Why do my eyes feel dry, itchy, and hot?

woman with painful, hot, itchy dry eye

There’s a reason  your eyes feel dry, itchy, and hot

Hot, red or itchy eyes are the worst. It’s hard to escape from and it’s impossible to find lasting relief. We help people solve their challenging eye issues using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). From the TCM perspective the body is a delicate balance of Qi and Blood. This balance can be disrupted by poor nutrition, environmental toxins, stress, and genetics and a host of other factors. If there is a disruption in the body’s balance it can cause dry eyes, itchy eyes, low energy, insomnia, feelings of heat or cold, lack of libido/fertility, PMS, osteoporosis, anxiety, depression, muscle weakness and difficulty healing. Helping the body maintain a balance of Qi and Blood will positively affect all the systems in the body: digestive, endocrine, nervous, Musculo-skeletal, etc.

From the classic Chinese perspective every process that goes on in our body requires this balance. However each of us is unique and our bodies will show the imbalance in different ways, for instance one person whose Energy is negatively impacted will display memory issues, because the brain isn’t getting enough blood flow, while another person will manifest with vision challenges like poor vision, blurry vision, dry eyes, itchy eyes. Both can result when adequate blood flow doesn’t reach the head. This is why “one size fits all” prescriptions don’t work except for a small fraction of people. Each and every one of us are completely different systems, with different genetic makeup, different mental and physical benefits and detriments, and of course different emotions and spiritual lives. Chinese medicine recognizes this and take it into consideration. That is why we customize our solutions for each client that comes to us.

Now having said that there are some groupings of symptoms which we have noted over the years that we’ve devoted to studying this issue, you may notice that you hew closely to one or more of these groupings.


General Symptoms

Fatigue, Weight Challenges (losing or gaining), Temperature Difficulty (being too cold or too hot), Slow Healing.


Dry or Painful Eyes, Itchy or Grainy Eyes, Red Eyes, Screen Sensitivity, Declining Vision, Blurry Vision, Floaters.


Dry Skin, Dry Hair, Dry Nails.

Nervous System

Brain Fog, Poor Memory, Lack of Focus or Concentration, Insomnia.


Anxiety, Depression, Fight or Flight or Fawn, easily startled, negative self-talk.


Allergies, Asthma, Infections (toenails, skin, sinus, vaginal, bladder, bowel), Auto-Immune Conditions, Slow Healing, easy bruising.

Muscles and Skeleton

Hard to Exercise Due to Injuries, Many Aches and Pains especially Low Back and Knees, Carpal Tunnel/ Repetitive Use Issues, Weak Ligaments, Weak Stamina.


Low Libido, Lack of Erections, Menstrual Challenges, Infertility.


Shortness of breath, palpitations, heart feels “aflutter”, dizziness, light-headedness.


What Causes Itchy Eye Symptoms?

Groups of similar symptoms can be caused by different challenges in an individual’s system, which is why we take the mind, body and spirit into consideration when we work with someone. However, there are some general guidelines we can use to help you understand why your eyes have become itchy, painful, red, and tired. In our cells ATP molecules are stored as immediately-available energy. ATP stands for Adenosine Triphosphate which is formed when we take in fats, sugars and carbs. There are several things that can affect the way that our body creates ATP from those fats and sugars.

Thyroid Gland

The most obvious of these things is the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland and thyroid hormones are involved in this process. You see, we have thyroid hormone receptors on each and every cell in our body. Every single cell interfaces with the thyroid gland. You can see why we need a smooth flow of appropriate thyroid hormone to keep our cells filled with energy and to keep our bodies and brains operating at peak performance. If there isn’t an adequate amount of thyroid hormone in our bodies, then each and every cell will feel it and the results can be very challenging to the entire system.

Adrenal Gland

Next, If we are under a lot of stress then the adrenal glands can become involved. The adrenals, which sit on top of the kidneys, can tell the brain to produce less thyroid hormone because it needs to conserve energy to deal with all of the stressors. Our bodies are set up for an existence on a pleasant savannah where our days are spent gathering food and building community with our tribe. Only occasionally would a tiger leap from the forest or a hunt require a huge stress response from our endocrine system (adrenals). Now, however, we are constantly dealing with stress; commuting, caring for elders and children, intense workplace requirements, repairing and maintaining relationships with loved ones. These can all have the ability to be stressors that we aren’t evolutionarily set up to handle all at once.

