Eyelid Irritation Causes and Treatment Options | Eye Love Cares


There are very few things that are more annoying than eyelid irritation. You walk around all day rubbing or scratching at your eyelids trying to get some relief, and they become swollen and dry. Having any type of eyelid irritation, whether it is under the eyelid or on the outside, can result in unsightly scratches and redness. There are several causes of eyelid irritation. Most of them are quite treatable. These treatments can be purchased online or in the store. If these products do not decrease the irritation, a visit to a physician is advised.

Related: What Causes Dry Eyes And Can It Be Prevented?

The first step in identifying a treatment method is to determine where the actual irritation is taking place. Many people rub their eyelids when the irritation is a result of an eye disorder. Some individuals may use a topical ointment to treat eyelid irritation when that irritation might actually be an irritation under the eyelid. In this article, sources of eyelid irritation will be explored and we will discuss some over-the-counter treatments available. The products listed may not cure an ailment. Any time eyelid irritation occurs for longer than expected, visit an eye doctor. The physician may recommend the continued use of a product listed here. Follow the directions listed on each product and relief from eyelid irritation can almost be guaranteed. As a cautionary note, open wounds in and around the eyes should be treated with caution with any of the products mentioned below.


Causes of Eyelid Irritation

Eyelid dermatitis

Eyelid dermatitis is a common condition that causes the skin on or around the eyelids to become dry, itchy, and irritated. Dermatitis can also be referred to as eczema, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis. When allergies to a medication, lotion, or other substance cause a red, irritated eyelid, the condition is called eyelid contact dermatitis.

Dermatitis on the eyelids causes inflammation of the thin, sensitive skin around the eyes. The eyelids become irritated, swollen, dry, and reddened. Eyelid dermatitis can affect one or both of the eyes. If an affected individual continually rubs and scratches their eyelids, the eyelids can become thickened in a process called lichenification. When caused by an irritant or allergen, symptoms typically occur within a few hours or days of contact with a trigger substance. Symptoms can resolve as soon as the trigger substance is rinsed away or contact with that substance is removed.

There are four types of eyelid dermatitis:

  • Allergic contact dermatitis develops because of an allergic reaction that causes inflammation of the skin, such as pollen in a person with hay fever. Some cosmetic products or metals, such as nickel, are common causes of allergic skin reactions.
  • Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by the eyelid coming into direct contact with a substance that damages the outer layer of the skin, such as certain types of makeup, soaps, and detergents.
  • Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema that can affect the eyelids.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is a common condition that causes the skin to become inflamed and flakey. It often occurs on the scalp but can also affect oily areas of skin, such as the eyelids.

Related: Itchy Eyelid Relief, Moisturizer and Natural Remedy

Eyelid dermatitis does not pose a serious health risk, although the eyelid irritation can be uncomfortable and interfere with daily life. If you find yourself with a red, irritated eyelid, the symptoms are easily managed. A simple test can determine what triggers your dermatitis and it can be treated by some of the eyelid irritation treatments we discuss later. Many factors such as skin sensitivity and the extent of exposure will determine how severe the dermatitis becomes. As always with eyelid irritation, avoid rubbing and itching the affected area.

Eyelid Inflammation (blepharitis)

Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis usually involves the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow and affects both eyelids. It commonly occurs when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes become clogged. This leads to irritated and red eyes. This condition is often a chronic condition that is difficult to treat. Blepharitis can be uncomfortable and may be unsightly. But it usually doesn’t cause permanent damage to your eyesight, and it’s not contagious.

There are many symptoms to look for if you feel you could be suffering from blepharitis. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Watery, red eyes
  • Burning or stinging in the eyes
  • A red, irritated eyelid
  • Inner eyelid irritation
  • Loss of eyelashes
  • Frequent blinking

There are many causes that can lead to the development of blepharitis. Dermatitis, bacterial infections, clogged oil glands, rosacea, allergies, and eyelash mites may all cause a case of blepharitis. Blepharitis can also cause many other issues so it is imperative to get it treated. It can be treated by over the counter eyelid treatments, but it may require a visit to a physician. Good hygiene and avoiding scratching the eyelid can help prevent any spread of blepharitis.


Related: Everything You Need to Know About Demodex Blepharitis

Ocular Rosacea

Ocular rosacea is inflammation that causes redness, burning and itching of the eyes. It can also cause eyelid irritation. Ocular rosacea often develops in people who have rosacea, a chronic skin condition that affects the face. Sometimes ocular, or eye, rosacea is the first sign that you may later develop the facial type of rosacea. Ocular rosacea primarily affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50. Medications and a good eye care routine can help control the signs and symptoms. But treatment doesn’t cure ocular rosacea. It often recurs after an apparent remission.

Related: Angular Blepharitis: What Is It?

There are a multitude of symptoms of rosacea. Some develop at the same time and others develop later or on their own. Some of the symptoms of ocular rosacea include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Red irritated eyelids
  • Redness and thickening of the skin

Blocked glands in the eyelids, eyelash mites, bacteria, and environmental factors can cause an onset of ocular rosacea. Ocular rosacea is not life or vision threatening. It can easily be controlled by eyelid irritation treatment and good eye hygiene, along with diet changes to control inflammation. In some cases, a visit to a physician is necessary to get an antibiotic.


Mild Preseptal Cellulitis

Preseptal cellulitis is a common infection of the eyelid and periorbital soft tissues that is characterized by swelling in those tissues. Preseptal cellulitis may be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, eyelid injuries or insect bites. This condition usually does not result in any visual impairment and will not affect the movement of the eye.

