ZocdocAnswersWhy is my eye red and itchy?

Question

Why is my eye red and itchy?

I have found that my eyes are really red and itchy in the mornings. I have tried replacing my pillows, changing my sheets, and changing my laundry detergent, all to no avail. What else could possibly be causing this problem. I don't wear contacts, and otherwise the redness and itchiness clears up a the day goes on.

Answer

The symptoms that you are describing sound very much like allergic conjunctivitis, or eye allergies. Allergic conjunctivitis is characterized by itchy, redness and tearing usually of both eyes. Many people with allergic conjunctivitis will also have allergic rhinitis, nasal allergies, accompanied by runny nose, stuffiness, and sneezing. The fact that the symptoms are worse during the day and seem to clear up as the day goes on strongly suggest that you are being exposed to something at night that provokes the allergy. By far the most likely possibility is that you are allergic to mites, as these collect in the mattress and it is common for the symptoms to be worse when you are in bed. You may want to consider using a mite cover on the mattress, and taking any carpet out of the bedroom may also help, as may using an air filter in the bedroom. A daily nonsedating antihistamine like loratidine or cetirizine is also probably indicated, as this will help you to control the symptoms. I suggest that you talk to your primary care doctor as they will be able to confirm the diagnosis and help you decide which treatments are most appropriate for your situation.

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