Itchy eyelids is a condition that each and every one may experience from time to time. There are many causes of this problem, and this condition often is accompanied by itchy eyes and also especially at the base of the eyelashes and red eyesores with swollen eyelids.
The medical term for itchy eyes is ocular pruritus. Here we will help you learn more about itchy eyelids and how you can get relief from the condition.
Why do I Have Itchy Eyelids?
Those disturbing eyelids can result from any condition that irritates, inflames or infects the eyelid. Allergies, infections, and even lack of sleep can cause your eyelids to itch. This type of a condition is commonly associated with other symptoms like redness, swelling, a gritty feeling in the eye, irritation, lumps or bumps, increased tear production, or discharge.
Allergies are the most common well known cause of itchy eyelids. Any allergy that affects your eyelid may result to a problem. This include an allergic reaction to eye makeup, or more generalized, such as hay fever. Allergies that involve the membrane lining the inside of your eyelids and covering the whites of the eyes are called allergic conjunctivitis.
Infections or inflammations of the eyelid margin, the area near your eyelashes, are also some of the causes of itchy eyelids. These problems range from blepharitis which is inflammation of the eyelid margin, chalazion or inflammation of a blocked oil gland in the eyelid margin, and stye or hordeolum (localized bacterial infection of an oil gland or eyelash follicle in the eyelid margin).
A number of these conditions that affect the eyelids are not a threat to your life or vision, and itchy eyelids usually get better on their own within a few days. You can reduce the itching as well, with use of cool compresses and over-the-counter antihistamines. What you should avoid is rubbing your eyes or scratching your eyelids, as it can lead to more irritation.
However, in very rare cases, itchy eyelids can be associated with anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. Because your eyes and vision are so important to your quality of life, be sure to contact your doctor if you have any eye symptoms that cause you concern. Also, you can seek immediate help if your condition’s symptoms are accompanied by more serious signs including sudden visual changes, difficulty breathing or wheezing, or sudden swelling of the face, lips and tongue.
Itchy Eyelids Causes
The skin of the eyelids is the thinnest of all the body skin, making the area highly vulnerable to irritations and inflammations. Eyelid irritation usually provokes itchiness, which can be intensely aggravating and potentially vision-endangering. Numerous disorders can cause eyelid itching, and this may include genetic and acquired skin conditions, allergies and infections.
Some causes of itchy eyelids are common skin disorders that quickly resolve on their own or with treatment. Other causes are chronic and require ongoing treatment to control the underlying disorder and minimize symptoms.
Common Causes of Eyelids Itch
This condition is described as an inflammatory skin reaction caused by direct contact with an inciting substance. It commonly affects the eyelids and is divided into allergic and irritant types. With allergic contact dermatitis, the provoking substance results in an allergic skin reaction. This can include airborne allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dust mite debris, mould spores and antibiotic ointments.
With irritant contact dermatitis, the triggering substance causes a non-allergic inflammatory skin reaction. Common causes may include perfumes, facial cosmetics, hair care products, artificial nails, nail polish and eye drops.
Some of the common symptoms of contact dermatitis of the eyelids include:
- Redness, itchiness and a fine scaly rash,
- Dark circles around the eyes can also occur.
Avoiding contact with substances that trigger eye allergies and irritation is the best way of managing this disorder. Also you can control the condition with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory eye drops which may prove useful in relieving the symptoms of itchy eyelids contact dermatitis.
Also known as hereditary eczema, refers to a chronic skin condition characterized by dry, scaly, intensely itchy skin patches caused by increased skin reactivity to substances in the environment. Eyelid involvement occurs commonly in people with atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis of the eyelids often causes inflammation of the outer and inner eyelids. The itching may be so intense that the front of the eye, or the cornea, becomes deformed due to persistent rubbing of the eyes.
Itchy eyelids due to atopic dermatitis are often accompanied by:
- Burning, redness,
- Mild swelling, excessive tearing and eye discharge.
