Common Causes of Eye Irritation – When to Consult an Optometrist

eye irritation

There’s nothing worse than the feeling of eye irritation. Rubbing and scratching can further risk the health of your eye but so does doing nothing about the irritation. There are many reasons why you may suffer from eye discomfort, however knowing when to consult an optometrist can make all the difference. Eyelux Optometry breaks down the various causes and simple steps you can take towards a solution. Get rid of the burning, uncomfortable symptoms and restore clearer vision!



Allergies are the number one cause of eye irritation. Eye allergies commonly occur when a person comes around allergens. These allergens disturb your eye typically causing itchiness and watery eyes. There is a wide range of things that may cause these symptoms ranging from pollen and dust to even molds and pet dander.  

Symptoms usually appear quickly after you come into contact with an allergen, for example visiting the home of someone with a pet. You may find some comfort with over the counter eye drops or pills, but more severe symptoms or prolonged exposure may require you to take prescription medication or even allergy shots.


Too Much Screen Time

These days, one of the fastest growing eye irritant factors is prolonged screen time, like on your phone or computer. The condition is also known as computer eye strain. Other symptoms that you may experience include headaches, neck pain, and back pain.

The best rule to follow is known as 20/20/20. For every twenty minutes of screen time, look at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds to prevent these symptoms from happening. If you work in a field that requires intensive use of a computer or electronic device, you may want to consult with your eye doctor about special lenses that help protect from the harmful effects blue screen light.

eye irritation


Those Annoying Irritants

Irritants are generally any foreign objects that permeate your ocular membrane. These irritants can penetrate or land on the eye from accidental exposure. The most common symptoms are red, watery eyes, and the feeling like something is poking or hurting your eye.

For most cases, you’ll be able to rinse your eye with cold water for about ten minutes to alleviate your symptoms. However, if you come in contact with more severe irritants then you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately, especially when rinsing your eyes does not help you.


Dry Eyes, Infections and More

If your eye irritation isn’t a result of one of the problems mentioned above, it’s likely either an environmental or health condition. Dry eyes can happen during winter months when dry winter air mixes with the indoor, low-humidity, heated environment. Eye drops or a humidifier can provide some relief of these concerns.

Also, it’s possible you may be suffering from a more complex vision impairment problem such as an eye infection, retinal tear, or other related health problem. A solid guideline to follow is if you are suffering from severe eye discomfort for more than an hour then you may want to consult an eye doctor.


Beating Eye Irritation One Step at a Time

There’s nothing fun about eye irritation, but you don’t have to suffer through it. Now that you know the most common causes of it and how to treat them, you can find the proper relief. More than anything, prevention is key to avoiding irritation. Be sure to schedule an annual eye exam to keep your eyes in the best health possible. From a corrective eye prescription to eye-related questions, contact us today and discover the amazing eye care services we offer.