Extreme swelling, redness - please help

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I was told by an eye doctor 3 days ago that I have a  "bad" case of blepharitis.  I personally feel that it is horrible, terrible.  I really need some help, comments, suggestions in my game plan PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!  I've never had eye problems before EVER, with the exception of pink eye when I was very young.  I've never been to an eye doctor, do not have vision insurance, nor have ever even used eye drops.  It started 3 weeks ago with a tiny itch that I thought was the possible beginning of a stye/pink eye.  My eyes are still getting worse and worse- they were and are still so swollen that I can barely see (no joke) and so red/bright pink/burgundy that I - no exaggeration - look worse than a raccoon but red (not sure what else to compare this to).  I am crying as I write this (at the same time that my eyes are oozing, lol) because it feels so helpless.  In addition to extreme swelling, redness, I also have skin irritation that feels (and looks) like chaffing/chapped completely around my whole eye area, from where my cheeks start up to my eyebrows almost and all around the sides.  - almost like rug burn with tiny bumps in some areas that I am guessing is irritation from baby shampoo/qtip scrubs (go figure), but I'm not sure about that.  I have blurred vision (might be the coats of ointment and vaseline, though, mixed in with tears and oozing). My eyes have been so swollen that wrinkles appear from the inflammation and inside of those wrinkles, they are crusting/drying, and when the skin comes off, I have these cuts/exposed skin that hurt oh so bad.  It may be the beginning of ulcers, I just can't tell.  I've had this horrible swelling for over 2 weeks now and the wrinkles are at the top and bottom eyelids.

I work in a business  professional environment.  I've had to take off/leave early/come in late way too many times in the past few weeks.  I've visited the allergist (doc initially thought it was allergic bleph b/c of the amount of swelling), saw an opthamologist 3 days ago, and spoke with/seen a general doctor many times.  To make this all more fun, I am also a single mom, whose kids keep telling me, "you're getting old, mom."  smile smile

It makes me feel fatigued and I do not have time for that.  

I do not have dandruff or acne rosecea.  I am allergic to everything outside but it normally just makes me sneeze and triggers my asthma.  I did, however, use eyeliner 4 days before the initial itching began and I dont normally wear eyeliner.  The eye doc said that it looked like both bacterial and viral.  I am trying to treat this on all fronts, with the clause that I do not have the time or energy to devote 2 weeks for one plan to only find it didn't work.  So, I've been using dandruff shampoo anyways, and a hypoallergenic foundation and lotion in case it was started by something with acne.  Besides using the eyeliner, the only other thing I can think of that may have started this is that a piece of pollen or dog dander landed on my eyelashes... ugh.

So, here's what I've tried and what I'm currently doing. If anyone has a tip, comment, suggestion, revision to my game plan or technique, it would be so greatly appreciated.  I am afraid I might be cancelling out treatments, or maybe missing something that may help.  I am open to any option at this point and if you think I've covered all the bases, any tips on decreasing the swelling/redness would be so very much appreciated.

Approx 3 weeks ago:  

Tried only Tobrex ointment and eye drops both twice a day

warm compresses and baby shampoo washes every 4 hours

this didnt work

2 weeks ago:

Continued above treatment, with addition of Oral prednisone (steroids) 6-day pack, and an oral antibiotic that began with the name Ciz....

*the oral steroids worked great and in 2 days, I thought it was gone and even the swelling went almost completely away, then toward the end of the steroid pack when it began phasing out of my system, it all came back again.

3 days ago:

I revised my plan and this is what I'm doing now:

7am - warm compresses, eyelid scrub (OcuSoft brand, replaces the baby shampoo and qtips), tobrex eyedrops - one each eye, tobrex ointment.  Wait 15 minutes, then apply Wet ones on eyelids (thanks, lynda!!!).  It wasn't until I began using the Wet ones 3 days ago that the burning and itching began to subside.

12pm lunch:  warm compresses, eyelid scrub, Lotemax gel eye drops - one drop each eye, Doxycycline antibiotic, Flax seed oil, Claritin, apply wet ones, then go to work with Vaseline coating my eyes sad

3pm break:  eyelid scrub, Tobrex eyedrops, Tobrex ointment.

6pm home:  warm compresses, eyelid scrub, Doxycline, tobrex formulas again, then Wet ones.

10pm bedtime:  warm compreses, eyelid scrub, Loetmax drops, wet ones.  I am using vaseline at night while i sleep on the entire eye area, and sometimes during the day one the raw areas around my eye - I do this 10 mins after the Wet ones, because Lynda says it needs at least 10 mins for quats to be effective.

*Summary:  Doc says to use the Tobrex ointment and drops 4 times a day and Lotemax gel drops twice a day. I've learned from Lynda to use the Wet ones 4 times a day for the first week and a half, then I will taper down.  Also using the warm compresses and eyelid scrubs 4 times a day.  I"ve also added daily Flaxseed, Doxycline, vaseline, Claritin, and I might start taking Advil (they say that's good for inflammation).

*Please note that the doc called me in Tobrex, rather than Tobrodex, so I am using the NON-steroid formula - anyone know how important this is?  I already spent over 100 on the two meds together and would rather not have to buy again unless someone tells me it is worth it.

So, what am I doing wrong?  right? smile   

Let me add that I do not like taking medicines at all, contrary to how it may seem!

I appreciate in advance any help.  All 3 of the docs that I've consistently called daily for weeks now, haha, just tell me to continue on using the Tobrex formulas and it's going to take a few weeks.  My worry is that a few weeks from now, I will be just the same with nothing changed.  I should also note that my problem seems to only be on the outside of my lids.  I don't really feel anything on the inside.  The nurse told me to take some of the Tobrex ointment and rub it on the inside of my lids....I haven't tried this yet since again, it only seems to be on the outside.

