Red Eyes (surrounding skin)

Posted by alexsteph @alexsteph, May 26, 2019

The skin around my eyes has become suddenly red. It's been 5 weeks, with 3 flare ups and mild redness in between each.

Redness persists in the corner of my left eye, below the tear duct. It's slightly raised. When it spreads, it is very quick and makes the socket of both eyes very red. The skin is dry, though not flaky nor itchy. It burns when I apply any moisturiser.

Within the first week, the following changes occurred
– started the pill (Femme Tab 30/150) – 2-3 days before I noticed redness
– change of weather; colder, low humidity, windier – within the past few weeks

So far, to no positive effect, I have tried:
– DermAid 1%
– DermAid 1% Soft
– Prednisone steroids (prescribed 3 pills for 3 days)
– Daily Zyrtec
– Huidifier in bedroom
– Aveeno Dermexa moisturiser
– Cetaphil Restoraderm Moisturiser
– Natural moisturiser custom made (skin flared up with bumps all over)
– Change of bedsheets, twice
– Cleaned windows (in case of mold)
– Haven't used a face wash, just water

1 chemist and 2 doctors have diagnosed the redness as ezcema. Is there a chance it's something else, that I've been treating wrongly? Am I doing something wrong? Is there something else I should try? I feel helpless and too embarrassed to go anywhere

Hi @alexsteph and welcome to Connect. That must be so awful having this unexplainable redness in your eyes.

I wanted to tag other Connect member @gardeningjunkie as she has experience with eczema.

Back to you @alexsteph, is there anything different that happens before your flareups?

REPLY

I am unaware of what type of eczema you have been diagnosed with. In order to treat correctly you must know what type you have. If a doctor told you you had cancer you would ask what type because you know each type is treated specifically.

If you are suspecting that contacts are the issue you must get the 5 Day Extended Patch Test to test for Allergic Contact Dermatitis, ACD, a common form. The term dermatitis and eczema are interchangeable. Look up this exact test. It can tell you if you are allergic to a hundred different contacts like your grooming products, linens, detergent, preservatives and even cortisone. The Patch Test is covered by my Medicare and most insurance plans but if uninsured ask your doctor if he/she knows of any discounts from the test kit companies. This test saved my life as I was so miserable with my eczema symptoms.

One type of location specific eczema is Perioral Eczema, while usually around the mouth it can also be around the eyes. This form is actually fed by steroids and occlusive (heavy) moisturizers. I noticed you are using hydro-cortisone to treat it (DermAid). I personally am allergic to both the Aveeno and Cetaphil you are using. I assume you have given up make up, a must, until you get tested. Don't even try to hide it with a concealer, this could be triggering it if allergic. If Perioral your skin must be kept clean, wash twice daily, but there are few soaps safe for most skins. You also need a soap that is not drying. I love Grandma's Lye Soap for face and body, new name is Grandma's Soap. It is a bar soap, only 2 ingredients: lye and lard. The lye is converted to glycerin during the soap making process so all that contacts you is lard and glycerin. It cleans and moisturizes. Go to their website and learn about it. I've used for over 5 years and just last year got approved by the Mayo as a SkinSafe product.

If you have eczema you must be proactive like we have all learned to be. Educate yourself. Best site I have found is the New Zealand Dermatology site, dermnetnz.org.

Go to their eczema site and try to identify a type that you may have. Their photos helped me diagnose 1 of my 3 different forms which my derm was treating as another type and treating it incorrectly. I brought her information from the website asking if she thought I had this form and all she said was "Oh yeah, that's what you have". With so many skin diseases and so many forms of eczema doctors need our help sometime. Once this new form of eczema for me was identified it was treated correctly and I no long have any symptoms.

Also with contact avoidance I am presently free of my debilitating ACD symptoms. It took me years to learn enough to get the right diagnosis's and treatments. You were right to visit multiple doctors, as it was necessary for me to do so also.

Share with us what form of eczema you have we may have your form and can tell you what did and didn't work for us. If you have not been told, demand testing.

REPLY

Hello @alexsteph,

I am sorry to hear about your problem with the reddened skin around your eyes. I have had blepharitis which makes the eyelids very red (and in my case produced recurring styes as well) and I remember well how tough it was to deal with red eyes. Sometimes, skin problems of that sort can be helped with a course of tetracycline. Has anyone suggested that? Also, have you seen an ophthalmologist or just dermatologists?

REPLY
@gardeningjunkie

I am unaware of what type of eczema you have been diagnosed with. In order to treat correctly you must know what type you have. If a doctor told you you had cancer you would ask what type because you know each type is treated specifically.

If you are suspecting that contacts are the issue you must get the 5 Day Extended Patch Test to test for Allergic Contact Dermatitis, ACD, a common form. The term dermatitis and eczema are interchangeable. Look up this exact test. It can tell you if you are allergic to a hundred different contacts like your grooming products, linens, detergent, preservatives and even cortisone. The Patch Test is covered by my Medicare and most insurance plans but if uninsured ask your doctor if he/she knows of any discounts from the test kit companies. This test saved my life as I was so miserable with my eczema symptoms.

