Do you experience itchy eyes in the corner? There might be several reasons for this. In this article, we will talk about the causes, treatments, and remedies of itchy eyes in the corner. So, if you are experiencing itchy eyes in the corner, then you must read this further.
About Itchy Eyes In The Corner:
In the corner of our eyes (the corners which are closest to the nose), there are tear ducts. One duct or passageway is in the lower eyelid and one is in the upper eyelid. These tiny openings are called the Puncta. These Puncta allow excess tears to drain away from the surface of the eyes into the nose. That is the reason why sometimes while crying you get a runny nose.
Apart from the Puncta, the corner of our eyes also contains the Lacrimal Carnucle. This is the small pink section present in the corner of our eye. Lacrimal Carnucle is made of glands secreting oils for keeping the eye moist and protecting the eye against bacteria.
Itchy eyes are also known as Occular Pruritis. Infections, allergies, and various other causes can trigger itchy eyes.
Causes of Itchy Eyes In The Corner:
Most conditions that result in the itchy eyes in the corner are not serious enough to affect our vision or have any long-term effect on eye health.
However, certain causes of itchy eyes like Blepharitis or inflammation of the eye can be problematic as flare-ups tend to recur quite often. In certain cases, there might be itchiness in the inner corners of the eyes or the outer corners of the eyes.
Our glands produce tears that help to moisten the eyes and keep them healthy. But, when there are not enough tears for keeping our eyes moist, we can experience itchy and dry eyes, especially in the corners of the eyes.
As we get older, dry eyes become more common. This is because our tear glands produce fewer tears with age. Other triggers for dry eye include cold and windy winter, improper use of contact lens, medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, and lupus; some medications like diuretics, birth control pills, and antihistamines.
Dry eye disease is also known as “Dysfunctional tear syndrome”, which means someone’s tears do not keep their eyes lubricated enough.
Apart from itchy or dry eyes, some other common symptoms of dry eye disease include a feeling of having something in the eye, a burning sensation in your eyes, a “gritty” feeling in the eyes, excessive watering, and blurred vision.
Pink eyes are also known as Conjunctivitis. This condition develops when something has irritated the front of your eyes or the conjunctiva. Symptoms of pink eyes or conjunctivitis include red eyes, itchy eyes, teary eyes, swollen eyelids, and mucus discharge.
There are multiple causes for pink eye. As per the AAO or American Academy of Ophthalmology, the 3 primary types of pink eye are Allergic conjunctivitis, Viral conjunctivitis, and Bacterial conjunctivitis.(1)
Allergic Conjunctivitis: Allergic conjunctivitis happens when an irritant gets into your eye and results in swelling or inflammation in the conjunctiva. Though Allergic conjunctivitis is uncomfortable, it is not dangerous. Pollen, animal hair, mold, dust mite feces are some of the allergens.
Viral Conjunctivitis: Viral conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, which means that it spreads easily from one person to another. This will generally go away on its own; however, there are some steps that one can take to ease the symptoms. These steps might include avoiding touching or rubbing your eyes, placing a clean and wet washcloth over your closed eyes to soothe the itchy eyes, and taking rest.
Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Bacterial conjunctivitis is extremely contagious. The bacteria that cause bacterial conjunctivitis can be the same as those that result in strep throat.
In the case of bacterial conjunctivitis, sometimes there is little or no discharge from the infected eyes. Children are most likely to get bacterial conjunctivitis because they are in very close contact with others and might not wash their hands frequently.
Allergies trigger an inflammatory response in our body, which can cause a range of symptoms including puffiness, itchiness, redness, watery discharge, and a burning sensation in the eyes.
Symptoms of an allergy can affect not just the corners of your eyes, but also the entire eye, which includes your eyelids. Allergens that can cause irritation in the eyes can come from pollen, mold, dust mites, or pet dander. There might also be airborne irritants, such as diesel engine exhaust and cigarette smoke.
Tear Duct Infection Or Dacryocystitis:
Tear duct infection or Dacryocystitis could be one more cause for itchy eyes in the corner. This is the condition when your tear drainage system gets infected. A blocked drainage system can happen if there is any trauma to the nose or if there is the formation of nasal polyps.
Infants having very narrow lacrimal ducts can sometimes experience blockage and infections. However, as children grow, such types of complications becomes rare.
In the case of Dacryocystitis or tear duct infection, the corner of your eyes can feel painful and itchy. You might also have discharge from the eyes’ corners and also have a fever sometimes.
Another inflammation of the eye is Blepharitis. This is an inflammation of the eyelids. Anterior blepharitis is the condition when the outer part of the eyelid gets inflamed. This is caused because of staphylococcus or other types of bacteria.
Posterior blepharitis is the condition when the inner eyelids are inflamed. Usually, the cause of posterior blepharitis are problems with the Meibomian gland and skin issues like rosacea or dandruff.
In case of blepharitis, there might be swelling and soreness of eyelids, and also redness and itchiness in the corner of your eyes.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction:
Another cause of itchy eyes in the corner could be Meibomian gland dysfunction. MGD or Meibomian gland dysfunction occurs when the gland producing the oily layer of tears does not work properly. These glands are present in the lower and upper eyelids. When they are not producing enough oil, your eyes can dry out.
One might feel itchiness in the eyes along with dryness, swelling, and soreness. The affected eyes might also become watery and thus result in blurry vision.