- The eyelid skin might appear darker or lighter than the surrounding skin, and other areas of the skin typically also exhibit signs of eczema.
Treatment for this condition of the eyelids may involve use of a gentle moisturizer and topical medication. Corrective antihistamines might be recommended by a physician to control itchiness.
This can as well be referred to as chronic inflammation of the eyelids, and it is a frequent cause of eyelid itching. Some of the triggers of blepharitis include seborrheic dermatitis, staphylococcal infection and abnormal function of the oil glands of the eyelids. In addition to eyelid itching, common symptoms of blepharitis include:
- Eye dryness, redness and scratchiness
- excessive tearing and burning
- Flake-like crusts in the eyelashes that resemble dandruff.
Blepharitis is a chronic condition, which needs long-term management. Warm compresses and eyelid scrubs are some of the treatment for this condition. Oral or topical antibiotics as well, may also be used to control this disorder.
It is a chronic disorder characterized by redness and swelling of the skin. The face is the primary site for rosacea, but the ears, scalp, neck, back and chest may also be involved. Approximately half of those with rosacea have eye involvement, known as ocular rosacea. Symptoms may include:
- itchy eyelids, burning,
- excessive tearing, redness,
- scratchiness and eye discharge
- The surface of the eye may be involved with ocular rosacea, which leads to blurry vision.
Treatment for this condition often involves warm compresses, eyelid scrubs and extended treatment with oral antibiotics. Use of artificial tears can help relieve eye dryness, which often occurs with ocular rosacea.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Symptoms of conjunctivitis include red watery eyes, scratchy or itchy eyes, and a discharge from the eyes which can stick in the eyelashes. This discharge can be clear and watery or yellow/green. Conjunctivitis can be triggered by allergies, by contact with irritating chemicals, or by infections with either a virus or bacteria.
Treatment depends upon what type of conjunctivitis you have, a viral or a bacterial infection. Warm compresses can help ease discomfort regardless of cause. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor will most likely prescribe eye drops containing antibiotics.
Yellow plaques on the eyelids
Flat yellow patches over the upper or lower eyelids are called xanthelasma. Although these plaques are harmless, they indicate you have high cholesterol. See your health provider because you may be at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Making changes to your diet and taking medication may be recommended to reduce your cholesterol level and reduce your risk of serious problems in the future, although these may not improve the plaques. If you’re bothered by the appearance of the plaques, it may be possible for them to be surgically removed or treated with a laser.
These are just a few of the potential causes for itchy eyelids. You will need to check with your health provider about your particular symptoms. In my next post we will discuss the warning signs of skin cancer on the eyelid area and what you should look for as far as symptoms.
Itchy Eyelids at Night
To some people, experiencing eye problems at night is a normal condition. At some point, this can be a cause for worry. Itchy eyelids at night can be caused by any of the conditions we have discussed above. It is just that some of the conditions will have to show up at night when your eyes are experiencing dim light.
Protopic is a fairly potent immunosuppressive (tacrolimus) that works great for allergic dermatitis. Drooping eyelids can be caused by many things from myasthenia gravis to brow/eyelid ptosis. Swollen eyelids also have a big list of possibilities that cannot be ignored at any cost. In addition to the things already mentioned, thyroid problems can cause similar symptoms that are involved with itchy eyes.
In most cases you may find out that a Vitamin A – Anti Immune Suppressant may as well be the cause for your condition. It is until you have experienced the problem then you can’t really comment on the nature of it and it’s certainly not drooping eyelids. It is really painful and uncomfortable and very rare as even the medical people aren’t sure what causes it at night.
Red Itchy Eyelid one Eye only
The exact cause of eyelid inflammation cannot always be determined, but different factors may increase your risk of blepharitis. For example, you may have a higher risk if you also have dandruff on your scalp or eyebrows. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to makeup or other cosmetic products you have applied around your eye, triggering eyelid inflammation as we have discussed above.
