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What’s that Itch?

If your eyes are red and watery as well as itchy, you can probably blame allergic conjunctivitis—a reaction to irritants like mold, dust, pet dander, or pollen. The symptoms can wax and wane, says Michigan-based ophthalmologist Steven Shanbom, MD. When they crop up, get away from the trigger if possible, and use OTC antihistamines (oral or drops) or ask your doc about Rx drops. If you wear extended- wear contacts, it may help to switch to dailies: “Contacts build up protein deposits, and some people can become allergic to that,” says Dr. Shanbom.

Eyes more gritty than itchy? That could mean dry eye, a condition in which your eyes don’t get enough moisture. Try using artificial tears. Severe cases may require Rx drops. But whatever you do, don’t ignore dry eye: Serious cases left untreated can lead to scarring and vision loss.

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