammation. One is anterior eye inflammation while the other is posterior inflammation of the eyelid. The difference is, anterior inflammation is on the outside of the eye but closer to the eyelashes. On the other hand, the posterior eyelid may get inflamed if you have a malfunctioning oil gland.

Individuals who are allergic or have dandruff on the eyelashes are at risk of blepharitis (anterior). Other causes of blepharitis include:

  1. Mites infestation of the eyelashes,
  2. Bacterial infection,
  3. Side effects from long-term use of certain drugs.
  4. Infected oil glands or ones not functioning well,


We have sampled out symptoms in accordance with the focus of our discussion but there are more others.

  • itchy red eyes,
  • oily eyelids,
  • a sensation of a foreign body in the eye,
  • Burning sensation,
  • light sensitivity,
  • Crusty eye corners or small crusts on eyelashes (sign of mite infection)

Treatment and Complications

Let us briefly look at some of treatment and medicines used to cure blepharitis.

  1. Antibiotics: having given bacterial infection a possible cause, if you have red itchy eyes you must go for diagnosis. Your doctor should give you prescription medicines such as pills, ointments, and drops.
  2. Steroids: these medicines don’t cure infections but are necessary for elevating symptoms. Again they should be prescribed whether they are used for children or adults treatment of blepharitis.

Cases of blepharitis must be taken seriously. In fact, diagnosis and treatment should begin at the point of inception of symptoms. Otherwise, there are serious long-term complications e.g. dry eye and (chronic)  conjunctivitis accompanied by this condition.

3. Sore dry eyes and Diabetes

Diabetic individuals are at risk of getting sore and slightly dry eyes. But may not be itchy in essence.

Puffy, swollen itchy eyes during pregnancy

Any of the above causes (allergy, allergic conjunctivitis, infections, and conditions) account for swollen itchy eyes, watery and other signs we have looked at so far. However, Karen Deighan, MD, says that “the extra water retention can make your skin tight all over,” [] even on your face, can cause bad eye swelling late in your pregnancy starting from about 37 weeks.

Other symptoms to look out for during while pregnant are itchy ears, sore or itchy throat and sleeping disorders. Some symptoms are typical of hormonal change behavior that implicates in decreased tear production. However, if it is severe immediately see your doctor to be diagnosed.

Some medications may not be safe during pregnancy. Avoid Pseudoephedrine as they potentially bring harm to the abdominal wall of your developing baby in the womb. But if you experience congestion as part of allergy and its symptoms get the right advice or medication prescribed by clinical doctors.

Moms who don’t have enough sleeping time may begin to complain getting puffiness in eyes. But it is true. You are also more likely to feel fatigued and exhausted all day long.

Itchiness and swelling after eyelash extensions?

If you have had a synthetic eyelash extension recently you could cause irritation and additional symptoms. Such comprise bloodshot eyes, excessive watering with a thick discharge in the morning just as that of conjunctivitis.

However many little effects may come out, the best action that you can’t ignore is to remove them or go back to your beauty care provider to get them off eyelids. After having them removed, consult your doctor if you may require additional treatments – if persistent severe reactions go on.

If you want to prevent it inform your beauty provider that you are allergic to certain cosmetic products. Alternatively, seek other options for instance eyelash curling or quality mascara from a different company.

Swollen, burning or painful eyelids in children

Young children may be victims of eyelid complications. Other than allergies, what are causes of itchy eyelids for little-loved ones?


It is a disorder affecting the majority of children. Whenever your child complains of inflammation when eyelids appear swollen then it is a hint to let him or her get a diagnosis.

Orbital Cellulitis

Cellulitis may affect both adults and children with underage. Children, in particular, have an acute pain accompanied by fever, swollen eyelids which is tender and hot to touch. It is a threat and considered an emergency.

Any of the other causes mentioned above could be also a cause of this problem in children.

Best eye drops for Itchy eyes

What are the best brands for this condition? You may need to rely on the information was given to potential causes of eyes becoming itchy. Another important fact is how long you use drugs to treat various eye problems. We shall bring to light both prescription and non-prescription or OTCs – over the counter drops, examples, and other medicine-related issues.

