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What can I do to reduce eye irritation?

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

Try daily lid scrubs to improve your eye health. Lid scrubs simply involve gently rubbing the base of your eyelashes with a tear-free soap product to remove debris left from makeup and exfoliated skin, as well as bacteria. You can purchase jars of cotton rounds that have soap in them (similar to makeup removers) or here is a much less expensive alternative: baby shampoo.


Keep a bottle of no-tears shampoo in your shower. At the end of your shower, squeeze out the smallest drop that will come out, and gently massage your eyes at the bottom of the eyelashes for 20 or so seconds, then rinse. You may find that this simple daily maintenance keeps your eyes feeling much less irritated, which is an especially nice bonus for if you wear contacts or mascara.

To reduce eye irritation it is important to recognize what is causing your eye irritation in order to help treat it. Eye irritation may be caused by contact lenses, dry eyes, dust, a foreign object, allergies, and direct mechanical trauma. Here are some tips for reducing eye irritation from various causes:
  • For contact lenses, change the lenses as prescribed, clean them with appropriate cleanser and do not wear them longer than recommended. - For dry eyes, try saline tears.
  • If you are in a region or job where you are exposed to particulates or dust, it is important to wear eye protection.
  • If you have watery eyes, nasal congestion and are sneezing, possibly your irritated eyes are a sign of seasonal allergies, which can be treated with an antihistamine.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.