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Dry weather and other things can wreak havoc on your eyes. When they’re bothering you, it’s important to find relief quickly.

Here are some things that might be bothering your eyes, plus ways to fix them. And if these tips don’t help, check with your doctor.

Allergens and Irritants

If it’s allergy season, or you’re allergic to your new partner’s pet, your eyes may let you know it. Itching, watering, swelling, and redness are signs of allergic conjunctivitis -- inflammation of the membrane that covers the whites of your eyes. Sometimes this happens along with nasal allergy symptoms.

Solution: Try over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops or allergy pills. A cool compress may soothe the itching.

Other things that can make your eyes red and itchy include tobacco smoke, chlorinated pool water, and even the air around indoor pools.

Solution: Rinse your eyes with clean, warm water, and use artificial tears to soothe them.

Foreign objects: Sand, dirt, and sawdust can make you weepy. They can also scratch your cornea, the clear covering over the front of your eye. Symptoms include pain (which may be worse when you open or shut your eye), redness, watering, and sensitivity to light.

Solution: If something feels stuck in your eye, you can try to flush it out with water, but don’t touch your eye or try to remove the object. Keep your eye closed as much as possible and go to the eye doctor or the emergency room immediately.

Your contacts can also irritate your cornea if you don’t take good care of them. And over the long term, wearing contacts can make your eyes dry.

Solution: Make sure you disinfect your contact lenses and replace them exactly as you were instructed. If your eyes are dry, talk to your eye doctor about wearing a different type of lens or wearing them less often.


Red, itchy pinkeye is a form of conjunctivitis caused by a virus or bacteria. Your eyes may produce a sticky or ropy discharge and your eyelids may crust over. Pinkeye usually starts in one eye and can spread to the other. And you can spread it to other people.