why do the inside corners of my eyes itch
I think I know what is going on and what you can do to make things better. It sounds like you are suffering from an anterior segment/tear film issue. Many times, for all sorts of reasons, the anterior surface of the eye starts to have difficulties. What can cause this? Well, there are a number of conditions but the most common are dry eyes, allergies and blepharitis. many times all three conditions act together to make you miserable. In order to solve your problem you need to address all of these issues at the same time. When it comes to allergies it is almost impossible to pin down the offending agent(s) and, therefore, treatment needs to focus on controlling the symptoms. Dry eyes are very common and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production, if this doesn t work then you can try temporary punctal occlusion of the lower puncta, then, if needed, temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta, then if indicated, surgical ( non-reversible) closure of the puncta. The openings to your tear drainage system are called puncta and you have one opening on each lid, near your nose. Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk. You may not be able to see this gunk yourself, unless it is really bad, but it shows up clearly on slit lamp examination. The best treatment for this condition daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses.
I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on your eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils. Baby shampoo lid scrubs will also help to wash away allergens and stimulate tear production, thereby addressing all three of your issues. Remember, this is not an instant fix. While you are waiting for the lid scrubs to have affect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or Zyrtec. In your case I also suggest using 1% hydrocortisone cream (you can buy it almost anywhere without an Rx) and placing it on the affected corners twice daily. Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just do not get better in 3 weeks or so you should have a complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist to look for other, less common, causes of your symptoms. I understand that this treatment seems a bit "too low tech" to be of value, but after 2 decades of clinical practice, I can assure you (even from personal experience) that it does indeed, work.
Dry eyes are caused by a lack of tears or poor quality tears, which can cause the corner of your eyes to become dry. There are a few possible reasons for this -- age, the environment, medications, medical conditions.
Preventing dry eye can help prevent the corners of your eyes from becoming dry as well; there are also treatments. Dry eye is characterized by insufficient moisture or lubrication in the eye or in the features that protect the eye, according to the Eye Care Source website. A dryness in the eyes and surrounding area are commonly associated with dryness of other mucous membranes, tear production or excessive tear production. Often the dryness and soreness results from constantly wiping away excess tears from your eyes. The corner of your eyes may get irritated, burn or feel gritty and the skin may swell or flake. Hydrated skin has plump cells, but when the skin dries out, those cells shrivel and fine lines may appear, says MayoClinic. com. Tears help keep the surface of the eye healthy and provide clear vision, according to the American Optometric Association. Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water and mucus. The inner layer of the eye is made up of mucus, which helps spread tears evenly over the surface of your eye. The middle layer is water and salt, which cleanse the eye and wash away irritants. The outer layer consists of oil; this helps slow the evaporation of water in the middle layer. The layers work together to soothe the eye, wash away dust and dirt and defend against infections while providing oxygen and nutrients to the cornea, according to the Eye Care Source website. The most common reason for your eyes to dry out is a lack of water in the middle layer of your tears, according to the American Optometric Association.
Dry eyes can cause the surrounding skin area to dry out as well, leaving a gritty crust in the corners. Hormones or aging are common reasons eyes dry out. Your eyes generate less tears as you get older. Allergies can dry out your eyes and cause the skin to be irritated and red. Your eyes may be itchy, leading to raw skin around the eyes. Sjogren's syndrome is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the mucous membranes, causing them to be extremely dry. Due to an autoimmune disorder, white blood cells damage the glands that secrete fluids, according to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Sjogren's syndrome dries out the corner of the eyes, causing thick secretions to collect in the corners. The treatment used most often for dry eyes is over-the-counter artificial tears. Whether it's eye drops that provide temporary relief or prescription drops for long-term use, treatment for dry eyes depends on which works best for you. Options are also available for partially or completely closing your tear ducts to help limit the amount of tears lost, according to MayoClinic. com. The plugs block the drainage of tears and can be temporary or permanent. There is no cure for Sjogren's syndrome, but artificial tear drops help keep your eyes moistened. If you experience dryness in the corner of your eyes, contact your doctor. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help keep your body hydrated. A nutritious diet that contains vitamins A, C and E, and omega-3 fatty acids are good nutrients for your eyes. Get plenty of sleep and blink often.
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