This Is What Really Causes Itchy Eyes

Allergies can ruin the best of days. Symptoms can include fatigue, fever, and vomiting, and range in severity (via the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology). But perhaps one of the most frustrating symptoms is itchy eyes. While current research is looking into better methods of treatment that may block the body's histamine reaction entirely, there is currently no cure for allergies, but there are medications for side-effect management.

Most of these symptoms continue to strike long after the initial exposure, including allergens entering the body through the nose, mouth, and eyes. Harvard Health Publishing suggests that the ever-uncomfortable sensation of itchy eyes during an allergy attack is a condition known as allergic conjunctivitis and happens more often in young people. Generally speaking, this reaction tends to subside as people grow older.

But how exactly are these allergens affecting our eyes, and why do they cause such extreme reactions? 

Health experts say it's an inflammatory response

Harvard Health Publishing states that allergic conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction that causes inflammation to the conjunctiva, also known as the lining of the eye. It's estimated that allergic conjunctivitis affects between 20 to 40% of Americans every year, a number that's steadily on the rise. Unfortunately, up to 95% of sufferers also simultaneously experience allergic rhinitis, an allergic reaction in the nose that can make for an uncomfortable experience.

While eye allergies can cause swelling, tears, discharge, redness, and itching, health experts say such effects are not a threat to our vision in the long run (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). Experts suggest people should not rub their eyes when allergies hit in order to protect their eye health. Instead, it's recommended you use an antihistamine medication, apply a cold compress to the eye area, or rinse the affected area with water to remove allergen contact, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine