Avatar universal

Sore, puffy, dry, red eyelids... Help needed, as my pharmascist is the definition of useless!

Apologiies in advance for this crazily long post- perhaps if I had forced my pharmacist to read all of this, he might have actually been helpful.....

For the last few weeks I have been suffering from incredibly sensitive eyes/eyelids which are red, dry and sore, similar to sunburn. I initially thought it was because of some cheap make-up remover wipes that I used to take off my mascara. Although I had been using them for a while, they soon started to sting and burn the area around my eyes whenever I used them. The use of any eye make-up other than mascara would result in a stinging sensation, which varied in terms of severity. Moisturiser and even baby-lotion would burn my skin. Since then however, I have been using some Garnier make-up wipes, made for sensitive skin and the problem seemed to get a bit better, although eyeshadow was still strictly off-limits. But then, last Sunday, my eyes had gone back to their previous state, of being very red and sore. I hadn't worn any make-up or used any products on or near my eyes at all on Sunday, so I'm confused as to what caused it to return.

On Monday and Tuesday, several people commented on the state of my eyes, especially the right one, which seemed to be in a worse condition. My eyelids were dry and painful to touch, especially in the corner and it was continuously weeping, until yesterday afternoon when it seemed to heal up to the point where it looked sore, but no longer felt it.

And then today- my awful eyes are worse than ever. While my actual eyes are fine, my eyelids are large,  puffy and as per usual- RED. My left one was expectionally bad, where it was almost hard to keep open. Since the day has gone on, they've somewhat improved, although they remain puffy and red.

One more thing- it may or may not be related but yesterday morning I woke up with a dry, red, sore patch of skin around the left corner of my mouth. When covered up with makeup, it's not so bad, but still notciable and sometimes itchy. I put on some E45 cream today, as I thought this would help, but I think it made it worse as it started stinging and burning almost immediatley. I never had this before, only since the problem has returned to my eyelids. Related, perhaps?

What is going on with my evil, crazy eyes?! I look awful, as I'm very pale and the contrast between my pale face with the random red patch near my mouth and my dry, puffy eyelids makes me resemble something out of a horror film... :( Any ideas of what the problem could be or how to fix it? Or has anyone else suffered similar symptoms? All help would be greatly appreciated. :)

272 Responses
233488 tn?1310693103
The list of things that might cause this is extensive and long. Dry eyes, eye or eyelid infections, blepharitis, thyroid eye disease, corneal problems, allergies, eyelid abnormalities to name a few.

You will need to make an appointment with an Eye MD physician-ophthalmologist to work through the causes.

While waiting you can use warm compresses to the eye and get some Refresh-PM which you can apply to the eyelids and eyes at bedtime to moisturize them and for day time use preservative free artificial tears (they come in individual twist top vials).

Avatar universal
Thanks for your help. I always thought it would be unlikely that anyone would be able to say, "THIS is the problem & THIS is how you fix it....", but it was worth a shot.
Incidently, my eyes have improved hugely over the last 24 hours after the use of some eye drops... I'm thinking it might have been blepharitis as the eye drops I used were supposed to heal it.
Thanks again.

233488 tn?1310693103
You are welcome, glad things are better.

Avatar universal
I'm having the exact problem you described (including the use of eye makeup remover wipes, down to the red patch on the 'right' corner of my mouth). I've been doing the hot compresses on my eyes and using Cetaphil lotion on my dry patch and eyelids. The dry patch is gone now, but the sore eyelids remain. Did you ever get a diagnosis from a doctor??
233488 tn?1310693103
Avatar universal
I am having the same problems you describe Alex. It came on from nowhere, I am 30 and have been wearing make up every day for 15 years and for the last 12 months my eyelids have been getting progressively worse. I also have a random 2cm diameter dry patch of skin on my cheek.

People are work have started to comment on my eyes which is starting to get to me. I am still wearing make up and eye shadow, mainly to cover it up but I am starting to believe its eyeshadow (although this doesn't explain the dry patch on my cheek). I am bridesmaid for two of my friends next May 09 and I really want to get it sorted out - I look like something out of Thriller with zero make up on! Its starting to affect my confidence.

