Our Locations:

36 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT

115 Technology Drive
Trumbull, CT

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Determining the cause of redness, swelling and itching of the eyes is often a more challenging problem than it appears to be. The eye and surrounding tissues are complex sensitive and delicate structures that are easily affected by allergens, irritants and other medical conditions. The first step in determining the cause is to localize the site of the problem. It is important to try to isolate the symptoms by examining the eyeball, eyelids and surrounding structures including the lashes and eyelid margins. If the surface of both eyes are red, itchy or watery, airborne allergens such as dust mites, pollen or animal dander are commonly the cause. In severe cases, there can be fluid collecting under the lining of the eyeball giving the cornea a “fish eye” or depressed appearance alled chemosis. This occurs more commonly in children.  Eyelids may also be puffy, while the skin looks normal. Dried yellow debris on both eyelashes may be seen at with allergies, infection and other conditions. Red, irritated and itchy eyes can also be seen with infection. However, one eye tends to be affected more than the other and the discharge is more yellow and thicker. It is more likely in people without a history of allergies. One must also not overlook rosacea, which also causes red, itchy and burning eyes. The typical facial rash on the cheeks and chin may not be present. An allergy test can help distinguis the two . Eyelids are affected by allergic and non-allergic processes without involving the eyeballs. Most commonly seen is eyelid eczema. It usually affects both eyelids with a red itchy rash. Over time the skin begins to thicken, become darker and flaky. A strong association is found with dust mite allergy, but the exact connection to the rash has not been worked out. If the eyelids are not equally affected, eczema may be caused by contact with a chemical allergen. Contact occurs from a substance on the hands transferred to the eyes. No rash is present on the hands because the thicker skin prevents penetration. Contact eczema is seen more frequently in women than men, but the ratios are changing. Common allergens include fragrances, preservatives, metals, sunscreens and acrylics in artificial nails and polish. A patch test can be performed to determine the cause. Swelling itching and irritation of the eyelids has other non-allergic causes. The most common is related to blockage of glands on the eyelid edges that release a waxy lubricant onto the eye. The waxy lubricant can solidify and increase the pressure in the microscopic glands resulting in redness and swelling of the lids. Examination will show white material blocking the ducts on the lid edges. Warm compresses, scrubbing and fish oils may be helpful, If you are suffering from an eye or lid problems, we have the tools to find the cause and provide effective treatment.