Itchy and uncomfortable eye lids may be due to dermatitis or irritated skin:
Eczema around the eye lids and how to reduce the itchy and stinging:
Eczema around the eye lids is fairly common and results in uncomfortable itchy eye lids. We see a singificant amount of eczema around the eye lids during a MECS appointment. The eczema is usually around the inner corners of the eye lids, towards the nose, by the tear drains. In severe cases it may extend towards the outer corners of the eye lids as well and even down to the cheeks.
The skin swells up and wrinkles due the the eczema, this in itself is uncomfortable and causes itchy eye lids. This is of course going to affect both eyes to some extend, discomfort in just one eye is very unlikely to be eczema.
To complicate matters, the tear drains are located in this area, towards the nose. As the skin swells and puckers it reduces the outflow of tears. The reduction in outflow tends to increase the overflow of tears, this is called epiphora. The salty tears then overflow and dry on the sensitive eczema skin. This is obviously going to cause further stinging and discomfort around the eyes.
Below is and eye with eczema in the nasal corners taken with my microscope. I have instilled a yellow / green dye and imaged the area with a blue light for best contrast. It shows the tear overflow very well:
So, what can you do to decrease the discomfort ?
First of all you should clean up the external parts of the eye lids, salty tears drying on the skin is going to irritate the skin and aggravate the eczema. Gently clean the skin surface with boiled cooled water using a cotton wool pad. Don’t use anything abrasive as that will irritate the skin further and and increase the dermatitis caused by the eczema.
Secondly you can safely use Double Base Flare Relief, Aveeno and Dermalex around the eyes. Perhaps you have already tried this on other areas around your body, if it works there, try it in small amounts around the eyes on the affected areas.
Further skin care and guidance on triggers for Eczema can be found on the web, this is advise from a Dermatologist.
What will make it worse ?
I have discussed the cause of overflow exarcebating eczema above, so adding more tears / fluid to your eyes is not going to help. That will only cause more overflow and more drying of fluid on the already sensitive skin.
Don’t start using baby shampoo or similar degreasing agents. With eczema the skin is already dry, so why remove what little oil there is left ? Your tears contain an oily layer, remove that with baby shampoo and the tears on your eyes will become even dryer and less comfortable still.
Historic advise has been to treat blepahritis with baby shampoo, this is not advisable any more. Baby shampoo may clean the deposits from your eye lids but it does not remove the underlying cause of the blepharitis. Furhtermore it is likely to remove essetial oils from your tear film resulting in dry eyes.
See this link here for the treatment of blepharitis.
Other prescribed medication:
If the eczema is particulary uncomfortable you may be tempted to use steroid cream around the eyes. Steroid cream may cause the skin to get thinner. However that is not the main danger, steroid cream so close to the eyes may increase the pressure in your eye. This increased pressure can lead to glaucoma and irreversable vision loss. If steroid cream is going to be used around the eyes careful supervison by a MECS Optometrist is needed. Please call us today for an early appointment.