Red eyelids usually mean inflamed or irritated eyelids. There are any number of potential causes, most of which are somewhat rare, and two or three rather common ones. At times red eyelids can be one of the symptoms associated with a systemic disease or disorder, a disease that affects the body as a whole and may carry with it a host of symptoms. Hypothyroidism, congestive heart failure, and renal failure are just three systemic disorders which can cause red eyelids.
Blepharitis - The most common eye disease, and fortunately one of the most easily treated, is a condition known as blepharitis. Blepharitis is simply the medical term for eye irritation and can result from a number of conditions. Irritants or particles in the air can often cause the eyelids to become itchy, and if the condition persists, red eyelids can result. These particular instances normally clear up in a relatively short time, often well before the eyelids have a chance to redden. A bacterial infection is another cause of blepharitis. These tend to be low grade infections for the most part, one exception being an infection by the herpes zoster bacteria, or shingles. Even this more severe infection will usually go away on its own, but can be one of the more unpleasant infections to deal with. Besides the herpes zoster virus, one type of bacteria commonly associated with eyelid irritation and redness is staphylococcus aureus.
Cosmetics Are A Major Cause - A simplified look at the structure of the eyelid reveals three different layers. The outer layer is the skin, which in the eyelid is quite thin. The inner layer is composed of moist tissue, and the middle layer contains the eyelid muscles and glands. It is often the openings of these glands which are most susceptible to infection and resulting red eyelids. However, diseases, allergens, and infection can affect any of the three layers, causing inflammation and irritation. Cosmetics rank as a leading cause of eyelid irritation and redness. It's not cosmetics in general, but ingredients within certain products that may cause an allergic reaction and/or irritation. In applying cosmetics to the facial area it's important to remember that the skin of the eyelid is much more sensitive to what may come into contact with it that is the skin covering the rest of the face.
Several Skin Disorders Can Cause Red Eyelids - Skin disorders, such as eczema, and cellulitis can lead to red eyelids. Cellulitis is fairly common and is a spreading bacterial infection affecting the deeper layers of the skin. Most often found on the legs and other parts of the anatomy, cellulitis occasionally appears on facial skin, particularly in the area around the eye sockets and also the eyelids. Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria are the two most common types associated with cellulitis. A similar disorder, impetigo, is often confused with cellulitis, but only affects the outer layer of the skin, and is very much a superficial infection. Seborrheic dermatitis, most commonly known as scalp dandruff, and acne rosacea, are two skin disorders that occasionally affect the eyelids.
Treatment Generally Simple - Treatment in some instances consists of either applying a topical medication or taking an oral antibiotic. Simply cleansing the eyelid tissues often goes a long ways towards clearing up eyelid infection, irritation, or inflammation. One of the best preventatives is keeping the area around the eye, including the eyelids, extremely clean at all times. Wearing eye protection when there are irritants in the air can help as well, since not all instances of red eyelids are caused by disease, but many are due to external factors that can sometimes be avoided.
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