Eyelid Inflammation


The medical term for eyelid inflammation is blepharitis. Frequently a spread of the inflammation to the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) can be observed. However, only certain parts of the eyelid may be inflamed, for example the corner of the eyelid or the lacrimal sac (dacryocystitis).

The eyelid serves to protect the eye from dehydration and external influences. On the inside, the eyelids are covered by the conjunctiva and on the edges of the eyelids are the eyelashes, which protect the eye from soiling. In the area around the eyelashes there are various types of sweat and sebaceous glands, which prevent the tear fluid from overflowing over the edge of the eyelid. These glands can be inflamed, which can cause severe pain. Depending on their cause, inflammations of the eyelid can be divided into different groups.

General information

A distinction is made between scaly eyelid inflammation, which occurs for example in the context of a general skin disease, and infectious eyelid inflammation, which is usually caused by bacteria, viruses (e.g. herpes viruses) or fungi. In addition, an allergic reaction such as a reaction to incompatible cosmetics, house dust or pollen can also cause eyelid inflammation. A special and widespread complaint among eyelid inflammations is the barleycorn, which is usually caused by a bacterial infection.

In some cases there is also pain in the corners of the eyes. In many cases there is a pronounced irritation of the eyes and eyelids, which can be associated with a foreign body sensation (e.g. like “sand” in the eyes). Sensitivity to light and increased tearing of the eye are also frequently observed.

If it is an inflammation of the lacrimal sac, the inner corner of the eyelid is usually severely reddened, swollen and painfully sensitive to pressure. At the inner eyelid angle there are the so-called tear dots, through which pus can repeatedly escape. In some cases, an abscess can form, a pus cavity, which can lead to serious impairments and consequences (e.g. the development of a life-threatening inflammation of the brain).

The accumulation of pus can also form an open connection to the eyelid, which is called lacrimal fistula. Inflammation of the lacrimal gland (dacryoadenitis) results in a severe, painful swelling of the upper eyelid and often also in abscess formation. Inflammation of the eyelids often leads to severe itching.

Take care not to rub the eyes. This usually increases the itching and the infection can spread by carrying bacteria. Your ophthalmologist will often prescribe antihistamines to relieve the itching.

Another accompanying symptom of eyelid inflammation is pain on the eyelids. They often occur in conjunction with swelling and redness of the eye. If you experience severe pain, you should consult an eye doctor immediately.

Eyelid inflammation is usually clearly visible from the outside and a diagnosis can often be made by the appearance and description of the symptoms. There are numerous ophthalmologic examination methods available for a clear assessment of the inflammation. For example, microscopic examinations of the different eye sections using a so-called slit lamp are often used.

Reflection of the back of the eye with a special magnifying glass (ophthalmoscope) is also frequently used to rule out the possibility that the inflammation has spread to other parts of the eye. If the inflammation is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, it may be necessary to determine the pathogens in the laboratory. A blood test may also be helpful under certain circumstances, for example if general illnesses or systemic infectious diseases are present.

An allergy test can provide further information for the diagnosis if an allergic reaction, for example to cosmetics, is suspected. Inflammation of the eyelids should not be taken lightly, as in the worst case it can lead to a loss of vision. For this reason, an ophthalmologist should always be consulted if the symptoms are unclear.

Even supposedly harmless inflammations such as a barleycorn should be examined by a doctor if they do not subside on their own after a few days. A barleycorn can be the cause of a painful eyelid inflammation. A barleycorn is an acute, bacterial inflammation of an eyelid gland.

There is a swelling at the affected area, pain and severe redness. There is also a central pus point. A distinction is made between an external and internal barleycorn.

In the case of the outer barleycorn, the glands at the edge of the eyelid are affected and the inflammation is clearly visible. With an inner barleycorn the eyelid glands on the inside of the eyelid are inflamed. The eyelid can swell outwards, but the swelling is often not associated with a barleycorn.

Rosacea is a chronic inflammation of the facial skin. The middle third of the face is often affected. Symptoms include redness, the formation of veins and inflammatory papules and pustules.

In the course of the disease, the eyes are often involved. Patients often suffer from eyelid inflammation and conjunctivitis. In these cases one speaks of ocular rosacea.

In rare cases it can lead to blindness. If you suffer from rosacea, you should have your eyes examined regularly by your ophthalmologist. Eyelid inflammation can also be caused by an allergy.

The allergic reaction is often triggered by skin care products or cosmetics. It can also be triggered by an intolerance to eye drops or eye ointments or by other allergens such as pollen or dust mites. Typically, an allergic inflammation of the eyelids results in a balloon-like swelling that extends over the entire eyelid (eyelid edema).

