Itchy, Red Eyes
Quick Fix: Over the Counter (OVC) Eye Drops
Why it is harmful: Itchiness and red eyes are common problems young millennia face due to excessive screen time, constant partying and lack of sleep. A quick way to curb this issue is putting eye drops that are easily and readily available in any pharmacy. However, excessive eye drops can have side effects on the eyes and the body.
Ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dr. Rajesh Khanna says chemicals such as vasoconstrictor and naphazoline used in eye drops can “constrict blood flow in the outer blood vessels of the eye. Every time you use it, the blood vessels constrict, but when you stop using it, the blood rebounds. It’s a vicious cycle.” He continues on to say there are two types of tears in the eyes: basal and reflex. “There’s a pump in the eye called the lacrimal pump, which produces basal tears 24/7—these flow across the eye, where the lid spreads the tears like windshield wipers. These are the tears you need all the time. In order to have healthier eyes, we need to improve the amount of basal tears. The other type of tear is the reflex tear, which we get when our eyes react to something, like wind striking the eye. 1 When excessive external chemicals go into the eyes in excess, the eyes can get irritated and the issue at hand can get worse. Some symptoms due to excessive eye drops are more redness and irritation in the eyes, nausea, vomiting and even dizziness. 2
Long Term Solution: To prevent red eyes and itchiness altogether, simple eye care can go a long way.
1 Try to minimize the amount of wind that hits your eyes. Sunglasses or an eye mask can help protect your eyes from this.
2 Avoid sitting in front of air conditioners – not only can cold wind effect your eyes, but can also cause nose irritation.
3 Splashing cool water over the eyes and the end of the day to help wash away any irritants and allergens that are often the cause of red and itchy eyes.
4 Eat lutein and beta-carotene based foods that include leafy vegetables, kale, almonds, carrots, sweet potato, and cantaloupe to name a few. For those with excessive eye irritation, natural medication like Eyemax is also a great option to have.
5 Basal Tears: Basal tears are constantly present in the eye to ensure the cornea is wet and nourished as it has no blood vessels and is dependent on tears for oxygen. 3 While basal tears are only found within the body and no external foods can increase the basal tears, doing warm moist compresses can help increase lubricate production and cause healthier tear flow to activate basal tears. 4