I've purchased the mascara disposable wands (thanks again, Lynda) as I have to start wearing some type of eye makeup to work soon or i will be fired....If any ladies have suggestions on how to do this/what to buy, pleeeeeeeeeeeeease help.  It would be nice to find something that would cover up this redness without irritating the skin, but so far everything I have tried makes it itch and burn.

A few questions i've gathered:

Why is the swelling so much worse in the morning?  Anything I can do to help this?  Why am I so very swollen?!!

How come no one uses ice/cold cloths to reduce swelling - will that balance against something?  I am thinking I could do this after the warm compresses and the scrub...

I haven't read about anyone using vaseline to help with the dryness/flaking - anything wrong with this?

Thoughts on using vinegar?

I am unsure of my technique with using the eyelid scrub cloths or the wet ones - i have been cutting them into fourths, then simply wiping on the eyelash area top and bottom, then closing my eye and wiping across the margin area - please tell me if this is wrong...?  

I am using the wet ones as the last part of my routine - meaning I use Tobrex drops and ointment, wait 10-15 mins, then use the Wet Ones with the thought that this is probably my best bet in getting rid of the bleph - thoughts?

If you've made it to the end of this post, really thank you so very much.  I know I will make it through and I know there are worse things, but it really feels hopeless.  I truly appreciate any advice at all!!


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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Me again...

    Forgot to add that although the doc no longer states it is allergy related, I have still bought new pillows, thoroughly dusted everything, trashed everything in my home that is scented (like my really nice scented drawer sachets), rewashed every article of clothing, and still change my pillowcase daily after washing in hot water.  That's the desperation, folks.


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  • Posted

    Hi Aymilee,

    I can only say that Omega 3 in my diet has profound effect on my eyes. I don't like oily fish so io have a dessert spoon of Flax Seed every morning, usually in orange juice. I no longer use steroids, painkillers or tears.

    I hope this could work off you. I saw a vast improvement after only 2 weeks.


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  • Posted

    You poor soul! I know how you feel and I sympathies. I swear by maxitrol drops and lotion! When I had it very bad it was the only thing that controlled it for me. Them when it started again I would use maxitrol for a day or 2 . But I didn't like all the steroids neary eyes all the time. I started using the wetones and they are fantastic. I use them in the morning and the Mireda ( available in canada) at night to remove make up. Some people find cold compress gives more relief but the microwaveable bag really helped me. This is my treatment before I started the wet ones. I only use the wipes now and lubricant drops.

    After 10 min with the bag I used cotton bud dipped in a breadsoda/water solution (a half teaspoon in mug of boiled water cooled . Scrub off all the debris that has been loosened by the heat Then apply maxitrol ointment to the eye area. Hope this helps !

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    • Posted

      Thanks, janmin - I'm going to try all your suggestions.  It looks like Maxitrol is close to Tobradex.  Your comment triggered me to research more and it seems that the difference between Tobrex & Tobradex is a steroid, which is used to decrease inflammation and is exactly what I need.  So going to call the doc again and request it...

      What type of microwave bag do you use?  I searched amazon and found a type of "therapeutic sinus pillow" that can be used on the eyes, is filled with rice, and can be used in the microwave to warm it up...??

      Also, you used the breadsoda/water solution on a cotton bud, just closed your eyes and rubbed it all over the eyelash/eyelid area, then rinsed off?  This seems it may be a less irritating method than those eyelid scrubs..


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    • Posted

      Do not rinse off the breadsoda solution. Give a good scrub on the rim. You want to remove all the scales .Maxitrol also contains the Benzethonium chloride that is in the wipes. So that's good! If you don't have a microwave bag soak a flannel in hot water and put it on your eyes . My one is eye doctor. I bought it on amazon.

      Hope it works


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    • Posted

      Thanks again, janmin.  I tried the breadsoda (baking soda) solution and it felt much better than scrubbing with qtips or those wipes.

      I will research the Maxitrol, because it sounds more inclusive than using Wet ones and Tobradex ointment.  I did use the Tobradex ointment overnight last night and it feels SO much better today.

      And I've ordered a "TheraPearl Hot Cold therapy mask" - excited about that smile

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  • Posted

    Since I posted this discussion a few hours ago, I've had people urge me to "go back to the doctor now!" and one guy said that it looked like I got in a fight at a biker bar.  My eyes have turned more purple-ish than red, and they now seem to have welts (why welts?!!!) - it almost looks like a big ringworm around my whole eye area.  
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  • Posted

    I feel for you I really do ..... I have had a flare up and am still trying to get it under control. I took a lot of advice from another discussion on patient.info titled posteria blepharitis. A lot is using the same as you are doing now but one thing that seems to be helping me a little is to use a solution of "Thursday plantation tea tree oil" around the eyelid and under the eye and it seems to be helping I have not got as sore eyes as I did. The tea tree oil is the one the lady had used so is the one recommended, it is a little more expensive than others but I think because it is very good. I also use salt in boiled cooled water. I hope you find a solution that works for you. I am still trying to rid myself of the flare up ...... Although I know Blepharitis once you have it you keep it it can be managed. Good luck. 
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    • Posted

      Thanks, Gwynny.

      After using the Tobradex steroid ointment last night, I feel a little better and like I just may have some hope.

      The salt solution sounds painful, but I am up for trying it tonight!

      Also, I just placed an order with Amazon for the the tea tree oil you recommend - it is made by Natures Plus, so hoping I ordered the right one.

      Thank you again, very much.

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