Allergy Symptoms: Itchy Eyes



What causes itchy, watery eyes?

If you’re experiencing dry and itchy eyes, there are a few different reasons why this might be the case – from troublesome contact lenses, to spending too much time staring at the computer screen or in dry, over- or under-heated environments, or even lifestyle habits like smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol.i

But if your eyes are itchy, watery and red, there is one very likely cause at play: you have an allergy.

Red, watery and itchy eyes are a common symptom of hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) and other allergies, including pet or mould allergies.ii, iii

To help understand whether or not an allergy may be the cause of your itchy, watery eyes, it’s useful to check if they are also accompanied by some of these common allergy symptoms:i, ii, iii, iv

  • Itchy eyes or throat
  • Sneezing
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Headaches and/or blocked sinuses
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Post-nasal drip (mucus running down the back of the throat)

People who have asthma may also:iii, iv,

  • Experience shortness of breath
  • Have a tight feeling in the chest
  • Wheeze and/or cough

Of course, some of these allergy symptoms are also shared by the common cold or the flu. If you’re not sure whether your symptoms are likely to be caused by allergies or illness, check out our simple SymptomCheck comparison table.

If you think you may have an allergy, or you are concerned about any symptoms you are experiencing, consult a pharmacist, the NHS website or your GP for advice. If your symptoms are severe and you need help urgently, call the NHS 111 helpline.


Why do allergies cause itchy eyes?

Allergies like hay fever (which is an allergy to pollen), pet, dust or mould allergies are triggered when your body comes into contact with an irritant (or ‘allergen’).

If you have an allergy, your body’s immune system will mistakenly react to that particular substance as if it is harmful, and release a chemical called histamine to help combat it.v, vi This histamine release is what causes your allergy symptoms.

In the case of itchy, watery eyes, they are often the body’s natural response to a pollen allergy – helping to wash the irritant out of the eyes.vii

Treatment for itchy, red, watery eyes

Allergy sufferers will know all-too-well how frustrating and uncomfortable itchy, watery eyes can be. Thankfully, treatment options are readily available, to help you get back to feeling like you again.

You can get relief from itchy, watery eyes and other allergy symptoms by using a nasal spray like Pirinase Allergy.

It may surprise you to learn that nasal sprays don’t just tackle nasal symptoms. In fact, a nasal spray like Pirinase Allergy is designed to help combat a range of symptoms caused by airborne allergies for up to 24 hours – including itchy, watery eyes and that blocked up feeling that allergies can bring. It also helps relieve sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion.

Or, if you know hay fever is the culprit behind your symptoms, try Pirinase Hayfever, which provides effective relief against all major hay fever symptoms.

There’s also a wide range of eye drops available over the counter at your local pharmacy that are designed to help relieve itchy, watery eyes caused by hay fever and other allergies. Speak to a pharmacist about whether eye drops could be right for you.

When should you start treatment for itchy, watery eyes?

You can start using an allergy treatment like Pirinase as soon as your symptoms begin – or, if you know the time of year that your symptoms usually flare up (like during pollen season), you can even start treatment with Pirinase Allergy nasal spray a few days in advance to help prevent symptoms from developing.

Find Pirinase Nasal Sprays at your local pharmacy or in the healthcare aisle of your supermarket along with the rest of the Piri Allergy product range for allergy symptom relief – including tablets, syrups and a 100% natural daily nasal wash that washes away trapped airborne allergens such as dust and pollen in 3 seconds.*

*Up to 49% of dust washed away in an artificial nose/laboratory model.

Sources: Clicking any of the links below takes you to an external website that is independently operated and not managed by GSK. GSK assumes no responsibility for the content on the website. If you do not wish to leave this website, do not click on the links below.

  1. Dry eyes. NHS. Accessed 21/01/21.
  2. Pet allergy. American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. Accessed 21/01/21.
  3. Mold allergy. American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. Accessed 20/01/21.
  4. Hay fever. NHS. Accessed 20/01/21.
  5. Allergies. NHS. Accessed 20/01/21.
  6. Food allergy causes. NHS. Accessed 20/01/21.
  7. Hay fever. Moorfields NHS. Accessed 20/01/21.