Itchy eyelids – Causes and Treatment
Itchy eyelids can be bothersome and cause a lot of discomfort. The eyes are delicate organs that can be easily harmed. Itchy eyelids are generally accompanied by swelling and can be caused due to a variety of factors such as eczema, eye stye, sunburns, etc. Each of these conditions in turn have different causes and different treatments.
Causes of itchy eyelids
Some of the common causes of itchy eyelids and its associated symptoms and treatment are discussed below.
- It is an ocular infection that commonly affects children, though adults can also suffer from it. Conjunctivitis can cause itchy eyelids, watery eyes, swelling, and occasional discharge from the eyes along with burning or stinging sensations. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis is very contagious, while allergic pink eye is not.
- Patients need to consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with antibiotic eye drops, while viral pink eye disappears on its own. Allergic conjunctivitis can be managed by avoiding exposure to allergens and alleviating associated pain and itchiness via damp, cool compresses. Self-care measures for viral and bacterial conjunctivitis include avoiding contamination by keeping the hands clean and not rubbing the eyes, and use of warm compresses.
- It is one of the most common causes of itchy eyelids. Eczema is a skin condition that often results due to an allergic reaction. It can occur all over the body. Eczema that affects other parts of the body can usually be tolerated. However, eczema of the eyelids can be very discomforting as the eyelid skin is very thin. The itchiness may provoke patients to rub their eyes which can cause eyeball irritation and even result in dangerous ocular infections.
- In case moisturizers do not help resolve eczema of the skin, then the doctor may prescribe topical medications.
- It is a common eye disorder that is characterized by eyelid inflammation, itchiness, and redness. About five percent of all cases of itchy eyelids are due to blepharitis. Even though the disease can affect all, it is usually observed in people over 50 years old.
- In addition to itchy eyelids, patients may experience crusting in the eyelashes, stinging and burning sensations in the eyes, and ocular soreness. Blepharitis may be caused due to a bacterial infection, or it may be a symptom of other diseases like rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis. It is not contagious, but can be recurrent or chronic.
- There is no permanent cure. However, ocular hygiene on a daily basis can decrease the signs. Antibiotic therapy may be needed for serious cases.
- Itchy eyelids can also be caused due to seasonal allergies or due to the entry of allergens or irritants into the eye. Additional symptoms include watery eyes, eyelid puffiness, and watery eyes. While individuals may suffer from allergic reactions to dust mites or mold all year round, seasonal allergies generally occur during fall and spring.
- Treatment include self-care measures like keeping the hands clean and avoiding rubbing the eyes. Saline rinses, eye drops, or artificial tears can help remove the irritants from the eyes. Non-prescription oral antihistamines and application of damp cold compresses can be used to alleviate the itchiness. Try to stay in air-conditioned environments during the pollen season and wear sunglasses to prevent entry of allergens into the eyes.
- It is caused due to a bacterial infection or inflammation of an oil gland located on the borders of an eyelid and identified by the presence of a pimple-like, tender bump on the eyelid. Styes generally form over some days and disappear without treatment.
- Eye styes can also grow and cause vision problems, eventually leading to development of a chalazion that completely blocks vision. Patients may experience itchy eyelids, elevated photosensitivity, sensations of grittiness or presence of foreign matter in the eye, eyelid tenderness, and tearing.
- In case of infected styes, a doctor may drain it and prescribe topical antibiotics. Home remedies include use of warm compresses.People affected by mild cases of styes should let it drain on its own and avoid squeezing it. Do not use any eye make-up or contact lenses till the stye completely heals.
- It is a known fact that prolonged stays out in the sun can cause sunburns on the body. It may be noted that the eyes can also get sunburned. Excessive contact with UV rays can result in itchy eyelids, dryness, red eyes, photosensitivity, and tearing.
- Individuals can protect the eyes from the harmful effects of UV rays by wearing contact lenses or sunglasses with UV safeguards, sun hats, and lotions and creams with correct SPF. Keep the eyes clean and drink lots of water and other fluids.
- There are several other uncommon conditions and causes which can result in itchy eyelids, including actinic keratosis, meibomitis, seborrheic keratosis, non-malignant growths or warts on eyelids, and use of damaged or dirty contact lenses, etc.
Self-care measures generally resolve most cases of itchy eyelids. Consult a doctor if the symptoms persists for more than a few days.