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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11360
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I am 50 years old have had this problem for over six-seven

Customer Question

I am 50 years old have had this problem for over six-seven years off and on, probably six to seven times a year and no specific time of year, although it seems to be worse in the summer months. My MD says I'm allergic to something and I take Allegra occassionally. It only affects by eye lids and tissue below the eye. They swell up and get very red, itch, burn, my eyes water. After a few days the swelling goes down, then they peel and are very dry and wrinkled looking for a couple of weeks and then they heal up. It seems to come on over night. They may be itching some the day before or before bed time and when I get up the next morning one or both are swelled up. And by the next day they are both swelled up. I have tried eliminating different hair and make up products, dryer sheets, etc and none of this has worked. I wash my hands after I handle animals, cleaning products, husband's dirty laundry, etc. I talked with a friend today at the "beauty shop" and she said she had experienced a similiar problem and her eye doc said it was dry eye, which I do suffer from. Could this be causing my symptoms? I'm am so frustrated with this and would like to find an answer to my problem.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 6 years ago.
Dr. Rick : Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
Dr. Rick :

That could contributing to your issues. You may also be suffering from a number of things all at once.

Dr. Rick :

Well It sounds like you have a couple of things going on. First is allergies, second dry eyes and third blepharitis.

When it comes to allergies it is almost impossible to pin down the offending agent(s) and, therefore, treatment needs to focus on controlling the symptoms. Dry eyes are very common and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production, if this doesn’t work then you can try temporary punctal occlusion of the lower puncta, then, if needed, temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta then, if indicated, surgical ( non-reversible) closure of the puncta. The openings to your tear drainage system are called puncta and you have one opening on each lid, near your nose.

Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk. You may not be able to see this “gunk” yourself, unless it is really bad, but it shows up clearly on slit lamp examination.

The best treatment for this condition daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on your eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.

Baby shampoo lid scrubs will also help to wash away allergens and stimulate tear production, thereby addressing all three of your issues. Remember, this is not an instant fix. While you are waiting for the lid scrubs to have affect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or Zyrtec.

Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just not get better in 3 weeks or so you should have a complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist to look for other, less common, causes of your symptoms

Dr. Rick :

Another thought that comes to mind is eczema. If this is the case getting out in the sun will help as will a mild steroid cream such as 1% hydrocortazone cream.

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Dr. Rick :

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Dr. Rick :

I see you were in the chat room for a second.....

Dr. Rick :

I guess you have stepped away from your computer.

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 6 years ago.
Let me know if there are there any other concerns or issues you would like to discuss on this topic.
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I neglected to mention that I have tried cortisone cream and it seems to irritate it more. When I'm having one of these episodes as I am today, the sun seems to irritate it more also. I'm an avid walker and I always wear my sunglasses and visor because of the lids being sensitive to the sun also. Not making this easy, am I?
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 6 years ago.
That's ok. Life is rarely easy :)
Try the other stuff I mentioned and hopefully that will help
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 6 years ago.
Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.