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Eyelid Atopic or Contact Dermatitis

Eyelid Dermatitis (Eczema)  presents with redness, swelling, itching and scaling of the skin of the eyelids and can be a result of multiple factors. Contact with chemical allergen, airborne allergens and irritants are major causes of dermatitis in this area. Dust mite allergy may be the most common cause, but contact allergy is also very common. The sensitiivty to contact allergens is greater on the skin of the eyelids than elsewhere because it is very thin. Thus it  can respond to substances that otherwise do not affect other areas of the body. Most substances affecting the eyelids are transferred by the hands. These include preservatives such as parabens, methyl methacrylate, colophony  and toluene sulphonamide formaldehyde resin in nail polish, fragrances and neomycin in topically applied ointments.
Contact lens solutions containing thimerosal were a cause of eyelid dermatitis until several years ago, but have been removed from all commercially available preparations. Eyelash curlers made of nickel can also be a cause of eyelid eczema. Likewise, if the curlers contain a rubber tip, this can also be a sensitizer. Other causes of eyelid dermatitis  include atopic dermatitis, which is worsened by airborne or food allergens and seborrheic dermatitis, from hypersensitivity reaction to the skin's own oils and bacteria and possibly mites.
Rosacea can also be confused with eyelid eczema when it does not have the common distribution in the central  "butterfly" area  of the face. Some people attempt folk remedies such as Preparation H to relieve eyelid swelling. This should be avoided because it contains many substances that are contact allergens. Ice packs should also be avoided to prevent frostbite or thermal injury.
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