Psoriasis - atopic eczema
Eczema Around The Eyes and Eyelids
When you develop dry and scaly skin near the eye, it may indicate that you have eczema. This dermatological condition is very common in the general population, with several types that present unique features. Risk factors of eczema include allergies, family history, environmental elements, and using makeup or moisturizers. While some forms of eczema last for a brief period of time, others may become chronic and persist for years. If you develop eczema around your eyes and eyelids, you should consult with your doctor, especially with severe dryness and scaling.In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for eczema that affects the eyes and eyelids.
The causes of eczema around the eyes
As we thoroughly discussed in our series about eczema, there are several risk factors of this condition, with no exact causes. Note that eczema is not contagious; therefore, you do not need to worry about infecting others or getting infected. Some factors that may trigger atopic eczema include:
Family history – if you have a family member with eczema or other types of allergies, you are more likely to develop this condition around your eyes and eyelids.
Environment – extreme temperatures and pollution are potential triggers of eczema.
Besides atopic eczema, contact eczema develops when your body comes in contact with an allergen, such as makeup, sunscreen, lotions, oils, soaps, nickel, dust, chlorine, fragrances, and humidity. Note that your eyes can react to a substance, leading to eczema around the eyes and eyelids. In some cases, your eyes may develop contact dermatitis after contacting a substance that you have used countless times.
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The signs and symptoms of eczema around the eyes
The eyes are vulnerable and sensitive to many triggers. The skin that covers them is thin with a suboptimal barrier to stop foreign bodies and allergens from entering inside. As a result, they may become inflamed, even when you do not have eczema in other parts of your body.
Some symptoms of eczema around the eyes and eyelids may include:
• Itchiness around the eye
• Dry, red skin
• Swollen skin
• Irritated eyes
• Burning sensation around the eyes
• Thickened skin
• Raised bumps
Additionally, people with atopic dermatitis may develop scaly patches around their eyes. Note that seborrheic dermatitis (another type of eczema) results in scales that flake off.
Treatment options for eczema around the eyes and eyelids
Treating eczema around the eyes and eyelids requires some level of caution. As we mentioned, the eyes are sensitive, which means treatments need to be compatible to avoid any adverse effects. With that said, the end goal of eczema therapy is to calm the affected area and eliminate the itching. For atopic eczema, the treatment starts with dampening inflammation and reducing the risk of flareups. You also need to avoid contact with the culprit agent that triggering your immune system. Fortunately, most cases of eczema around the eyes and eyelids subside after 2–8 weeks of therapy.
If you search online, you will find numerous home remedies that you can try. However, consulting your doctor before doing so is very important.
Here are some home remedies that may help with eczema around the eyes and eyelids:
• Apply a cold compress around your eyes to improve inflammation, itching, and swelling
• Apply Vaseline
• Use a thick moisturizer on the affected area.
• Control your exposure to environmental factors by using a humidifier
• Wash your hands before touching your eyes
• Wash your face with an unscented cleanser
• Trim your fingernails
• Do not apply makeup while the eczema is flaring
• Reduce your stress
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs
While you could get an OTC corticosteroid to treat itching caused by eczema, you may want to consult with your doctor first before using it around your eyes. Another class of drugs is the antihistamine family, which helps with allergies and reduces the itching and inflammation triggered by eczema.
More severe cases of eczema may require prescription drugs to prevent future flareups. While we have many options to treat eczema of the skin, some of them might not be suitable for your eyes. For instance, topical corticosteroids are often used to treat skin eczema; however, prescribing this treatment for too long may increase the risk of glaucoma – a devastating eye condition.
Here are some of the drugs that may get prescribed:
• Topical corticosteroids
• Oral corticosteroids
• Topical calcineurin inhibitors
• Ultraviolet light therapy
Eczema affecting the eyes and eyelids is a very common condition, especially in young children. Identifying the unique features of this condition makes the diagnosis and treatment more prompt. We hope that this article managed to shed some light on the basic aspects of eczema around the eyes and eyelids.
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Zac Hyde M.D.