A man removes his glasses and grabs at his itching eyes that appear red and blotchy.

Constant Eye Infections Triggered by Eczema

One of the main by-products of having atopic eczema is the problem of recurring eye infections. The constant scratching means that there is always a high chance of a bacterial infection.

Sticky eyes and eyelids

Today, for instance, as is the case most days, I woke up unable to open my eyes properly due to the sticky substance that forms under the eye-lids and in the corner of the eyes. My normal course of action is to use salty warm water and cotton wool to clean out and disinfect the infected areas. While this process soothes and cleans my eyes, the water contact around my eyes; the eye-lids, and the skin directly under the eye, means that it can be an extremely uncomfortable process.

Wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day

If I have broken skin on my eye-lids, which used to be a common occurrence but thankfully less so now, contact from the warm water would irritate and sting my skin seeming to exacerbate the whole process. My eyes would then appear red and blotchy and I would need to wear sunglasses even on an overcast day, thus giving me the appearance of someone who is heavily involved in criminality. Not a look I am aspiring to achieve. I don't mean to make light of the issue, it's just that it drives me mad and sometimes you just have to see the funny side of it or you'd be in danger of going utterly insane!

Using antihistamines

Having swollen red eyes gives me such anxiety when meeting new people, so if I'm having a particularly bad attack, I will use antihistamines to try and reduce the redness and swelling. A good non-drowsy one like, Loratadine which works for me.

Why I don't use eye drops

In 2014 I developed a particularly bad eye infection which warranted a trip to the local hospital. My left eye had become so bad that the skin around the eye looked burnt and raw. It was unbelievably painful. Anyway, to cut a massively long story short, the brilliant doctor discovered it was actually a viral infection. He prescribed me the appropriate medication to help with the recovery. He also did some tests and told me that I was allergic to Chloramphenicol, an eye drop medication I was using at the time thinking I had contracted conjunctivitis. Although that said, many eye infections can turn into conjunctivitis, so it's worth looking into if you're unsure.

I have used other eye treatments before but I personally do not find any of them effective, hence using warm water and cotton wool.

Spreading the infection

When having a specially bad itching fit, I am ever conscious about the spread of infection. The watery substance from my eyes can spread across my entire face causing my eczema to flare. In order to prevent this I, where possible, try to wash my face straight away. Of course, it goes without saying that I wash my hands regularly to help further prevent infection, however, I have found that using some of these antibacterial gels and sprays really does exacerbate the itching. Using a gentle soap, like Dove or my Epaderm emollient works well.

Another point to consider is using a perfume-free shampoo. This may help when water from showers and baths comes into contact with the eyes.

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