I can't think it is any different products I am using, my doctor has only prescribed me Alphaderm steriod cream but that just burns (when it gets in my eye) and makes the skin custy. I will do the above but what is causing this to us all?!!
233488 tn?1310693103
Avatar universal
I don't wear makeup at all and use only Eucerin skin care products and still have this same problem (ie - I don't think it has anything to do with makeup).  It seems to come on every year when the weather changes.  It seems a bit allergy related for me as I notice I also have a bit of nasal drainage.  But I don't know of any kind of antihistamine eye cream.  I goop on the moisturizer at night but it doesn't seem to really help with the redness.  I've had this problem for years.  My last attempt to get help the guy at the front desk at my eye doc told me to see a dermatologist.  So the search continues.  
586266 tn?1223817191
Why blame the pharmacist? He or she is not an MD.
Avatar universal
I'm having the same problem and wonder if it has something to do with age and weather.  I'm 31, hve had the problem come and go for about a year now and it seemed to have started from nowhere.  I've always worn make-up but I've tried switching make-up, cleansers, brushes etc and every couple of months it still comes back in my right eye.  Products designed for sensitive eyes don't help.

My doctor told me to start washing my eyes with baby shampoo instead of eye make-up remover and that has helped reduce the puffiness and itchiness.  My dermatologist also prescribed a steroid cream but I'm reluctant to use a steroid cream on my eye.

ONyx 600- What is the name of the eye drops that helped the blepharitis?  I'm want to try that next.
Avatar universal
Hi everyone,

I am 28 years old and developed the sympoms you all described around September 2008.  The only thing is that I never had a drye patch next to my mouth.  I wore any brand/type makeup all my life and I used cosmetics, parfumes and detergent all these years without any issues.

I saw an eye doctor first back in September 2008 who prescribed Alrex (steroid eye drops) and Optiva (moisturizer).  Alrex worked like a charm, in two days I was back to normal.  After my prescription was done in about 6 weeks I decided not to refill it and in about 2 days all symptoms came back.  I refilled my prescription and in 2 days I felt relived again.  In November 2008 I saw my primary care physician for full physical who asked whether I use any medication and I said Alrex.  After primary care physician learned that I have been using Alrex for 3 months, she advised that I see an allergist or go back to an eye doctor since steroid medication like Alrex is not recommended for prolonged use and can lead to complications.

December 2008 I saw an allergist and was tested for sesonal stuff, dust and cat dog stuff- all the usual.  None come up - none.  The allergist confirmed that I am not allergic.  I was given eye drops to relieve itchy red eyes and was advised by the allergist to avoid using Alrex, which allergist suggested is not a cure for the problem.
For 2 weeks I was fighting the symptoms, with and without the eye drops, Allegra, Claritin and other Allergy and Dry eye relieve drops - none of it worked - none.  Lubricants didn't do anything either- my eyes are dry and puffy, red and bumpy.  Regardless of whether I use or don't use makeup some days I wakeup and can't even open my eyes.

January 2009 I went back to see the allergist and begged him to prescribe Alrex to me.  I was reminded that Alrex is not a solution to my problem, but rather a temporary relief.  I was told that I will not be prescribed Alrex.  I was offered a test to see whether I am allergic to common chemicals in products, and in the meanwhile I was told to make an appointment to see dermatologist.  So, here I am sitting scrathing my eyes and wondering whether the patches on my back will bring any results - follow-up is in 2 days.  At this point I want to be allergic to something, anything, so I can get a medication that works.

The plan is: if test comes out positive than I will know which chemicals to aviod.  If test comes out negative I would have to see a dermatologist and the eye doctor again.