When you have a red itchy eyelid on your eye, you may feel very uncomfortable and very irritating. Eyelid conditions are not normally that chronic, but when the eye starts to redden, you have to see your health provider. These aren’t the only possible causes. Other causes or risk factors for itchy eyelid on one eye include:
- having eyelash mites or lice
- bacterial infection
- medication side effects
- a malfunctioning oil gland
Types of eyelid inflammation
There are two types of eyelid inflammation: anterior and posterior.
- Anterior eye inflammationoccurs on the outside of your eye where your eyelashes are located. Dandruff on your eyebrows and allergic reactions in your eyes can cause anterior eyelid inflammation.
- Posterior eyelid inflammationoccurs on the inner corners of your eyes. A malfunctioning oil gland in your eyelash follicles usually causes this form of inflammation.
Itchy Eyelids Home Remedy
An itchy eyelid is a very common condition. The problem worsens in a high-polluted environment or during allergy season. As the name suggests, itching eyelids means an unpleasant itchy sensation in and around the eyes. The problem can be recurring for those who frequently touch or rub their eyes.
To get immediate relief, you can try some easy-to-follow natural treatments. Many of these remedies use readily available ingredients from your kitchen. However, in case the problem is severe or caused by an underlying condition then do consult your eye care professional. Health experts suggest finding out the cause of itchy eyelids so that you can get the corrective cure for the condition.
Applying cold compresses around the affected eyelid area can help you to get instant relief. The simplest way to do this is to soak a cloth in ice cold water and place it over your swollen eyes. Do this several times a day. Chamomile tea bags used as cold compresses can also help relieve itching eyes.
Simply put used chamomile tea bags in the refrigerator for half an hour. Place the chilled tea bags over the affected eye(s) for at least 10 minutes. Do this three to four times a day for fast recovery.
It has an anti-irritation properties that help in reducing inflammation, puffiness, swelling and irritation contributing to itchy eyes. Thoroughly wash a cucumber and cut it into thin slices. Refrigerate the slices for 15 to 20 minutes, and then put them over your eyes for at least 10 minutes.
Milk is also one of the popular home remedies for itchy eyelids and eyes as well. Dab a cotton ball in cold milk and rub it around the eyes. You can also place a cotton ball soaked in milk on the eyes as a compress for an instant cooling effect. Do this twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Pure rosewater is one of the most effective home remedies for itchy eyes. It is soothing and cooling for the eyes and helps clear them. It can be used in a couple of ways. Rinse your eyes with rosewater at least twice a day. You can also use rosewater as eye drops for instant relief. Put three drops of rosewater into the inflamed eye.
Water and Salt
Salt water is easily available and helpful in treating painful and itchy eyelids. When used as an eye rinse, the combination is good for irritated and inflamed eyes and helps wash away the debris collected in the eyes. Plus, salt being an antibacterial agent kills bacteria.
Make a natural eye wash by mixing a cup of distilled water with one teaspoon of salt. Boil the solution until the salt dissolves completely. Allow the solution to cool and then use it to flush the eyes. Repeat several times a day for two to three days.
Green tea has many health benefits including providing relief from itchy eyes. It soothes the eyes and has anti-inflammatory benefits. Make an eye wash by boiling two green tea bags in one cup of distilled water. Allow it to cool completely. Flush the eyes twice a day with the solution until your symptoms subside.
Cream for Itchy Eyelids
Washing your eyes and applying a warm compress can reduce inflammation at home. Depending on the severity of inflammation and whether your inflammation is caused by an infection, your doctor may recommend other treatments ranging from creams to oral drugs.
If you don’t have an infection, your doctor may prescribe steroids, eye drops, or creams that may help to reduce inflammation. Your doctor may also prescribe lubricating eye drops to stop irritation caused by dry eyes.
A course of antibiotics may effectively treat eyelid infections as well. Your health provider can prescribe antibiotic medication in pill, ointment, or liquid drop form. Doctors often prescribe drops when an infection spreads beyond the eyelid.
