Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Includes Expert Content
    Itchy eye - possible allergic reaction
    Platypus22222 posted:

    About a week ago, my left eye suddenly started burning. I don't know what it was, but my guess is a piece of cat hair or dander, to which I have a minor allergic reaction. The pain subsided, but when I woke up the next morning, the eye was red, the eyelid was heavily swolen, and my eye was itchy. I used antihistamine eye drops, which relieved the symptoms, but they would return after a few hours. After a few days the swelling stopped, but the itchiness kept returning, albeit less frequently. I can deal with the intermittent (though decently intense) itchiness, but I don't know if I should see a doctor about this or if it's in the process of resolving itself.

    Before anyone asks, I don't think this is related to seasonal allergies or viral conjunctivitis because it's only the one eye and it had a very sudden onset. I also don't wear contact lenses or wear makeup and I can't think of anything else that could be irritating my eye. I've looked at my eye and I don't see anything obviously wrong in there, but it being my own eye, I could easily miss something.

    Alan M Kozarsky, MD responded:
    I am sorry you are having problems with your left eye.

    You are correct that when itching is the dominant symptom and not accompanied by discharge or pain or loss of vision, the cause is usually allergic. The use of artificial tears to dilute the allergen, over-the-counter anti allergy eye drops, Benadryl by mouth if medically permissible, and cold compresses can relieve allergic symptoms. Try to be a detective and think of what substance and by what means an substance causing the allergy could be delivered to your left eye. i.e. what could have been on your left hand and delivered to your left eye? Do you sleep on your left side? Sometimes you can be "chasing your tail" with the treatment of your initial symptoms causing the secondary allergic reaction.

    If this is caused by an allergic reaction and you are careful not to continue to deliver the allergic substance to that eye, you should get steadily better. All important is the trend. If you are not getting convincingly and steadily better then the allergic type symptoms could be misleading. In the absence of steady and sustained improvement, you do need to see an ophthalmologist.
    Platypus22222 replied to Alan M Kozarsky, MD's response:
    Thank you, Dr. Kozarsky. I think it was initially due to something relatively large (like a hair), meaning it took a while to get out of the eye, but also that it's less likely to get in again. My symptoms have already further improved over the last few days to the point that it barely itches at all anymore.

    I thought it wasn't anything to worry much about, but given how fragile eyes can be, I didn't want to take unncessary risks.

    Featuring Experts

    Alan Kozarsky, MD, is one of the leading corneal, cataract, and vision correction specialists in the country and was selected again this year by Atla...More

    Helpful Tips

    blurry eyes
    sometimes I experience blurred eyesight and shaking of my lower eye. do I have astigmatism and do I need to go to an eye doctor? More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.