Patients with very dry and scaly skin are more frequently affected by eyelid complaints. Atopic dermatitis (neurodermatitis) and seborrheic dermatitis (seborrheic eczema) are often accompanied by eyelid inflammation. In atopic dermatitis, the eyelids are swollen, reddened and itchy.

The skin tends to crack and blister. In seborrhoeic dermatitis, a whitish-yellowish, greasy rash forms on the scalp, face, around the ears and on the eyelids. There is a congestion of secretion from the lid edge glands, the roots of the eyelashes usually become yellowish encrusted and the eyelid becomes inflamed by bacterial skin germs.

The therapy depends on the cause of the eyelid inflammation and can therefore vary considerably from case to case. In the case of a bacterial inflammation, for example, treatment with antibiotics is used. In principle, moist and disinfecting compresses can provide relief and promote the healing process in the case of an inflammation of the eyelid, but they should not be used if the cause is bacterial or viral.

In this case, there is a risk that the pathogens will spread and the inflammation will spread to other areas of the eye. Eye drops and painkillers are also used to relieve the symptoms. If the eyelid inflammation is caused by viruses or fungi, medication against the respective pathogens can also be considered.

Allergic inflammation is mainly treated by avoiding contact with the allergens. If the eyelid inflammation is caused by a barleycorn, the barleycorn usually breaks open within a few days and the inflammation then heals on its own. In some cases the barleycorn does not break open, then the pus cannot drain off and under certain circumstances an eyelid abscess can form.

In this case the barleycorn must be surgically opened and the pus accumulation removed. An inflammation of the lacrimal sac can also lead to the formation of an abscess, which must be treated surgically. A so-called eyelid hygiene can help to ensure the normal drainage of the secretion produced by the eyelid glands.

The eyelids are first warmed, which can be achieved with the help of warm compresses or infrared light, for example. Then, the ducts of the sebaceous glands at the edge of the eyelids are massaged with clean fingers or cotton buds, which allows the secretion to drain and removes the blockage. Existing adhesions and crusts on the eyelid margins should also be carefully removed regularly, for example with a damp cloth or a special cleaning solution.

If eyelid inflammation is suspected, you should consult an eye doctor. As a rule, the doctor will prescribe a disinfecting or locally anti-inflammatory eye ointment containing cortisone (Hydrocortisone-POS® N 1% eye ointment), which you should use for 10-14 days. Posiformin® 2% eye ointment with the active ingredient bibrocathol is particularly suitable as a disinfecting ointment for eyelid inflammation.

If the doctor diagnoses bacterial eyelid inflammation, you will be prescribed an eye ointment containing antibiotics, such as Jenapharm Oxytetracycline® eye ointment, for 2-6 weeks. If the eyelid inflammation is resolved by a viral infection, an eye ointment containing an antiviral (acyclovir), such as Zovirax® eye ointment or Virupos® eye ointment, is used. Accompanying eye drops (such as Azelastin® or Cromoglicin®) are usually prescribed to inhibit an allergic reaction.

If the doctor diagnoses bacterial eyelid inflammation, you will be prescribed an eye ointment containing antibiotics, such as Jenapharm Oxytetracycline® eye ointment, for 2-6 weeks. If the eyelid inflammation is resolved by a viral infection, an eye ointment containing an antiviral (acyclovir), such as Zovirax® eye ointment or Virupos® eye ointment, is used. Accompanying eye drops (such as Azelastin® or Cromoglicin®) are usually prescribed to inhibit an allergic reaction.

In case of eyelid inflammation, you should pay special attention to hygiene. Clean and massage your eyelid edges regularly, otherwise your pores will clog up again. Eyelid edge care improves the drainage of fat from the glands.

To do this, you should massage the eyelid margin along the upper and lower lid edge two to three times a day. A cotton swab or moistened cosmetic tissue is suitable for massage and cleansing. Another household remedy that helps with eyelid inflammation is heat.

You can make moist warm compresses with a washcloth or use a warm gel mask and warm cotton pads. You can also use a red light lamp. This should have a temperature between 38 and 45 degrees.

During heat therapy, the secretion is liquefied and can drain more easily. If you apply heat therapy for about 10 minutes. If you have an eyelid inflammation, you can use homeopathic remedies, depending on the cause and symptoms.

The remedy of choice for inflammatory or allergic processes involving the eyes is Euphrasia in potency D12. Euphrasia (also called eyebright) is a native plant and contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substances. You should be careful with the use of chamomile for eye inflammation, as chamomile can cause allergic reactions in the eye.