One type of location specific eczema is Perioral Eczema, while usually around the mouth it can also be around the eyes. This form is actually fed by steroids and occlusive (heavy) moisturizers. I noticed you are using hydro-cortisone to treat it (DermAid). I personally am allergic to both the Aveeno and Cetaphil you are using. I assume you have given up make up, a must, until you get tested. Don't even try to hide it with a concealer, this could be triggering it if allergic. If Perioral your skin must be kept clean, wash twice daily, but there are few soaps safe for most skins. You also need a soap that is not drying. I love Grandma's Lye Soap for face and body, new name is Grandma's Soap. It is a bar soap, only 2 ingredients: lye and lard. The lye is converted to glycerin during the soap making process so all that contacts you is lard and glycerin. It cleans and moisturizes. Go to their website and learn about it. I've used for over 5 years and just last year got approved by the Mayo as a SkinSafe product.

If you have eczema you must be proactive like we have all learned to be. Educate yourself. Best site I have found is the New Zealand Dermatology site, dermnetnz.org.

Go to their eczema site and try to identify a type that you may have. Their photos helped me diagnose 1 of my 3 different forms which my derm was treating as another type and treating it incorrectly. I brought her information from the website asking if she thought I had this form and all she said was "Oh yeah, that's what you have". With so many skin diseases and so many forms of eczema doctors need our help sometime. Once this new form of eczema for me was identified it was treated correctly and I no long have any symptoms.

Also with contact avoidance I am presently free of my debilitating ACD symptoms. It took me years to learn enough to get the right diagnosis's and treatments. You were right to visit multiple doctors, as it was necessary for me to do so also.

Share with us what form of eczema you have we may have your form and can tell you what did and didn't work for us. If you have not been told, demand testing.

Jump to this post

Thank you so much! This is so useful and, honestly, so reassuring. I'm seeing a dermatologist tomorrow so I'll get reading on the different types of eczema so I can go to the appointment informed.

I've never had allergies to anything before, but I do feel that this issue is a reaction to something, as it comes on very suddenly and burns/tingles. Also not sure if this could be a possible trigger, but I had a bad case of Glandular Fever a month or so ago, which definitely weakened my immune system. Does this seem possibly connected?

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Hello @alexsteph,

I am sorry to hear about your problem with the reddened skin around your eyes. I have had blepharitis which makes the eyelids very red (and in my case produced recurring styes as well) and I remember well how tough it was to deal with red eyes. Sometimes, skin problems of that sort can be helped with a course of tetracycline. Has anyone suggested that? Also, have you seen an ophthalmologist or just dermatologists?

Jump to this post

I did notice a stye on my right eye, it was small and only painful for a few days before the pain went away and the bump disappeared a day or so after. I haven't tried tetracycline, but I'll mention the possibility of Blepharitus in my derm appt tomorrow and see what they say. Fingers crossed this gets sorted soon !

REPLY
@alexsteph

Thank you so much! This is so useful and, honestly, so reassuring. I'm seeing a dermatologist tomorrow so I'll get reading on the different types of eczema so I can go to the appointment informed.

I've never had allergies to anything before, but I do feel that this issue is a reaction to something, as it comes on very suddenly and burns/tingles. Also not sure if this could be a possible trigger, but I had a bad case of Glandular Fever a month or so ago, which definitely weakened my immune system. Does this seem possibly connected?

Jump to this post

You can get eczema at any age and for a multitude of reasons. I am not a medical professional but have first hand experience after developing my first form of eczema, ACD, at age 51. I also learned I had Adult Leukemia that year. Leukemia is an auto-immune disease. Before age 51 I had hay-fever, an environmental allergy, but my skin was good and never had rashes or even acne. No known contact allergies previously. I don't know your age but eczema can strike at any age, even babies often have a common form called Atopic, but adults can also develop Atopic. Atopic is a challenge, as it often starts at a young age and the standard steroid treatments end up causing major side affects or stop working. Yet the good news for the Atopic is a new, expensive, but miraculous treatment called Dupixent which works for many.

A very rare thing happened to me, my Adult Leukemia, an incurable or chronic form started improving without any treatment 7 years ago and disappeared 4 years ago at age 66, about the same time my ACD went wild, believe me life was not worth living and I also developed 2 additional forms of eczema
.
Eczema is an autoimmune disease so if you have have it you do have a compromised immune system. Surprisingly I haven't had a cold in 20 years and when my entire family (even with flu shots) was bedridden with the flu I might have had it but my symptoms were so mild, just feeling tired and lacking an appetite may have been based on sympathy and the effort required keeping others clean and cared for.

