Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
My husband's eye lids top and bottom have been peeling and swelling and crusting over. What could this be?

Answer:
The two likely diagnoses that cause these symptoms is dermatitis of the eyelid skin or blepharitis. Itching tends to be an important symptom in dermatitis. More commonly blepharitis causes these symptoms. Blepharitis is generally caused by dysfunction of the fat secreting glands in the eyelids. It is a very common condition accounting for many of the patients that visit an Eye M.D. There is a range of treatments. Warm compresses and eyelid hygiene (scrubbing the eyelid margins and lashes with mild soap such as baby shampoo or commercially available pads) are the mainstay of treatment. Massaging the eyelids to force out the abnormal glandular secretions is also recommended. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops and ointments are often used. Supplementation with the essential oils (such as Omega 3 and Omega 6) are helpful not only for this problem but many other health issues. Finally, oral medications such as doxycycline are used. The problem can be chronic and vary in severity and recurrences. The idea is to adhere to a treatment plan that prevents symptoms from returning.

Answered by: Gary Hirshfield, MDDr. Gary Hirshfield

Categories: Eye Conditions; General Eye Health

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Answered: Nov 23, 2010

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