itchy eyes at night

Itchy Eyes at Night (Causes and Home Remedies)

Itchy eyes can be a significant sleep disruptor at night. As you are less distracted while sleeping, these itchy eye symptoms become more noticeable.  Finding ways to get rid of this eye discomfort largely depends on how severe the underlying causes are. 

Causes for itchy eyes at night may vary from person to person. Allergic reactions to eyes may occur due to the nighttime use of personal care products. Soap, detergents, eye makeup, and other chemicals can irritate the eyelids.

Eyestrain is another cause of itchy, burning eyes. Driving long distances or working on computers for an extended period can cause eyestrain. This eyestrain may aggravate symptoms like itchy eyes during the night. 

Blepharitis is a condition that can cause eyelid inflammation and itchy eyes. The symptoms may worsen at night. 

Dry eye diseases may be another reason that you experience itchy eyes at night. In this condition, eyes no longer produce tears, leading to dry eyes. Typical symptoms include grittiness, burning sensation, redness, pain, and itching. 

Other causes of itchy eyes include eye infections, contact lenses, exposure to irritants, eczema and rosacea, medication, post-eye surgery recovery, and meibomian gland dysfunction  You may develop itchy and watery eyes in COVID-19, but these symptoms are quite rare. 

You can prevent itchy eyes at night by applying warm and cool compresses, maintaining proper eye hygiene, using a humidifier, avoiding allergens, using eye drops, and other home remedies. 

Medical treatment involves oral and topical antibiotics, steroid drops for allergies, artificial tears, and other medication opinions to treat eye conditions that can cause itchy eyes. 

The most effective strategy to prevent itchy eyes is to find what triggers them. If you block these triggers, your eyes will not become itchy.

What Causes Itchy Eyes at Night

Causes of Itchy Eyes at Night

1. Allergic Reaction

Imagine your eyes having a little sensitivity party! Allergies, whether triggered by pollen, pet dander, dust mites, or other environmental factors, can cause your eyes to become itchy and watery. During the night, when allergens might be present in your bedding or even in the air, your eyes can start itching and disrupting your peaceful slumber.

2. Eyestrain

Just like the rest of your body, your eyes can get tired, too. Staring at screens for long periods, reading in dim light, or doing activities that strain your eyes can make them itch. The strain can intensify during the night, especially if you've had a day filled with screen time or reading.

3. Blepharitis

Do you know what eyelid inflammation is? That's blepharitis. It can make your eyelids red, itchy, and a bit swollen, particularly at night. Oils and particles that accumulate at the base of your eyelashes can irritate your eyes and lead to itchiness, especially as you wind down for the night.

4. Dry Eyes

Imagine your eyes are a garden, and they're just a tad thirsty. Dry eyes, a common woe, occur when your eyes don't produce enough tears or when the quality of the tears is compromised. This lack of moisture can make your eyes feel itchy, especially when you're lying down to sleep and not blinking as often.

5. Eye Infection and Inflammation

Infections or inflammations in your eyes, like conjunctivitis, can cause itching and irritation. You may experience these problems throughout the night, making your eyes feel uncomfortable and itchy as you try to get some rest.

6. Contact Lenses

The contact lenses that help you see clearly can sometimes cause nighttime itchiness. Wearing lenses for extended periods or not cleaning them properly can irritate your eyes, making them itch when you're trying to catch some z's.

7. Recovery after Eye Surgery

If you've recently undergone eye surgery, like LASIK or cataract surgery, your eyes may itch during the healing process. It's a sign that your eyes are regaining their strength and adjusting to the changes.

8. Exposure to Irritants

Our eyes are sensitive souls, and exposure to irritants like smoke, pollution, or strong odors can trigger that annoying itchiness, especially during the night when you're spending hours in your home environment.

9. Medications

Certain medications, especially those with side effects affecting the eyes, can lead to nighttime itchiness. It's always good to be aware of the potential effects of any medication you're taking.

10. Eczema and Rosacea

Skin conditions like eczema and rosacea can also affect the delicate skin around your eyes, making them itchy and irritated, including that bothersome eye itching in the corner.

13 Home Remedies for Treating Itchy Eyes at Night

13 Home Remedies for Itchy eyes at night

When your eyes are itching up a storm during the night, don't fret – there are several home remedies to provide some much-needed relief:

1. The 20-20-20 Rule

Ease the strain on your eyes by following the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time or close-up work, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away. This simple trick helps reduce eye strain, a common cause of nighttime itching.

2. Warm and Cool Compresses

For those with dry eyes or blepharitis, alternating between warm and cool compresses can work wonders. The warm compress helps loosen debris and soothe irritation, while the cool one reduces inflammation and relieves itching.

3. Keeping the Eye Area Clean

Maintaining good eye hygiene is essential. Gently clean your eyelids and lashes daily with a mild, tear-free baby shampoo or a specialized eyelid cleanser. This helps prevent the buildup of irritants that can lead to itching.

4. Using a Humidifier

If you live in a dry climate or use heating/cooling systems, consider using a humidifier in your bedroom. Adding moisture to the air can prevent your eyes from drying out during the night.

