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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
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Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Hi I have a recurring eyelid problem. It starts with the inner

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Hi I have a recurring eyelid problem. It starts with the inner corner of my left eyelidbeing red then over a number of days it crusts over, is red and swollen and then flakes off. Any ideas?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.
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Doctor DanB :

Hello. Thanks for your question. When this happens does your eye or do your eyelids itch significantly and is the eyeball itself significantly red when this happens?

Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

Hello. I'm still here. There are a couple of possibilities this could be.


1. This could represent allergies in the eyes. If there is intense eyeball or eyelid itching this may be from an allergic cause. Usually, however, there does tend to be at least some itching in the other eye. A history of seasonal allergies also lends support to this as a possible cause.


2. If there is a bump in the eyelid at any time during this sequence of events and the bump gets larger and then smaller again, this may be what is commonly called a stye, or hordeolum. This represents an oil gland in the eyelid which has clogged and has inflammation from spillover of its contents into the eyelid tissues. Intensive hot compresses (4x/day, 10 mins each time, as hot as you can tolerate without burning your skin, massaging the bump with the compress) usually will get these to resolve, although it can take as much as 3 weeks of doing it for it to resolve, but most do. For the ones that don't resolve after this, an in-office procedure to open them up and help them drain is appropriate. Occasionally the inflammtion from these gets so intense that an antibiotic/steroid combination medicine is helpful to reduce the inflammation.


If this is an allergic phenomenon, then cool compresses, artificial tears and an allergy drop (OTC Zaditor is a good one), can help with the itching. For the red, flaky, itching skin, 1% hydrocortisone ointment rubbed twice daily on the red, scaly part usually works well.


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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes the eyelid is itchy
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

If the eyelid is significantly then this does sound like allergies. Cold compresses (as much as you want) and artificial tears 4x/day will help the eye itself feel better. Also an antihistamine eye drop can help with eyeball itching. A prescription drop you can request of your doctor is Pataday or an over the counter drop is Zaditor, which works well.


As far as the eyelid itching, I would suggest starting a hydrocortisone ointment 1%, smeared over the affected area of the eyelid twice daily will help the itching and the redness, flaking and swelling to resolve.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the eyeball is not bothered at all. only the eyelid. and mostly ( 90%) of the time it is my left eye.
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.
Is there ever a bump on or in the eyelid associated with this?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no just red and flaky . it itches and is sometimes painful. I have crohn;s disease and lupus
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

This really does sound like what's called allergic dermatitis, or in other words a rash that has an allergic cause. Unfotunately, rashes on the face do tend to be a little more common in people who have Lupus.


I would start by using a cool, wet washcloth over that eye for several minutes, several times per day. In addition, the 1% hydrocortisone ointment smeared on the area two to three times per day can help that resolve. If that doesn't you may need a stronger steroid ointment like mometasone.


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