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deni's avatar

What could this itching and irritation at the base of my eyelashes be?

Asked by deni (22211 points ) December 20th, 2012

This probably started about a month ago or so. Where my eyelid meets eyelashes, it’s been very itchy but nothing visibly is wrong. I’ll be going about my day to day life and BOOM an itch so bad it cannot be ignored. So I scratch it but it’s a really inconvenient place to scratch and I also have mascara on usually so then that’s everywhere and it’s a big ugly mess. But, I can’t figure out where this problem is stemming from, and it’s getting worse. Also I only get one eye doctor visit a year so I’m waiting til the new year to go see my optometrist. Things that may be relevant: I have not changed brands of mascara or make up. I wear glasses. I’ve never had any problems with my eyes. I really want to get to the bottom of this so I can maybe possibly treat it somehow, but it’s a weird issue and google isn’t yielding any helpful results. Has anyone ever had this before???? Any inklings? Anything?

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13 Answers

deni's avatar

I should add that at first, I’d get this irresistible itch about once every few days, that’s when I started noticing it. Then it was maybe once a day on average. Now, my left eyelid feels irritated almost always, and I’ve itched it several times today alone.

Imbalance of bacteria?

gailcalled's avatar

I have had styes regularly. They are tiny infections of the hair follicles. My doctor told me to wash my eyelashes nightly with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.

Info about styes

Since I have been using the Baby Shampoo (I use a clean, damp wash cloth and dab a drop of the shampoo on the cloth.) i have had no reocurrances.

The early warning is always itching. When I look, I can see a little red area with a tiny dot of pus.

The other trick, if one has developed, is to use warm compresses to soak the infection. Again I use a clean wash cloth, saturate it with very hot water, squeeze and hold over area for several minutes. You can do this five or six times a day.

I would also, for the moment, stop wearing eye make-up. Then buy fresh mascara. Wash your hands before applying it.

deni's avatar

@gailcalled Could that still be the case if there is no redness and nothing at all unusual visible on my eye, the left one specifically?

gailcalled's avatar

I cannot possibly answer that. You might try using hot (not hot enough to burn) compresses on the irritated area for 24 hours to see whether that affords you some relief.

You don’t need an eye doctor. Your PCP can have a look to see whether there’s an irritation or scratch or an eyelash stuck in there somewhere (unlikely).

Left or right is irrelevant. Remember that tomorrow is Friday and then the dreaded week-end and then the holidays where there is apt to be fewer choices if you need medical attention.

Seek's avatar

@gailcalled has given excellent advice, I’d just like to drive home the point about eye makeup. Anything that has touched your eye since this began – chuck it.

Bellatrix's avatar

It could be you have developed an allergic reaction to a produce you are using. I found after using the same mascara for years I developed an eye irritation that went away when I changed brands. If you can do what @gailcalled in terms of the compresses, stay make-up free for a while and then if it comes back perhaps try a different brand of mascara.

Sunny2's avatar

As @Bellatrix suggested, sounds like an allergic reaction to your eye make up. Be sure to take all of the eye make up off, using a non-irritating cleansing cream, followed by gentle soap and water. Try going without the makeup for a week and see if the itch goes away. If so, look for another brad (Physician’s Formula or Almay are recommended as non allergic products.)

hearkat's avatar

It could also be a reaction to eye creams, facial wash, eye makeup remover, or any other products you use near your eyes. It could also be a reaction to fumes – do you notice that the itch only occurs in certain areas or at specific times?

Also, your one eye exam per year is for a vision exam. But in the case of a medical eye problem, you should be able to see an eye specialty MD – an ophthalmologist – and pay your specialist copay. If you require referrals, call your primary and ask, some don’t require a visit for something as delicate as the eyes, but you may need to wait a couple days for them to prepare the referral.

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t read the above answers.

I would go without eye make-up for several days and see if it stops happening, and then start using it again and see if it starts up. It may be the make-up is getting old, and not necessarily that you are allergic to the particular brand, you can develop an allergy though.

Also, your health insurance should cover an eye problem. The one time a year visit is a regular check-up for sight and pressure in the eye. This is different. For instance if God forbid you had a significant injury to your eye, that is a medical problem covered by medical insurance usually, not vision insurance. Also, It seems like a GP or maybe even a dermatologist could treat it if you don’t figure it out on your own and I am wrong about the opthamologist coverage with your health insurance.

Pandora's avatar

You can still develop an allergy to stuff you have used for years. As we age our bodies change and we develop new allergies. I would try not wearing mascara for a month and make sure you are rinsing your face very well. Could also be the allergy is from mites from your mascara.
Here is a good link on eye mites .

Ren622's avatar

Wash your eyelashes and lids a few times a day w a gentle soap…sounds like allergies to dander or small particles that get stuck in the lashes..

gailcalled's avatar

^^^NO, please. Using even gentle soap on or near your eyes will sting and irritate them even further. That is why doctors say to use a mild baby shampoo that doesn’t sting.

Ren622's avatar

Actually no it wont I went to school for ophthalmology thank you very much.

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