Puffy Itchy Skin Around Eyes
Getting to the root cause of puffy, itchy skin around the eyes can take you to almost any corner of the medical establishment. Eye irritation exists in the symptomatic domains of allergies, medication side effects, infections, hormone changes, ocular health and more. In some cases, a cool compress, hydrating eye drops or an antihistamine can control your symptoms, but if your discomfort persists, you should see your doctor for an official diagnosis.
Blepharitis is an umbrella term for a variety of irritating eyelid conditions that can cause itchiness and puffiness around the eyes. It also usually involves both eyes. Ocular allergies are prevailing problems because of our eyes' constant contact with the environment, bacteria and pollution. "Pink eye" is a bacterial infection that affects the transparent membrane inside the eye, but can easily cause puffiness and itchy skin outside of the eyes as well.
Allergies are another non-specific term, since there are dozens of different irritants that can affect the area around the eyes. Common allergens that may cause discomfort include molds, seasonal pollen, pet hair and some foods.
Medications to Treat Eye Discomfort
The No. 1 recommended medication for treating eye puffiness and itchiness is antihistamines. Available over-the-counter and as a prescription, antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine in the body. Histamine is a chemical that can irritate the sinuses---which includes the eyes. Some popular brand-name antihistamines include Claritin, Dimetapp and Tavist. Antibiotics can also treat your symptoms by treating the underlying problem. You will need to take an antibiotic to treat an infection of the eye.
You can prevent eye irritation by recognizing your triggers. If you have allergies, take note of days when your allergies will be highest. Every morning, check the National Allergy Forecast for Today (see Resources). Avoid visiting friends who have pets. Carry hand sanitizer with you and use several times a day so that you don't transfer germs and bacteria into your eyes---especially after using public transportation or gym equipment or handling a grocery cart at the supermarket.
Some home remedies that could minimize your symptoms, reports the Eye Care Source website, include washing your face with ice-cold water. Keep your sodium intake at a minimum. The American Heart Association suggests limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day, which amounts to one teaspoon of table salt. One can of condensed chicken noodle soup can have as much as 890 mg of sodium, almost half of the recommended daily allowance.
Placing a slice of cucumber on each eye can reduce puffiness, as can a cool, moist tea bag. According to an article on ABC News' website, the tannins---a natural astringent that can constrict blood vessels---in black and oolong tea can reduce puffy eyes.
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