1. Prescription watery itchy eye drops

As a category, their effects can last for some hours rarely a day. They include Emadine, Azelastine hydrochloride, etc.

2. Anti-inflammatory

They are either non-steroids or corticosteroids. For effective results, some are meant for short-term (corticosteroids) use because of their side effects after using them for longer periods. For instance, if you get used to corticosteroids for long expect to get cataracts, increase eye or intraocular pressure and glaucoma.

Brand example of NSAID-approved non-steroids is Acular.

3. Decongestants

Thirdly, decongestants are OTC drops that are widely used to get rid of redness. But risks of continuing to get eye swelling and redness are bound to its long-term use.

4. Mast Cell stabilizers – OTCs and Prescription

We shall look at how mast cell stabilizers work to counter the release of histamine later in the discussion. Samples of OTCs include Claritin and Refresh Eye Itch Relief.

Those prescribed by your doctor such as Cromolyn, Lodoxamide, Alamast, Nedocromil Sodium can be found in drugstores and pharmacist shops.

If you have problems (itchy eyes) with contacts especially itching, you can go for brands with more than one ingredient. The interesting bit is that they have multiple actions ensuring that they prevent and treat eye problems such as soreness, itchiness, and redness, watering or tearing and burning. Examples are Elestat, Patanol, Zaditor or Alaway.

You must take caution when it comes to duration of application. Most over-the-counter medicines should not be used for more than 3 days. As for many eyedrops, wearing contacts may impossible unless you have been given permission to do so.

Picking the best brands

In order to determine best eye drops for infections, allergic conjunctivitis, you should first get to know and understand your set of symptoms. Some of the most effective or best brands include the following. Over the counter, drops are more convenient for use.

If symptoms persist don’t sit back or give in even after trying best medicine for itchy eyes. Get help from your medic any moment you notice color changes in solution or cloudiness. If you have to use OTCs drops to treat your eyes then check keenly to see that they are preservative-free.

Ingredients to look for in OTCs brands

If you are suffering from extremely dry eyes these are some of the ingredients to pick on. Propylene or polyethylene glycol with as little as 0.3% concentration.

Prescription brands for itchy or dry irritated eyes

Listed below are some brand names for common but effective or best allergy medicine for itchy eyes. They have fast-acting relief from itchiness and discomfort after irritation. Before you can acquire them consult your eye doctor on any conditions or infections that could restrict using them as treatments.

  1. Naphazoline with Naphazoline hydrochloride and polyethylene glycol e.g. Advanced Eye Relief,
  2. Alaway (ketotifen fumarate solution)
  3. Olopatadine,
  4. Lodoxamide
  5. Cromolyn,
  6. Antazoline

Other medicines can prevent itchiness and watering due to allergies. Such brand names as Clear Eyes ACR and Visine-A are quite common.

Relief Treatments – Eye drops, Medicines

Before you need to see your doctor if you are sure that your itching eyes are a result of allergies you can have itch relief or get rid of bothering symptoms. You may find it very helpful to use some allergy medicines medications, eye drops for drops and home remedies. While all these are only remedies, sufferers with special cases must get medical attention to cater for their needs.

Get Over-the-counter brands

This is one of the ways in which you can get relief for itchy eyes more so if they have mild symptoms or signs of redness, itchiness or watering caused by allergies.

What you need to note is beside non-prescription drops there are also prescription relief drops, creams, and other medications. Please always be at the forefront to get best ones for yourself after consulting relevant authority persons.

The following is a guideline on various eye drops, drugs, and treatments to relieve the discomfort of symptoms.

a. Antihistamines

As we mentioned, your body responds by releasing chemical histamine, these group of medication inhibits “attachment of histamine to cells in the body that produce an allergic response.” [] thus reducing allergic reactions.