I hope that all of you got some kind of relief and bring my sympothy to all of you, since I know exactly how it feels....:(
If any of you found a solution please post it here so we can hopefully find a relief.
Thank you.
777604 tn?1236265184
We are all a member of this awful red swollen eyelid club I guess with no real answers to our problem.  Except for maybe one thing that I found in almost all body, face and hand creams, and makeup and even hair conditioner that maybe our problem.  It is called methylparaben, and it is and additive that is prevalent in most of our external products we all use daily.  It has been banned in Europe and Canada but not in our own beloved USA!  Shockig to say the least.  I went to a web site called www.cosmeticsdatabase.com
and typed in my favorite hand cream.  Low and behold there was the ingredient Methylparaben with all the hazards it causes and it causes skin irritation $  to eyes  as well as other horrors.  Check it out for yourself and be ready for some shocking information.
I read all ingredients now and buy carcenagen free ingredients in all my makeup and creams and my eyes are way better!.  I am not a doctor but no doctor I have been to knows what this eye problem I had was, and I have been to four doctors even an eye doctor.  SO, what I am saying is, this ingredient may or may not be YOUR partticular problem, but I know my skin around my eyes are not itchy or burn and red anymore after eliminating products with Methylparaben in them! Hope this helps any of you.  My heart goes out to you all, for I have suffered for a year and a half with this too.  All my thoughts and prayers to you all.  .
Avatar universal
i seem to have the exact same thing that alex described! back in january i woke up and one eyelid was huge and swollen. i thought it was just an allergic reaction as sometimes i got that in the mornings. but it was still there the next day. i stopped wearing any make up just in case i was allergic to it. my eyelid was really red and very dry. then it spread to my other eye.
i have had this problem for 4 months now and nothing i do seems to make it go away. my mother is convinced it's stress related as i have had a lot of exams to deal with recently, but no matter how much i try to relax, no matter if i moisturise daily and wear absolutley no make up, my eyes remain red, sore and very itchy.
its so ugly! i have loads of wrinkles under my eyes where i have swollen up so many times and been rubbing my eyes. my eyebrows are thinning because i keep rubbing them (though i try so hard not to!) and i feel rubbish. i went to a GP about it and he gave me some antihistamines which haven't done anything, and some hydrocortisone, but because its on my eyes i can't put it on for more than a week. its obvious that it hasn't been very effective!
i have noticed that salt water seems to make the problem worse. for example when i sweat or cry, my eyes sting really badly.
please! does anyone know what could help me?
Avatar universal
I have just developed the same thing. it started in march, thought it was too much studying, eye cremes ect.

I am also in Canada so that rules out that chemical you have in your products that starts with M since we don't have it here but we do have this puffy eye syndrome, redness, stinging, sunburning feeling. Mine are also peeling.

Don't know what to do either. Your posts let me know that I am in for a run around. Thanks for the heads up.

