Puffy itchy eyelids can be very troublesome. The eyes are very sensitive, and swelling in any part in or around it can cause a lot of discomfort. Itchy and swollen eyelids can result from various factors and treatments may vary. Here are some reasons why people have puffy itchy eyelids and their treatment options.
Conditions that cause puffy itchy eyelids
There are various conditions that can lead to swollen and itchy eyelids. These include the following:
1. Blepharitis (Eyelid Inflammation)
Blepharitis or inflammation of the eyelids is a common condition that can cause redness and swelling of the eyelids. About one in twenty eye problems seen by general practitioners consist of puffy itchy eyelids due to blepharitis. It is common in adults aged 50 and above, although it is seen at any age.
Accompanying symptoms include burning, stinging or soreness in the eyes and crusting in the eyelashes. The infection may be caused by bacteria, or it may be secondary to seborrheic dermatitis (an itchy skin rash) or rosacea (a condition characterized by a red, blotchy face). Blepharitis is not contagious but it is a chronic or recurrent condition.
There is no permanent cure for this condition, but having a daily eye hygiene routine can reduce the symptoms. In severe cases, antibiotics may be required.
2. Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
An eye infection or conjunctivitis often manifests in kids as a pink eye. However, the condition can affect adults as well. It is characterized by itching, swelling, watery eyes, with some stinging or burning pain and eye discharge. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious but bacterial or viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious.
It is best to see a doctor for advice on treatment. Meanwhile you should avoid rubbing your eyes and make sure that you wash your hands to avoid contamination. You can relieve the itching and pain on the eyes due to allergic conjunctivitis by using a cool, damp compress over the eyelids. Treatment of allergic conjunctivitis involves management of your allergy. Antibiotic medication, in the form of eye drops, is usually effective for treating bacterial conjunctivitis. However, viral conjunctivitis goes away on its own, although some doctors prescribe mild antibiotic eye drops to prevent bacterial infection. You can relieve the itchiness associated with viral/bacterial conjunctivitis by applying a warm compress to your eyelids.
3. Eye Stye
An eye stye is an eyelid bump caused by an inflammation or bacterial infection of an oil gland on the edge of the eyelid. It appears like a pimple and is often tender to touch. Styes often develop over a few days and may heal on their own. However, they may also enlarge and cause trouble with vision or become fully blocked, developing into a chalazion. Other accompanying symptoms include gritty, foreign body sensation in the eye, increased sensitivity to light, tearing and tenderness in the eyelid.
To treat the stye at home, apply a warm, damp cloth to the eyelid for ten minutes about four times a day. Do not squeeze a stye. It will drain on its own. Avoid using contact lenses or eye make-up until the stye has healed. If infected, the doctor may prescribe a topical antibiotic and drain the stye.
One of the common causes of puffy itchy eyelids is eczema, a skin disorder that is thought to result from an allergy, and can affect any part of the body, including the eyelids. While an outbreak may be tolerable on other parts of the body, symptoms when the eyelids are affected are often intolerable. Because the skin on the eyelid is thin and very sensitive to irritants, eczema may cause you to rub the eyelids, which can irritate the eyeball. This can result in an eye infection, which is dangerous.
Moisturizers can protect the skin from eczema, and if these are ineffective, a topical medication may be applied.
5. Eye Allergies
Seasonal allergies can affect the eyes and cause puffy itch eyelids. It can also be brought about when some irritant or allergen enters the eye. Symptoms include itchy red eyes, watery eyes and puffy eyelids. Seasonal allergy problems may occur in spring and fall, although many people experience allergies all year round because of molds or dust mites.
To avoid those eye allergy symptoms, wash your hands as frequently as possible and keep them from rubbing the eyes. You can apply a cold, damp compress over the closed eyelids or take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine. Over-the-counter eye drops, artificial tears and saline rinses are used to rinse out allergens from the eyes. Eye drops which block histamine and shrink the eye blood vessels are likewise available, but they must be used sparingly, avoiding overuse since these can irritate your eyes more.
Close your house and car windows and put on the air condition during the pollen season. Try to stay indoors especially when the wind carrying pollen is blowing during mornings and evenings. Wearing sunglasses or your regular glasses can prevent dust and pollen from entering your eyes.
Staying out too long under the sun can get not only the body, but the eyes sunburned too. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause dry, itchy eyes, tearing, red eyes, and increased sensitivity to light.
To avoid sunburn in the eyes, protect the eyes by wearing caps or sun hats, UV sun glasses and contact lenses with UV protection. Protect the skin with creams and lotions containing appropriate SPF. Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. Wash the eyes with clean water.
7. Other Conditions
Other disorders which may lead to puffy itchy eyelids include seborrheic keratosis, an itchy outgrowth coming from the eyelid that needs surgical removal; actinic keratosis, a skin lesion caused by UV light from sun exposure; and warts, harmless outgrowths on the skin caused by a virus, which need surgical removal to relieve irritation on the eyelids.
The eyes are sensitive organs and are vulnerable to injury which can lead to complications. If you have puffy itchy eyelids, it is best to avoid rubbing the eyes with your hands and to consult a doctor if symptoms persist.