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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I have this reacurring issue. The skin around my eyes swell

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I have this reacurring issue. The skin around my eyes swell become red, burn, itch When the swelling goes down they are really scaly I look like I am 100 years old. What is this?

Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?
Doctor DanB : This problem with the eyelid skin is called allergic dermatitis. First of all, it is important to control the body's overall response to allergens and this would include taking an oral antihistamine such as claritin or zyrtec which you can buy over-the-counter. Secondly, an allergy eye drop is esssential to start; a couple of over-the-counter brand names include Alaway or Zaditor and they both work fairly well. If you try these and it helps but is not quite enough, then you may do better with a prescription allergy drop called Pataday which works very well. I would also suggest getting some 1% hydrocortisone ointment (also OTC) and rubbing that on the affected skin areas (not in the eyes) twice daily. Lastly, cold compresses done several times/day can and will help the itching sensation and suppress the inflammation.Doing all of these things as directed, it still may take a few days before you notice a significant lessening of the redness and swelling, but the itching should start to respond to this quickly. Does that make sense?
Customer: Is this something internal that is going on or is this something external that is causing this. It's really frustrating. I can,t figure out
Doctor DanB : It is very likely something internal which is why it tends to need both the topical and systemic treatments I talked about.
Customer: Should I see an allergist? Is it something I ate?
Doctor DanB : It is almost always an environmental allergy, not a local or ingested allergy. I wouldn't necessarily jump to an allergist yet; if after a few days of doing these treatments you're not significantly better, then seeing the doctor would be the next step.
Doctor DanB : Do you have any other concerns or questions about this topic?   
Customer: I have had this issue a number of times.
Doctor DanB : Which speaks to the likelihood that you have systemic allergies.
Doctor DanB : Does that make sense?
Customer: What is a systemic allergy
Doctor DanB : Meaning a systemic (or system such as the immune system) reaction--in other words I think this eyelid reaction you're having is a localized process in response to your body (immune system) being allergic to something in your environment (molds, grass, trees, animals, dust mites, etc...). That is compared to somebody, let's say, who has a localized allergic reaction from one discrete substance (like a lotion or detergent).
Customer: I suppose I should see an allergist to figure out what I am allergic to, I order to avoid this from happening again.
Doctor DanB : Well, you could do that, but I will tell you many times it's next to possible to avoid the, let's say 10 things for example, that the allergist may find you're allergic to. Most of the time they will just tell you to start taking an oral antihistamine everyday such as what I recommended. A trip to the allergist can be frustrating because you may find our many things you're allergic to, only to realize that you can't possibly avoid them in your environment and just realize that you have to test them all the same anyway. That's why I say just to start with that treatment I recommended and if things get difficult to manage, then a trip to the allergist may become necessary.
Doctor DanB : Do you have any other concerns or questions about this topic?   
Customer: Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX you helped me figure out what might have triggered this. I have been weeding our flower gardens. I bet that is the problem. I have always had allergies but not on my skin. Have a nice night.
Doctor DanB : You too. Good luck. Your feedback is important to me and will help me improve my encounter with future customers.  If at any time you feel this process has been helpful, please rate your encounter with me by providing feedback; any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. This does not end our conversation, however-we can continue to discuss any of your concerns without further charges until you are satisfied.     My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.  Thanks for your inquiry! 
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