Glad you posted,

Avatar universal
My MD just switched me from Alrex to Optivar drops (a non-steroid antihistamine).  Maybe you can ask your MD about using that.
Avatar universal
Hi, I have lower lid problem since January 2009. Both lower lids become puffy, a little bit itchy, red and visibly dry. I went to ophthalmologist and was prescribed Tobradex (antibiotic/corticosteroid). This medication helped after I used it for a couple of weeks. I stopped using it, and everything was fine for a while, my lower eyelids were back to normal, without that awful wrinkles and puffiness and redness. But in about 10-14 days the problem started again. I again used Tobradex for about 3-4 days. Everything went back to normal, but all the symptoms are back once more. I don't use cosmetics, except for a facial cream (which I don't apply near the eyes) and an eye cream (Clinique), which I stopped using once I got this problem. I wash my face with cold or warm water only. Please help, I don't want using Tobradex forever. I'm also wearing contacts and it's not an option for me to stop wearing them.
Avatar universal
Two days ago, I noticed a sore under my right eyelid...lids are puffy and red and hurt. I went to my eye doctor yesterday...didn't wait...she said i had a clogged eye duct, She gave me  steroid eye drops to take 3x daily. She told me to put hot compresses on it 2x daily. I was told that it may take a few weeks to heal. I searched the problem and it appears that infants have this...is this really what I have? It hurts.....Please help. Never had problems with eyes...I am 61.
Avatar universal
I have been searching for some kind of answer to my eyelid problem which sounds very similar to all of your guys' problems. What seems to continually be dismissed by any of my doctors is that it is NOT my eye, but rather my EYELID.
I am 34 and I woke up one day with a huge puffy, red, stinging, burning eyelid. My initial thought was allergies as I do suffer from them, but no antihistamines have worked. It normally lasts 4-6 days at a time but the strangest thing is that when the welling finally goes away, my eyelids actually get almost scabby and start pealing. It burns and is miserable. There seems to be no consistent behavior that brings it on either.
I went to a homeopathic doctor who told me it was perhaps hormonal. I had blood tests which were fine as well. I have kept food, activity and medication logs for 3 months and there seems to be no correlation to any of it. I am starting to really freak out that there is something serious going on and no doctors want to take the time to figure it out.
I am starting to wonder if perhaps this is a side effect of some kind of mold I cant see. I need a "Dr.House"....is anyone out there that help us poor women.
Avatar universal
Me tooo!!! red puffy itchy flakey eyelids, I went to a pharmacist, and she said she has  had the same problem and that its a fungus, she told me to use lamasil (athletes' foot creme), and so far all the looks of the problem have gone away, its just still kinda itchy, but i think its working, i just started using it a couple of days ago, so we will see.
Hope this helps anyone,
Im just tired of being ugly, without makeup :/
Avatar universal
Re: Dry/Sore/Burning/Flaky/Puffy/Itchy Eyelids=Nice!!!
Hi Alex ------ READ CAREFULLY:
I have experienced the same problems as you for a while.  Checked out on the internet and followed some advice: e.g. I bought "MAC Moisturelush Eye Cream" from the Bay ($36 + tax) - but it didn't help. I couldn't find avocado oil, recommended by someone on the internet.
The doctor prescribed me Hyderm Cream 1% - (or Hydrocortisone Acetate 1%)" to use twice a day (morning and night).  Plus, at night, he said I should add (don't laugh!) Preparation H (which is for hemorroydes) on top of the first cream;  he said this would reduce the puffiness within a week.  I followed this treatment for 3-4 days and my eyelids went better, but not 100%. I still felt some dryness (it's like letting egg white dry on the sking...)
What has made me feel REALLY BETTER is this:
1. Use a "beauty mist" or a 'face spa' - you can buy it from any cosmetics department (for about $40-50).  Add 2 camomile tea bags in the water and keep your face (especially your upper part) in the steam for 10-15 min.  
If you don't want to spend the money on the spa, a cheaper method is this:  boil water in a saucepan, add 2-3 camomile tea bags, take the saucepan away from stove, keep your face over it with a towel covering your head and saucepan, so that you capture all the steam onto your face.
2. Apply this excellent Eye Repair Cream around your eyes: "Obsessively EYEWITNESS Organic" produced by 'Kiss My Face Corporation'.  It costs $16.49 + tax at SuperStore in the organic section of the store.
For the first time after a long discomfort I have felt relief and my eyelid skin gets to normal.
It is essential you don't rub or touch your eyes with dirty hands and do throw out all your makeup and start fresh with quality items (doctor recommended MAC).  
I personally have difficulty in finding a good makeup removal.  Remaining makeup cloggs the pores and over time it creates this eyelid problem.  That is why, 'beauty mist' steam is extremely beneficial, as it does an in-depth skin cleaning.  A little makeup break or very little use of makeup is also good for your skin.
I hope this helps (in fact, I'm sure it will help you)!  Good luck!

Avatar universal
I had the same problems with my eyelids - ichy, swollen, dry, then the skin would just peel off - it was awful.  I went to the doctor who sent me to the dermatologist.  They said I was allergic to something but did not know what.  I also have RLS (restless leg syndrome) and at night I would take Advil to help alleviate the symptoms.  I realize now that sometimes I would take Aleve instead of the Advil and that is when my eyes would swell up and burn and itch.  I looked up Aleve online and it said that sometimes it causes rashes, swelling, etc.  It is the naproxine that is in Aleve that was causing my problem.  I have not taken Aleve for over 2 years now and have not had a flare up.  I hope this helps.

Avatar universal
I just started having this problem about two weeks ago and the thing that has helped so far is maximum strength Neosporin + pain relief. It works right away with the itching and the peeling but there is still some discomfort on my left lid. I use it for a day or two but then it comes back a week later. So I guess it's time to see the doc. I'm 31 and this all knew to me the only thing I have done different is join the Y and use the sauna and the pool.
Avatar universal
I have had this too for the last few weeks. Only on one eyelid. Dry, sore and red. The skin is kind of strectched, it's very weird. Nivea made it worse. So I went to pharmacy and got aqueous cream as she thought thats about all you can use on your eyes. Anyway, it's not better although slightly improved, it's still very itchy and dry and pink. I
might go to the docs but reading all your posts possibly a waste of time, like normal. I'm in the UK so can't be thay ingredient and I haven't changed anything either, and it's only on one eyelid. Mysterious.
Avatar universal
you all could be allergic to Formaldehyde. This chemical compound is found in pretty much all beauty products- shampoos, nail polish, lotion, make up, clothes, you name it.
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