What do you do when you have itchy eyes? Usually people rub the affected eye/eyes, but this can make things worse. Itchy eyes, which is known as ocular pruritus in medical term, is usually accompanied by irritation, dryness and the sensation of dirt inside the eye. It may cause itchy eyelids, especially at the base of the eyelashes, red eyes or swollen eyelids. Itchy eyes may be caused by an irritating substance (called an allergen) — such as pollen, dust and animal dander — or eyestrain. An allergen triggers the release of compounds called histamines in the tissues around the eyes, which leads to itching, redness and swelling. Although itchy eyes usually disappear in a matter of hours, sometimes the discomfort can persist for several days. Over-the-counter artificial tears or allergy eye drops may help alleviate symptoms of itchy eyes. But there are also many effective home remedies for itchy eyes. Simply applying a clean, cold, damp washcloth over your closed eyes may work. Next time you experience itchy eyes, instead of rubbing your eyes, try these natural remedies to alleviate that annoying itching and burning in the eyes.