Potential complications of eyelid inflammation
Eyelash loss is a potential complication of eyelid inflammation. This is caused by scarring in the hair follicles, which can make your lashes grow incorrectly. Extensive scarring can also prevent eyelash growth. Common short-term complications of itchy eyelids include dry eyes and pink eye. Long-term complications may include:
- scarring on the eyelid
- a stye (an infected lump that appears on the base of your eyelashes)
- chronic pink eye
The oil glands on your eyelids can also become infected and blocked. This can cause an infection under your eyelids. An untreated eye infection can cause permanent eye damage and vision loss. Scarring under the eyelids can scratch the eye’s delicate surface and cause ulcers on your cornea, which is the clear, protective outer layer of your eyes.
How to Relieve Itchy Eyelids
To restore your eyelids you should first be aware of what it is that is irritating them and try to stay clear of this. Sometimes this is difficult to determine at first but keeping a journal of when your symptoms are strongest can be very helpful.
Then follow these recommendations to help relieve the itching, redness.
- Cleanse with warm water and use a mild,cleanser that is hypo-allergenic, fragrance free. It is important that it contain only natural ingredients filled with nutrients that will begin moisturizing your skin. Most soaps are extremely drying and irritating – this is NOT the result you are looking for.
- Next, in caring for your itchy eyelids, it is important to couple your skin care with a cream that is specially formulated for the delicate skin on the eyelid and face. It must be a fragrance free, all natural and deep moisturizing face cream.
- Use formulations with gentle, yet effective, preservatives such as antioxidants (vitamins C and E) and citrus seed extract that will promote better skin health.
Preventing eyelid inflammation
Eyelid inflammation can be uncomfortable, painful, and unsightly. Unfortunately, this condition isn’t always preventable, but you can take measures to reduce your risk of inflammation. Make sure you wash your face regularly with a corrective soap. This includes removing your eye and facial makeup before going to bed.
Don’t touch your eyes with dirty hands and don’t rub itchy eyelids. Rubbing your eyes can spread an existing infection. Also, have your eyelids checked if you notice pain, redness, or swelling. Controlling dandruff also helps reduce inflammation. You may need a prescription shampoo if you have severe dandruff. Ask your doctor for recommendations.
Itchy Eyelid Cure
Symptoms of itchy eyes sometimes can be alleviated with over-the-counter artificial tears or allergy eye drops. Although in numerous occasions, prescription eye drops or oral medications may be needed to provide relief. Some medications also may help you become less prone to attacks of itchy eyes in the future, especially if symptoms are due to seasonal allergies.
Applying a clean, cold, damp washcloth over your closed eyes also may help alleviate the severity of itchy eyes. The most effective itchy eyelids treatments are those that directly address the cause. For example, if your symptoms are associated with a dry eye condition, an allergy drop will be less effective for you than it will be for someone whose itchy eyes are due to seasonal allergies.
For this reason, consulting with your eye doctor can be very helpful to determine the most effective remedy for itchy eyes. Several different types of medications may help relieve ocular itching, but only your doctor will know which treatment or combination of treatments is most suitable for your particular needs. In some cases, itchy eyelids can be cured with artificial tears or allergy drops. But in others, you may also need an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory medication and/or special eyelid cleansing products.
Above all, though it’s tempting, don’t rub itchy eyes. Rubbing releases more histamines that make the itching worse. It’s also possible to cause a corneal abrasion by rubbing your eyes too vigorously or introduce bacteria to your eyes that can lead to an eye infection.
- Eyelid problems: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/eyelid-problems/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Itchy eyelids: http://www.healthcentral.com/skin-cancer/c/640929/128700/symptom/
- What itchy eyelids means: https://www.healthgrades.com/symptoms/itchy-eyelid
- Causes of itching eyelids: http://www.livestrong.com/article/162105-what-are-the-causes-of-itching-eyelids/