Dry Eyelids

What causes dry eyelids?

The most common causes of dry eyelids are dry and cold weather, certain skin care products, environmental allergens, contact dermatitis and excessive eye rubbing. The skin around your eyes is very thin and more sensitive than the skin on the other parts of your body. So, it’s more prone to irritation. Everything from aging to allergens in the environment can make it red, dry and flaky.

What are the signs and symptoms of dry eyelids?

Flaking dry skin with redness and itching. The itching is usually a hallmark of an allergic reaction. Most often due to new cosmetic products or other allergens that come in contact with the skin.

How to treat dry eyelids?

It’s important to incorporate a dry lid treatment regimen into your daily routine. At night, apply a small amount of moisturizing ointment before bedtime to help trap moisture in your lids while you sleep. Also avoid using any cosmetic products on your eyelids. If the lids are red and itchy a small dab of 1% hydrocortisone cream or gel will help calm things down. This should only be used for a very short period of time as for a day or two. Steroid compounds that leak into the eye may raise your eye pressure if used for an extended period of time.

What are the home remedies to treat dry eyelids?

Small amounts of Vaseline on the lids to retain moisture will help the skin heal and remain hydrated. If the lids are red and irritated, cold compresses will also help bring the inflammation down. This can be made with an ice pack wrapped in a towel used for about 10 minutes two or three times per day. If the lid skin is split or cracked, a very small amount of zinc oxide as in desitin cream or ointment will help heal the fissure. Make sure to keep on the eyelid only and to avoid getting into your eyes.

Can dry eyelids become complicated?

Dry eyelids can become a more serious problem if the skin becomes infected. This will make the eyelid very red, swollen and painful. If this occurs, see your doctor as soon as possible to be treated with oral antibiotics.

When to see a doctor?

If symptoms do not resolve in a few days or get worse see your doctor for evaluation and treatment. If left untreated, dry eyelids may become chronic and lead to other complications such as infection and scarring. It’s important to seek medical help if your symptoms don’t improve in a few days.

Can stress cause dry eyelids?

Stress can trigger a release of corticotropin-releasing hormone, glucocorticoids, and epinephrine which are indirectly involved in flare ups of psoriasis, acne and dermatitis. While the exact mechanism of stress induced skin complications is not completely understood, we do know that stress has a long term deleterious effect on skin health and may contribute to dry eyelids in the absence of other causes.

Can I put olive oil or Vaseline on my eyelids?  

Small amounts of Vaseline directly on the lid and not in the eye should be OK. Olive oil is too thin and may run into the eye itself creating a burning sensation and blurred vision.