5. Discontinue Contact Lens Use

Give your eyes a break from contact lenses if they're causing irritation. Sometimes, switching to glasses for a while can alleviate nighttime itching.

6. Avoid Allergens

Identify and avoid allergens that trigger your eye itching. This might mean keeping pets out of the bedroom, using allergen-proof pillowcases and mattress covers, or using an air purifier to reduce airborne allergens.

7. Contact Lens Hygiene

If you must wear contact lenses, prioritize hygiene. Clean and disinfect your lenses as directed by your eye care professional. Using daily disposable lenses can also reduce the risk of allergen buildup.

8. Don't Rub Your Eyes

We know it's tempting, but rubbing your eyes can worsen the itching and potentially introduce more irritants. Instead, try to blink more frequently to distribute tears and soothe your eyes naturally.

9. Apply a Cool Compress

If your eyes are inflamed or irritated, a cool compress can provide relief. Use a clean cloth soaked in cool water and gently apply it to your closed eyelids for a few minutes.

10. Use Over-the-Counter or Prescription Eye Drops

Over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can help ease dry eye symptoms. If your itching persists, consult an eye care professional for prescription eye drops tailored to your specific condition.

11. Rinse Your Eyes

If you suspect allergens or irritants in your eyes, rinse them with saline solution or artificial tears to flush out potential troublemakers.

12. Reduce Screen Time

Cutting back on screen time, especially before bedtime, can reduce eye strain and minimize nighttime itching. Give your eyes a break and opt for a good book or soothing music.

13. Use Hypoallergenic Products

Switch to hypoallergenic makeup and skincare products to minimize the risk of introducing irritants to your eye area.

The Best Way to Avoid Triggers

Best way to avoid triggers for itchy eyes

Preventing or minimizing exposure to triggers is crucial in managing and preventing itchy eyes. Here are some tips to help you stay away from common irritants:

1. Identify and Avoid Allergens

Work with an allergist to identify specific allergens triggering your itchy eyes. Once identified, take proactive steps to minimize exposure. This might involve making changes to your environment, such as using allergen-proof bedding or avoiding certain outdoor activities during high pollen seasons.

2. Keep Indoor Air Clean

Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in your home's heating and cooling systems to reduce airborne allergens. Regularly clean and dust your living space to minimize dust mites and pet dander.

3. Manage Pet Allergies

If pet dander triggers your allergies, consider keeping pets out of certain areas in your home, using pet-specific allergy products, and bathing and grooming your pets regularly.

4. Control Dust Mites

Cover mattresses and pillows with allergen-proof covers, wash your bedding frequently in hot water and choose furniture that is easy to clean to reduce dust mites.

5. Minimize Smoke Exposure

Avoid smoking, and stay away from environments where you may be exposed to secondhand smoke, as it can exacerbate eye irritation and itchiness.

6. Monitor Pollen Counts

Stay informed about local pollen counts, especially during allergy seasons. On high pollen days, try to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

7. Wear Protective Eyewear

If your itching is due to exposure to dust, wind, or other environmental factors, consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or protective eyewear to shield your eyes.

Recommended Medical Treatments for Itchy Eyes at Night

If home remedies aren't providing sufficient relief for your itchy eyes, it may be necessary to explore medical treatments:

1. Prescription Eye Drops

Consult an eye care specialist who can prescribe stronger and more targeted eye drops to alleviate your specific symptoms. These may include antihistamine or anti-inflammatory eye drops to combat allergies or reduce inflammation.

2. Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)

For severe allergies causing persistent eye itching, allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy) can be recommended. These shots gradually desensitize your immune system to specific allergens, ultimately reducing allergic reactions.

3. Steroid Eye Drops

In cases of acute inflammation and itching, especially due to allergic reactions, short-term use of prescription steroid eye drops may be necessary under medical supervision.

4. Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or oral antihistamines can be prescribed to manage inflammation and itching caused by allergic reactions.

When to Talk to a Doctor About Itchy Eyes

If your nighttime eye itching persists despite trying these remedies, or if it's accompanied by other symptoms like redness, discharge, or vision changes, it's time to consult an eye specialist. They can help identify the underlying cause and recommend the most appropriate treatment to ensure your eyes remain healthy and comfortable. Don't hesitate to seek professional advice when needed for your precious peepers!

What are Burning Eyes?

Burning eyes manifest as a discomforting sensation often accompanied by redness, itching, and watering. Common causes of burning eyes include exposure to irritants like smoke, dust, or allergens, as well as conditions like dry eye syndrome or conjunctivitis.

For relief, rinsing the eyes with cold water and applying a cold compress or cucumber slices can provide immediate soothing. Avoiding eye rubbing and using over-the-counter lubricating eye drops or artificial tears help alleviate dryness and reduce the burning sensation. Maintaining good eye hygiene, steering clear of allergens, and staying well-hydrated are essential practices to prevent burning eyes.

However, if the discomfort persists or worsens, consulting an eye care professional is advisable for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Back to blog