Everything you ever wanted to know about eyelid allergies

Eyelid allergies, also known as contact eye allergies, are basically an allergic inflammation of the skin on the eyelid.  Eyelid allergies are caused by direct contact with some sort of allergen.  The most common allergen that causes eyelid allergies is cosmetics, although a number of common ointments like Neosporin or contact lens solutions can also cause a breakout on the eyelids.  Contact lens solutions that contain thimerosal are especially suspect when it comes to causing eyelid allergies.

Like other types of allergies, an eyelid allergy is essentially the overreaction of the body’s immune system to something in the environment.  If your allergy is seasonal, then your doctor will likely provide a cell stabilizer.  This will help relieve your symptoms during allergy season.  You’ll have to start taking the medication either right before or soon after your symptoms begin.  Once you’ve been diagnosed with this type of seasonal allergy, it’s pretty easy to predict when you’ll start to suffer from allergies again.

Symptoms of eyelid allergies are very similar to poison ivy, although they only appear on the eyelids.  They usually don’t show up until a day or two after the skin was exposed to the allergen.  Eyelid allergies basically look like tiny red blisters on the eyelids.  They are usually very itchy, and the itchiness can even spread to the eye itself, which can become itchy and watery.  The easiest way to get rid of these symptoms is to stop using whatever product caused the breakout in the first place, but sometimes it can be difficult to determine exactly what is causing it. 

If your contact lens solution is the culprit, then you may want to switch to hypoallergenic contact lenses.  Your eye doctor will also be able to recommend a contact lens solution that is also easier on your eyes.  If the breakout is severe, then your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream to help relieve your symptoms.  Another good solution for relieving eyelid allergies is a cool compress.  This will help cool down the skin while it tries to repair itself.  Doctors may also recommend artificial tears to help flush the remaining allergen out of the eyes.


In some cases, contact lenses may actually cause eyelid allergies.  It’s not always necessary to discontinue use of contact lenses in this case, although it may be necessary in very severe cases.  Before you resort to stopping the use of all contact lenses, there are a few things you can try.  Sometimes simply decreasing the amount of time you spend wearing your contact lenses is enough to cut back on your eyelid breakouts.  Another option is changing your habits of cleaning the lenses.  Sometimes extra deep cleaning can help out.  You also may find relief by switching to disposable contact lenses.  Disposable lenses come in a wide variety of choices, including some that can be thrown out after just one day.  The only downside to disposable contact lenses is that they can be rather expensive.





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