Examples are Advanced Eye relief, Opcon-A Itching and Redness Reliever.

b. Decongestants

The mechanisms that decongestants use to reduce nasal congestions include:

  • Shrinking swollen nasal passages – which helps in efficient breathing,
  • They also reduce the size of (dilated) blood vessels located in the white of your eye.

Examples of decongestants commonly used are phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine.


Use of medicines is also another way of getting your eyes relieved, often itchy reddened eyes. One of these medicines is known as mast cell stabilizers. Now, mast cells are the cells that normally carry histamine. These cells are part of a human body’s immune system.

How do mast cell stabilizer medicines bring about relief for itchy eyes?  They cause certain changes to mast cells which prevent the cells from releasing histamine.

The mechanisms of these medications tend to be slower. So, the best thing you can do is to apply them before the inception of an allergy season.

Itchy Eye Relief Drop

Alternatively, one may use eye drops as another means to get rid of allergy symptoms especially the acute symptoms. Let us briefly look at each one of them.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

A more effective option for these drugs is those that are prescribed by your doctor. Most of these include drugs that reduce swelling, inflammation, redness amongst other symptoms.


These are meant for short-term usage by patients who suffer from acute symptoms of eye allergy. Steroids must be used with a lot of caution and strict instructions from your eye medical doctor or ophthalmologist. This owes to the fact long-term use comes along with side-effects. An example of such drops is prescription corticosteroids.

Eye Relief with Contacts

Did you start feeling all of the sorts of eye discomfort when you started wearing contacts? Being in this situation one needs to be curious. Well, the truth is, from proven studies show that eye contacts themselves do not pose any risks of having an eye allergy. Instead, allergies associated with contacts wearing can be attributed to substances that have accumulated on your contacts over time.

What implication does this have on the whole issue of itchy eyes and contacts? In most cases, eye patients tend to develop itchy, red eyes when they stop when they substitute regular soft contacts to silicon hydrogel ones. Now, the real issue here is concerning the nature of the surface and chemical composition of your new contacts.

Daily discarded soft lenses are most recommended by eye care providers. This mode of using single day lens package highly discourages build-up of debris or other materials such as allergens is what causes itchy eyes in winter.

DIY Relief home remedies – DOs & DON’Ts

If you don’t want to get irritated and annoyed by various potentially harmful substances, follow the following procedures. They involve certain restrictions which are all important in preventing getting swollen, itchy, puffy or watery eyes.

Avoid the Sources of allergens

One optional way is to stay indoors or out of reach of allergic culprits that make you suffer. While inside make sure all main openings around your house including doors and windows are shut.

In case you have to out then remember to pick your sunglasses or wind eyeglasses.

Observe Hygiene of Bedding

This is crucial in as far as reducing instances of getting closer to dust mites which harbor bedding and other in-house materials such as pillows, cushions, and mattresses. Wash and clean your pillows well. Moreover, consider replacing your bedding materials if they a bit outworked.

Avoid Smoking

This is a vice you must stop especially in your own bedroom or rooms with no adequate ventilation. We saw earlier smoke is one of the culprits for triggering itchy eyes. You have to respect yourself, be humble and smoke outside if you have to.

Stop rubbing your eyes constantly

Rubbing will cause more suffering as it heightens the symptoms such as inflammation, eye swelling, and puffiness.

Do thorough all-around cleaning – Indoors & Outdoors

To prevent potential sources for itchy eyes from allergies, scrub your floors from all the way from verandahs to the bathrooms and bedrooms to clear dust, growing molds, animal dander and fur from pets, etc. sweep all your carpets and try replacing rugs.

In case you like your pets and seem to produce dander you have to clean them or keep away from near places where you spend the most time – i.e. bedrooms and sitting rooms.

The other thing to think about is running an air conditioner and also keeping all filters and air ducts always clean. This is very crucial in clearing any lingering allergens indoors.

More Natural Home remedies for itchy eyes Allergies, Irritation

What are other natural treatment or remedies for itchy eyes at home? They should be procedures you are familiar with. Cold compress, rose water, green tea, cold mild and cucumber to name them. For the procedure, details click here: