A barleycorn (hordeolum) is an inflammation of the glands of the eyelid. There are two forms of hordeolum, depending on which glands are affected. Hordeolum internum is an inflammation of the sebaceous glands of the eyelid (meibomian glands).
Often, a kind of pimple, visibly filled with pus, is found on the eyelid. In Hordeolum externum the Zeiss glands (sebaceous glands of the eyelashes) or the minor glands (sweat glands of the eyelid) are inflamed. This form of barley grain is usually less conspicuous.
Both inflammations are accompanied by redness, swelling, pain and overheating of the eyelid. A barleycorn is usually caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. They usually heal on their own; red light irradiation or warm compresses can have a supportive effect.
If a barleycorn causes significant symptoms, if healing is delayed or if the pus does not drain away, a doctor should be consulted. The doctor can prescribe antibiotic-containing ointments or drops or drain the pus through a small incision. If the disease takes a severe course, it can lead to inflammation of the entire eyelid and to abscesses.
However, this is rare and usually a harmless disease. Conjunctivitis is a quite common disease. It can occur acutely and heals within 4 weeks.
If the disease lasts longer, it is called chronic conjunctivitis. It is accompanied by reddening of the eye, pain, burning, increased sensitivity to light and foreign body sensation. Typical are also the eyes that are stuck together in the morning and the distinct protrusion of the conjunctival vessels (conjunctival injections).
There may be an outflow from the eye, which is clear to purulent, depending on the type of pathogen. Conjunctivitis can have various causes. The most common are bacterial diseases (e.g. streptococci, staphylococci).
This often results in a purulent discharge. In addition, conjunctivitis is often caused by viruses (e.g. adenoviruses), where the discharge is often rather watery and mucous. An inflammation of the conjunctiva can also occur in the context of an allergy (e.g.
hay fever) or irritation (e.g. solvent) of the eye. The treatment of the conjunctiva should be based on the trigger. Antibiotics are used locally as ointment or drops against bacteria, and for viruses the symptoms are treated by decongestant medication.
The eye flickering is accompanied by bright zigzag lines or flashes. It occurs on both eyes and in the same area of the field of vision (homonymous). Headaches, sensitivity to light (photophobia) or nausea may also occur.
Flickering is a symptom that can be caused by many different diseases. Most of them are quite harmless, such as tense neck muscles or persistent stress. Eye strain and certain medications can also trigger a flicker scotoma.
Flickering usually disappears quickly by itself. However, if it lasts longer, this can give an indication of the underlying disease. If it lasts around ten minutes, an eye migraine can be the trigger, especially if accompanied by headaches.
A longer duration of about 30 minutes can be the announcement of a migraine. Glaucoma can also trigger a flicker scotoma in its early stages. If the flickering persists over a longer period of time, if it recurs frequently (recurrent) or if the symptoms are very distressing, an ophthalmologist should be consulted.
This can examine whether a disease requiring treatment is behind the eye flickering. Eye twitching is the involuntary contraction and opening of the eyelid. It can occur on both sides or be restricted to only one eye.
It is often triggered by the nerve that supplies the facial muscles (facial nerve) or the cause is directly related to the eye muscles (e.g. orbicularis oculi muscle). In the vast majority of cases, eye twitching has a harmless cause. It can be caused by stress, tiredness, eye strain or exhaustion during sports.
Sometimes it occurs without any trigger at all. In addition, eye twitching can indicate a magnesium deficiency, which generally causes slight muscle twitches. Other states of malnutrition can also be indicated by eye twitches, in which case there is often accompanying fatigue and reduced performance.
In addition, a so-called tic may be accompanied by eye twitches. This is a symptom of psychological or neurological diseases. If the eye twitching lasts longer than one day or returns very often, a neurologist should be consulted.
This is especially true if other symptoms such as headaches, night sweats, weight loss, fever, mood swings, a change of character or sudden clumsiness are added to the symptoms. You can find more information on this under: Twitching in the eyeSwollen eyes often do not refer to a swelling of the eye itself, but to swelling of the eyelid or the bags under the eyes. They are rarely associated with a disease.
A swelling of the eye can be caused by many different reasons. Sleep deprivation, saltSwelling can also be caused by an allergy, such as house dust, pollen, cosmetics, food, insect bites or medication. Trauma (blows, injuries) to the eye and its surroundings can also cause swelling.
If the swelling is accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, pain and overheating, this suggests an inflammation of the eye or surrounding tissue. In this case an ophthalmologist should be consulted. A disturbance in lymph drainage can also lead to swollen eyes.
So-called myxedema, which also causes swelling of the eye, is often found in hypothyroidism. Functional disorders, especially of the heart and kidneys, can also cause swelling. These are usually accompanied by other symptoms.
In rare cases, a growing tumour can also cause swelling. Nevertheless, swollen eyes are usually harmless. If further symptoms occur, the swelling increases steadily or it affects the visual field, it should be clarified by a doctor.
Swelling can also be caused by an allergy, e.g. house dust, pollen, cosmetics, food, insect bites or medication. Trauma (blows, injuries) to the eye and its surroundings can also cause swelling. If the swelling is accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, pain and overheating, this suggests an inflammation of the eye or surrounding tissue.
In this case an ophthalmologist should be consulted. A disturbance in lymph drainage can also lead to swollen eyes. So-called myxedema, which also causes swelling of the eye, is often found in hypothyroidism.
Functional disorders, especially of the heart and kidneys, can also cause swelling. These are usually accompanied by other symptoms. In rare cases, a growing tumour can also cause swelling.
Nevertheless, swollen eyes are usually harmless. If further symptoms occur, the swelling increases steadily or it affects the visual field, it should be clarified by a doctor. Tearing eyes (lacrimation, epiphora) refer to the discharge of tear fluid over the edge of the eyelid.
There are various reasons for epiphora. Firstly, too much tear fluid can be produced (dakyrrhea), or the drainage is obstructed. Too much tear fluid is produced, for example, in cases of allergies, sinusitis and inflammation or injury of the eye.
Tears can also be produced in the context of eye damage (endocrine orbitopathy) due to hyperthyroidism, as well as irritation of the eye (contact lenses, chemicals). Tearing eyes are also caused by irritation of the nerve (trigeminal nerve) that supplies the lacrimal gland. The outflow of tear fluid can be caused by a dislocation of the drainage pathways, e.g. inflammation of the lacrimal ducts (canaliculitis), chronic inflammation of the lacrimal sacs (dacrocystitis chronicica) or congenital malformations.
Malpositions of the eyelid can also hinder the drainage of tears. In the case of epiphora, the risk of infection for the affected eye is significantly increased. Some of the causes are also in need of treatment. For this reason, a doctor should be consulted if tears are constantly dripping.