As mentioned, keep searching and learning and to give you hope realize all 3 forms of my eczema are under control now, but seems there is no universal treatment, yes some more effective than others and all of us need our own treatment plan. Trial and error.

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@alexsteph

I did notice a stye on my right eye, it was small and only painful for a few days before the pain went away and the bump disappeared a day or so after. I haven't tried tetracycline, but I'll mention the possibility of Blepharitus in my derm appt tomorrow and see what they say. Fingers crossed this gets sorted soon !

Jump to this post

Good idea, @alexsteph! I hope you get some relief. I look forward to hearing from you again. Will you post an update after your appointment?

REPLY

So, my derm suggested it was an allergic reaction to a makeup product – concealer or something. But I'm really not a big makeup-wearer so I must admit I was skeptical about that. Regardless, he prescribed me to 3 days (day and night application) of Advantan Ointment "Methyprednisolone Aceponate" which has worked a miracle. I applied it at 2pm Tuesday and by 8pm that night it was remarkably better. By now, Wednesday night, it's almost completely gone.

Additionally, I might've had some luck finding out what my allergen is – linseed oil. I'm an oil painter and have started using a new linseed oil to dilute my paints. I noticed this afternoon that after painting for 1-2hrs that my eyes were redder, so I put it all away and gave it some time, and now, the redness (with the help of the cream) has died down a lot. I went back through my camera roll, and found that almost every photo I've taken of my eyes has been right after update photos of my paintings. It's just a guess, but I think now that I have this cream, I might give it a test on the weekend

REPLY

Good detective work, @alexsteph! It sounds like you may have found the root problem!

When I was having several months of blepharitis I was told not to use eye make-up, but I never had because any eye make-up that I tried caused allergic reactions.

I'm glad that you found the source of your problem. I hope you continue to do well. I'd like to know how you continue to fare. Will you post an update after a while?

REPLY
@alexsteph

So, my derm suggested it was an allergic reaction to a makeup product – concealer or something. But I'm really not a big makeup-wearer so I must admit I was skeptical about that. Regardless, he prescribed me to 3 days (day and night application) of Advantan Ointment "Methyprednisolone Aceponate" which has worked a miracle. I applied it at 2pm Tuesday and by 8pm that night it was remarkably better. By now, Wednesday night, it's almost completely gone.

Additionally, I might've had some luck finding out what my allergen is – linseed oil. I'm an oil painter and have started using a new linseed oil to dilute my paints. I noticed this afternoon that after painting for 1-2hrs that my eyes were redder, so I put it all away and gave it some time, and now, the redness (with the help of the cream) has died down a lot. I went back through my camera roll, and found that almost every photo I've taken of my eyes has been right after update photos of my paintings. It's just a guess, but I think now that I have this cream, I might give it a test on the weekend

Jump to this post

So glad you are getting clues about a possible allergic reaction and that the topical is helping. Your topical is supressing your allergic reaction and yes is a miracle for getting relief but not getting to the root of the problem If you believe you are having an allergic reaction please if you can find the money get the 5 Day Extended Patch Test. If you have one allergy you will have more and your symptoms become more severe with each contact. Not all dermatologists are licensed to perform this test. They get a special license from the test kit companies and they limit the licensed doctors in each area. This test gave me my life back! I was treated topically for 10 years, just like you are doing now. Yes I would temporary relief from my symptoms only to have them reappear more severly. A vicious cycle because I was only treating the symptoms and not eliminating the cause.

REPLY
@gardeningjunkie

So glad you are getting clues about a possible allergic reaction and that the topical is helping. Your topical is supressing your allergic reaction and yes is a miracle for getting relief but not getting to the root of the problem If you believe you are having an allergic reaction please if you can find the money get the 5 Day Extended Patch Test. If you have one allergy you will have more and your symptoms become more severe with each contact. Not all dermatologists are licensed to perform this test. They get a special license from the test kit companies and they limit the licensed doctors in each area. This test gave me my life back! I was treated topically for 10 years, just like you are doing now. Yes I would temporary relief from my symptoms only to have them reappear more severly. A vicious cycle because I was only treating the symptoms and not eliminating the cause.

Jump to this post

Hello @gardeningjunkie,

I find this interesting and I'm sure others would as well.

Could you tell a little more about this test? How long did it take and what type of results did you get back?

REPLY

Lots of info on the internet. Many are confused thinking they have had allergy testing, but many, including me decades ago were tested for environmental allergies like pollen, grasses, dogs, cats and so on. The 5 Day Extended Test is for contact allergens like to latex, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, metals and so on. The environmental takes only 30 minutes to get results in the allergists office. The 5 Day Test is exactly that, 5 days with your entire back between shoulders and to the bra line lined with usually about 78 test site bandages. Out of 78 I reacted to 5, but knowing what they were gave me my life back. I learned what to avoid for life. Allergists of dermatologists can be licensed for this test. I had the True Test Kit plus one one kit. So read up, True Test has a good informative website.

REPLY
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