Preseptal cellulitis has a few uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • A red irritated eyelid
  • Swelling of the eyelid
  • Tenderness and pain
  • Warmth
  • Fever is possible

Generally, preseptal cellulitis is treated with antibiotics. This condition usually clears completely with the proper medication. Proper eyelid hygiene can prevent bacteria from entering the eyelids and possibly prevent this condition. Oftentimes, a stye that goes untreated can progress into preseptal cellulitis.

Eyelid Irritation Treatment

There are many over-the-counter medications and treatments that claim they will work to rid you of eyelid irritation. When you have an irritated, itchy eye and eyelid, you would be willing to buy anything for relief from the discomfort. This section of the article will cover five products that will work to relieve any type of eyelid irritation.

Eyelid Irritation Treatment #1

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Heyedrate has produced a spray-on eyelid and eyelash cleanser. Its main ingredient is a propriety agent called hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid was originally used as a cleanser for wounds, so it is known to be effective and safe. This spray does not contain any type of alcohol. This unique product is 100% organic, vegan, and all-natural. It lacks any type of fragrance or preservative. Additionally, it is safe to use with fake eyelashes because it contains no oils or alcohol. It can be purchased in 1 oz. or 4 oz. bottles. Simply spray it directly on the eyelids and rub it in. It does not have to be washed away.

Heyedrate Lid & Lash cleanser is designed specifically to soothe skin conditions such as eyelid irritation, rosacea and blepharitis. It can also be used to treat scrapes, cuts, scars, and wrinkles. It is best to use this product on a daily basis as it will help prevent any type of eyelid irritation. As a bonus, the company donates proceeds to helping people in Jamaica get eye examinations and glasses.

This product is the most complete and effective product on the list. It combines effectiveness with convenience. The all-natural nature of this product makes it environmentally friendly and safe for all consumers.

Eyelid Irritation Treatment #2

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TheraTears Dry Eye Therapy Lubricant Drops are the next eyelid irritation treatment on the list. It has a main ingredient of sodium carboxy-methylcellulose and is preservative-free. It contains a unique hypotonic and electrolyte formula. The product was designed to replicate healthy tears, which can come in handy when your eyes are irritated. It is sold in .5 oz. and 1 oz. bottles. They can also be purchased as single use vials for use on the go.

TheraTears was developed by physicians to treat eye irritation and dryness of the eyes. This product will provide temporary relief of burning and discomfort from exposure to the wind or sun. A simple application of one to two drops will help the user find comfort. TheraTears offers several products for eye and eyelid care, but their lubricant drops are the most multi-purpose of all of their products.

Eyelid Irritation Treatment #3

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OCuSOFT Lid Scrub is a unique pre-moistened wipe to clean your eyelids. It is perfect for daily eyelid hygiene. It can be used to remove cosmetics, oil and any debris from the eyelids. Additionally, it is alcohol and fragrance free. One wipe should be used per eye in order to avoid cross-contamination from anything in the other eye. It is sold in 30 individually wrapped wipes that can be taken anywhere to help remove foreign debris in a pinch. It can also be used to treat itchy, red eyes caused by pollen, ragweed, grass, and animal hair.

Unlike other products on this list, OCuSOFT pads do contain a low-level preservative blend that provides a wide range of anti-bacterial properties. Although this is a treatment for areas near the eyes, direct contact with the eyes should be avoided. As part of a daily eyelid hygiene regime, OCuSOFT Lid Scrub can help prevent eyelid irritation. This product is convenient for travel, but is not the most complete product on this list.


Eyelid Irritation Treatment #4

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The next treatment is unlike any other treatment on this list. The Heyedrate Dry Eye Compress is an eye mask that can be heated and reused several times. It is safe for daily use and refreshes your eyes and relieves dryness. The Heyedrate Dry Eye Compress will work to soothe red irritated eyelids using impressive technology. The beads inside continually absorb water molecules from the air. When the beads are heated the water is released as moist heat. There is no need to add water so there is no waiting and it can be used while on the go.

This mask is effective for improving the function of the Meibomian oil glands which are very important to maintain healthy eyes. The Heyedrate Dry Eye mask can be used with existing medications and will not interfere with their effectiveness. It has a no-mess design and is hypo-allergenic, so it is safe for most consumers. With this mask it only takes 10-20 minutes to find relief from eyelid irritation. This product can be used by individuals as young as 2 years old so one mask can treat an entire family.

Eyelid Irritation Treatment #5

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The last product on the list to treat eyelid irritation is Dr. Fischer Purified Cleansing Wipes. These wipes can be used to get rid of oil, dirt, dust, ocular secretions and other foreign substances. Like many of the other products, these wipes are free of alcohol and preservatives. This product is adjusted to match the pH of natural tears. Dr. Fischer Purified Cleansing Wipes can be used for daily hygiene rituals and can be used by people of any age. With these wipes, you simply wipe and let it dry. There is no need to rinse any of the cleaning agent from your face. Each package of purified wipes contains 30 pre-moistened towelettes.

The wipes are hypoallergenic so that they do not cause any irritation to sensitive eyelids. They will not interfere with any type of prescribed medication for styes or conjunctivitis. Dr. Fischer Purified Cleansing Wipes can be used as often as necessary and will not cause any additional irritation. It can be used for children as young as 6 months without consulting a physician.

Observations and Conclusions

Eyelid irritation is annoying and inconvenient. As stated before, there are numerous products on the market to help with eyelid irritation. The products listed in the article are the best products to procure when you are suffering from a red, irritated eyelid. The list ranks products by ease of use and effectiveness, allowing you, as the consumer, to make an educated choice for the appropriate treatment. These products are multi-purpose and can serve as essential preventative maintenance measures. As many products as there are to treat eyelid irritation, there are as many causes of eyelid irritation. When picking a product, it is important to determine what is causing the irritation. If, for whatever reason, these products do not treat an affliction, contact a physician.


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