Treat­ing itchy eyes; hy­dra­tion tips; foot fun­gus facts; med­i­cal news

Why they hap­pen and how to treat them

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents - BY SA­MAN­THA RIDE­OUT

An itch that’s dif­fi­cult to scratch quickly es­ca­lates from a mild dis­trac­tion to a ma­jor vex­a­tion, so it’s lit­tle won­der that itchy eyes are a fre­quent com­plaint at oph­thal­mol­o­gists’ of­fices. One likely cause: an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion. If your eyes are both­er­ing you, con­sider whether you’ve re­cently used any new prod­ucts (creams, make-up, soap) that could be caus­ing ir­ri­ta­tion. Eyes also com­monly re­act to pollen, dust mites and

pet dan­der. Avoid sus­pected trig­gers, if pos­si­ble, and use saline eye drops to flush out any leftover par­ti­cles. You can also take an­ti­his­tamines, in pill or drop form, to ease al­ler­gic symp­toms. Don’t wear con­tact lenses un­til the warn­ing signs go away.

■ Con­tact lenses can ac­tu­ally lead to itch­i­ness, es­pe­cially if they’re dam­aged, not re­placed of­ten enough, im­prop­erly cleaned or

a poor fit. (An im­per­fect fit may be the cul­prit if you feel like you have a for­eign ob­ject in your eye or if you ex­pe­ri­ence vi­sion fluc­tu­a­tions when wear­ing con­tacts.) Fol­low the re­place­ment sched­ule given to you, and make sure you wash and dis­in­fect your lenses ac­cord­ing to the in­struc­tions that were pro­vided with their clean­ing so­lu­tion.

■ Another pos­si­ble rea­son for itch­i­ness is dry-eye syn­drome, which can be caused by in­suf­fi­cient eye-mois­ture pro­duc­tion (due to age­ing, laser-eye surgery or med­i­ca­tions such as de­con­ges­tants and an­tide­pres­sants) or eye mois­ture that evap­o­rates too quickly (caused by smoke, dry air or blink­ing less of­ten). Over-the-counter saline drops, also known as ar­ti­fi­cial tears, will re­place the miss­ing lu­bri­ca­tion and can of­ten re­lieve the dis­com­fort.

■ If you have ad­di­tional symp­toms, such as eye dis­charge or a sore throat, if you’re in a lot of pain or if your vi­sion de­clines, you may have an in­fec­tion or a prob­lem re­quir­ing pro­fes­sional care. “There are many com­plaints that may present with red, itchy and wa­tery eyes,” says Holly Shaw, a reg­is­tered nurse. “As some of the rarer eye con­di­tions have the po­ten­tial to be sight threat­en­ing, it’s good to seek ad­vice.”

Up to half of the world’s con­tact lens wear­ers ex­pe­ri­ence dry­ness, itch­i­ness and other forms of dis­com­fort

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