Broken Blood Vessel:
A broken blood vessel can also cause itchy eyes in the corner. When one of the blood vessels in your eyes break, it is known as a Subconjunctival hemorrhage.
Apart from causing a bright red spot appearing on the white part of your eye, your eyes might also feel itchy or if there is something that was irritating your eyelid. Whenever hemorrhage occurs, these symptoms will be felt in the eyes, whether in the corner or elsewhere in the eye.
Something In The Eyes:
You might also have itchy eyes in the corner if there is something in the eye, maybe a speck of dust or sand or an eyelash that is caught under the eyelids or in the corner of your eyes. This can block a tear duct temporarily.
Sometimes contact lenses can help in improving vision, but they can also cause several eye problems. Wearing contact lenses for too long or not sanitizing them can result in a dry eye to a bacterial infection. You might feel itchiness in the corner of your eyes if the lenses interfere with the production of the tear.
You can also feel eye fatigue and the sensation that something is still in the eyes even after you have removed your contact lenses.
Treatment For Itchy Eyes In The Corner:
Treatment For Itchy Eyes in the Corner Caused Due to Dry Eyes:
Some people with dry eye disease can have a chronic condition, which means that there would be no cure for their condition or, treating it might be difficult or might take longer. However, many people with a mild condition can treat or manage their dry eyes and itchy eyes.
For treating itchy eyes in the corner caused due to dry eyes, you can try using prescription-strength eye drops, which would help you in producing more tears and reduce inflammation around your eyes. There are also artificial tear solutions for such conditions. These artificial tears are available in chemist shops. It has been recommended by The American Optometric Association that people should use preservative-free products.(2)
Some people might have a chronic dry eye disease, where their tear ducts might be temporarily blocked. In such cases, tears no longer drain away and, their eyes remain lubricated for a long time. Doctors might use removable silicone or gel plugs for blocking the tear ducts. In more severe cases, doctors might suggest a surgical procedure to close the tear ducts permanently.
Treatment For Itchy Eyes in the Corner Caused Due to Pink Eyes Or Conjunctivitis:
People having allergic conjunctivitis have various treatment options to relieve the itchiness in and around their eyes. These treatments include antihistamine pills and medicated eye drops. Medicated eye drops can help in diluting the allergens that might be irritating your eye. Ketotifen, which is an antihistamine is an active ingredient in these medicated eye drops. OTC or over-the-counter products like Loratadine(Claritin), Fexofenadine (Allegra), and Cetrizine (Zyrtec) can provide you relief.
In the case of viral conjunctivitis, you should prevent the spread of the virus by avoiding sharing towels with others and by washing your hands properly before touching your face.
To treat bacterial conjunctivitis, your doctor might prescribe antibiotic eye drops, which depends on the severity of your symptoms. You should wash your hands frequently, avoid sharing towels with others, avoid being in close contact with someone having conjunctivitis, and cleaning your contact lenses thoroughly, to prevent the spread and reduce your chances of contracting bacterial conjunctivitis.
Treatment For Itchy Eyes in the Corner Caused Due to Tear Duct Infection:
Dacryocystitis or a tear duct infection can result in itching in the corner of your eyes. When a tear duct gets blocked and tears cannot drain away, bacteria might collect in the area and result in an infection. Sinus infection or inflammation from a cold might result in a blocked tear duct.
Treating a tear duct infection or Dacryocystitis includes taking antibiotics for clearing the infection. The condition might get worse if it is not treated. Some people with a tear duct infection might require surgery, where the surgeon would make the narrowed or blocked drainage canal in the tear duct, quite wider.
Home & Natural Remedies For Itchy Eyes In The Corner:
When your experience mild itchy eyes in the corner, you can try some simple home remedies that would make you feel better from the itchiness of the corner of your eyes.
Use Cold And Hot Compress: Using a cold and hot compress on your eyes can help in treating itchy eyes in the corner. A damp, cold compress across the closed eyes can help to soothe the itchiness.
Effective treatment for Blepharitis or Meibomian gland dysfunction( MGD) could be holding a damp warm compress on your closed eyes.
Use Artificial Tears: Sometimes you can get relief from the itchiness of dry eyes by using an OTC eye drop known as artificial tears.
Use Tea Bags: You can also use tea bags to get rid of itchy eyes in the corner or elsewhere in the eye. For this, take 2 normal tea bags and steep them as if you were making tea. Now, squeeze most of the liquid from the tea bags and place them on your closed eyes for 20 to 30 minutes. This would help in providing some relief from the itchiness.
When To Consult With A Doctor?
You should know when to consult with your doctor if you have itchy eyes in the corner. You probably do not require visiting a doctor if your itchy or dry eyes are easily treated with eye drops or cold and hot compresses. However, if the itchiness in your eyes is accompanied by puffiness or discharge from the eyes, you should consult with your doctor immediately. You might require antibiotics or other means of the treatments suggested by your doctor.
Minor cases of itchy eyes in the corner or elsewhere in the eye can be generally treated at home. However, severe cases of itchiness in the eyes require a doctor’s visit. You should also consult with your doctor if you experience repeated episodes of itchy, swollen, or red eyes. An ophthalmologist or optometrist can help you with this. Usually, most cases of itchy eyes are minor. However, eye infections that begin with minor symptoms can cause more serious health issues if not treated properly.