Clinic: 319-362-3937
Optical: 319-366-2020

Irritated Eyes

Iowa Eye Center Ophthalmologist Dr. Puk on the cause and treatment for irritated eyes.

A common request for office visits is irritated eyes. Some might refer to this as “dry eyes”. Your eyes may feel scratchy or irritated, or as the day goes on your vision gets blurry. You’re not alone and irritated eyes can be successfully treated.

Start with an eye exam

During your exam, we will take a complete history which will help us determine a diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan. Irritated eyes is typically caused by one of three conditions.

Dry eye syndrome

If your eyes tend to feel worse as the day goes on, this is likely dry-eye syndrome. Your eyes are not producing enough “tears” to properly lubricate the eye. Lubricating drops (artificial tears) can be an effective path of treatment.


If you wake up in the morning, and your vision is already blurry – this could be blepharitis, or an inflamed eyelid. Usually this is caused by blocked oil glands in your eyelid, or not enough of the right type of lubrication. Treatment can be as simple as applying hot compresses and using a lubricating eye drop. More advanced cases may require an antibiotic.


If your symptoms are more seasonal than time-of-day, then it’s possible the cause is allergies. Avoiding the environment would be easy, if not for the fact we live in Iowa. Antihistamines, either over-the-counter or prescription, will often do the trick. Ask your ophthalmologist.

Maintaining good eye health

Remember, your eyes shouldn’t be a source of discomfort. If your eyes are itchy, irritated or perhaps watery, a good first step is to call Iowa Eye Center to schedule an appointment with an experienced ophthalmologist. This avoids the delays of experimenting on your own, and could lead to faster relief. Call us at (319) 362-3937 or toll free at 1-800-362-3937.

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