External Stressors

In addition, we are faced with environmental stressors like xeno-estrogenic micro plastics in our food, pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified foods, fluoride in our water, heavy metals in the air, pharmaceuticals and mold/pollen/allergens to name a few. Our bodies must constantly fend off these stressors so they are in a constant state of adrenal over-activation, which results in lowered thyroid function which can signal the cells to conserve energy and not replace themselves as often or as efficiently as possible until the stress is over. And in our current world it’s never over.

How the Eyes Are Involved

The cellular machinery needed to repair the eyes, specific enzymes that control tear production and lubrication may also be restricted due to chemical interference such as toxins, lack of appropriate nutrition (vitamins and minerals) or early dissolution due to auto-immune disease or old viral damage and this can be the cause of the Qi/Blood imbalance.

Wrapping It All Up

Lastly, there can be other endocrine disruptions from growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen or progesterone. You may have one or more of these systemic-level challenges, contributing to your dry eyes. If you choose to ignore this and put a band-aid over the symptom (use eye drops) you may develop additional symptoms as the body’s entire system becomes more imbalanced. Our recommendation is to solve the root cause of the issue now, while it is still relatively minor. My experience, however, is that the majority of individuals choose a quick fix, which just invites complications and expense later on after the issue has grown into a more involved issue. The eyes can be seen as the canary in the coal mine, listen to the canary.

Delicate Balance of Thyroid and Adrenal

To restore the eyes to vibrant health, the underlying problems must be corrected. Toxic exposure, nutritional deficiency, food allergies, viral and auto-immune damage are all to come degree universal. If they go on long enough and are bad enough any one of these can overwhelm the body’s Qi and Blood balance and become the cause of eye issues, or worse. However, we can often solve the issue early by looking at the thyroid and adrenal challenges. The corrections described below relate to the most common causes we see, namely low adrenal and/or thyroid function leading to imbalanced Qi and Blood.

Before reading on, I would like to bring your attention to a key aspect of the relationship between the thyroid and the adrenal glands. How we appear physically, emotionally, spiritually is a manifestation of the relationship between the adrenals and the thyroid.

A low adrenal function can appear like an excessively high thyroid function, i.e. both may be thin, nervous, experience palpitations, appear pale, and have unstable body temperatures. A low thyroid function patient may appear as would a high adrenal function patient, i.e. heavier, red face, stable temperature, appear calm.

If low thyroid function is the only underlying cause the patient’s symptoms will typically be thin outer eyebrows, feeling cold, weight gain, red face, depression, heavy limbs, fatigue, high blood pressure, and low immunity. If simply poor adrenal function is the underlying cause of the patient’s symptoms will typically be full eyebrows, pale face, difficulty gaining weight (if severe), difficult losing weight (if moderate), anxiety, easily startled, insomnia and tired in the a.m., low blood pressure, allergies and auto-immunity issues.

Most patients have a mixture of the two, not one or the other. Over the 2,500 patients we have treated we have winnowed the process down to several tools that enable us to more easily diagnose the underlying pattern and differentiate the appropriate treatment. These tools and their recommendations, based on thousands of years of Chinese medical experience have been rigorously tested by generations of medical doctors before us, and they are incredibly useful.

What can I do about it?

Body System Analysis: a method for looking at a patient’s overall body symptoms to provide guidance on whether the adrenals or thyroid are involved or if it’s a mixture of the two.

Eyemmunity™ Questionnaire: a diagnostic questionnaire to determine which eye symptoms, glands and/or organs are involved. The answers to this help determine whether the challenge has an underlying endocrine or internal organ component or if the problem is surface level only.

How will it change things?

The tools above will give us an understanding of what needs to happen in order for your body to rebalance itself and for the eyes to recover and remain healthy. Considering that there are 8 stages to auto-immunity we don’t know exactly how long it will take to help your body recover. However we do know that if all the inputs to your body remain the same then eventually the symptoms will return or even get worse. We design custom packages and we work with clients hand-in-glove to guide them to change their lifestyle so that it supports healthy recovery and can maintain the change. This often requires changes to one or more of the following: nutrition, sleep, exercise, schedule, medicinals, mindset, and relationships. We can only accept a limited number of clients since this is a very personalized service. So if you are interested in becoming a client you should reach out to us sooner than later.

If this seems to be complicated, it can be. Many of our clients drop out of the treatment phase before the changes have had a chance to set in, and unfortunately that results in an endless array of eye-drops, antibiotics and surgeries/pharmaceuticals that prove expensive and not terribly effective. The basic idea is “garbage in, garbage out.” However, if you don’t know what is garbage and what is gold it can be difficult to make the appropriate changes to tilt yourself out of imbalance and into great health. We help discern which changes are gold for you, and only you.



This website is for informational purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative, or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to see the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

Skip to content