Atopic dermatitis of the eye


Atopic dermatitis of the eye is a chronic, mostly intermittent skin disease. It is characterized by itchy, often weeping eczema in the acute episode and dry, rough skin in the interval.

The eyelid is one of the possible locations for neurodermatitis. It can also occur on other parts of the face, on the head, on the extensor sides of the arms and legs, and on the fingers.

Causes of atopic dermatitis on the eye

The causes of neurodermatitis in the eye are the same as those for neurodermatitis in other parts of the body: On the one hand, there is a hereditary predisposition. Children whose parents have atopic dermatitis have an increased risk of suffering from the skin disease as well.

There are also various allergies that can trigger neurodermatitis. These include food allergies, for example to nuts, cow's milk, eggs, soy, fish or wheat, but also allergies such as animal hair and house dust mite allergies.

Read more about the following allergies here:

  • Milk allergy / milk protein allergy
  • Wheat allergy

In people who suffer from atopic dermatitis, there are various factors that can trigger an acute attack. Among other things, the consumption of certain foods such as strawberries or tomatoes, but also profuse sweating and drying out of the skin due to frequent contact with water and / or insufficient moisture care.

Do you suffer from dry skin? - Then read our article about Dry skin on the eyes

Diagnosis of neurodermatitis on the eye

The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis of the eye can usually be made on the basis of the anamnesis and the clinical appearance. Often there are also relatives in the family who suffer or have suffered from neurodermatitis.

The examination reveals dry skin and, in the acute stage, red, partially weeping eczema. In children in particular, it should be determined precisely whether neurodermatitis occurs more intensely after consuming certain foods. Then it can be useful to do a blood test for various food allergies.

Please also read the following article: Eczema on the eye - treatment & more

Accompanying symptoms of neurodermatitis on the eye

One of the two most common accompanying symptoms in atopic dermatitis is itching. It occurs particularly in the acute episode.

A second very common accompanying symptom in atopic dermatitis is dry skin at intervals, which requires regular care. In addition, people with atopic dermatitis often have small tears in the corners of their mouths or ear lobes, known in technical jargon as rhagades.

Read more on this topic at: Torn corners of the mouth - causes and tips for treatment

In addition to the symptoms mentioned, there are so-called stigmata that occur more frequently in people with neurodermatitis. These are permanently available. These stigmata include, for example, the double lower eyelid fold (Dennie Morgan fold) and a thinning of the outer part of both eyebrows (Hertoghe sign).

Since patients with neurodermatitis suffer from hay fever or asthma more than average, seasonal runny nose, itching and tearing of the eyes and increased sneezing as well as sudden breathlessness and chronic coughing can occur as additional accompanying symptoms.

Do you suffer a lot from the noticeable symptoms of your neurodermatitis?

  • Find out more about this through our article: Neurodermatitis and the psyche - what is the connection?


Itching is a very typical accompanying symptom of neurodermatitis. It is particularly agonizing in the acute episode in which vesicular, weeping, bright red eczema spots appear. However, dry skin can also cause itching at intervals. Adequate care of the skin is therefore essential.

Read all about here Dry skin - causes and care tips and the Diet for dry skin

eye bags

Dark circles under the eyes are one of several stigmata that frequently occur in atopic dermatitis. It has not yet been clarified why dark circles occur more frequently in atopic dermatitis. The thinning of the outer part of the eye structure (Hertoghe sign) and the double lower fold (Dennie-Morgan fold) are stigmata, the cause of which is still unclear.

Would you like to know what you can do about dark circles? - Then read our articles Dark circles - getting away and removing or Cream against dark circles

Eye swelling

Swelling of the eyelids can occur, especially in the acute episode of neurodermatitis of the eye with severe itching.

Often, because of the excruciating itching, the affected person scratches the eczema against their will. This increases the irritation of the skin and also contributes to swelling around the eyes.

Do you want to combat eye puffiness? - Then read the following article: Puffy eyes - what's behind it, what helps?

Treatment of neurodermatitis of the eye

The same therapy principles apply to neurodermatitis of the eye as to neurodermatitis to other parts of the body: Basic care is crucial.

This means that the skin must be cared for daily with a cream that matches the skin's complexion. Not all creams on offer help all atopic dermatitis sufferers comparably well, so it may be necessary to first try out which cream is most effective for each individual.

Creams that contain the active ingredients urea or linoleic acid are particularly suitable for basic care. Urea has moisture-binding properties and ensures that dry skin is better supplied with moisture.

Linoleic acid, which is found in evening primrose oil, has a repairing effect on the skin barrier that is impaired in neurodermatitis and thus counteracts the constant loss of fluid in the skin.

Depending on how severe the neurodermatitis is, the basic care should be applied 1-2 times a day. There are special eyelid creams for atopic dermatitis of the eye, but as a rule the creams that are applied to the rest of the body can also be used.

In the acute episode of neurodermatitis on the eyelid, a cortisone ointment is usually unavoidable. Here it is important that the cortisone ointments that were prescribed for neurodermatitis in other parts of the body should not be used in the case of neurodermatitis in the facial area, as the facial skin is thinner and more sensitive. Low-dose cortisone creams, for example with a content of 0.25%, should be used here.

For more information, see: Treatment of neurodermatitis

These eye creams can help

Outside of the acute phase, creams with ingredients that have a positive effect on the moisture balance of dry and brittle skin caused by neurodermatitis are effective. Possible ingredients are urea, linoleic acid or glycerine.

In general, the drier the skin, the higher the fat content of the cream / ointment should be.

In the case of weeping eczema, you should not use fatty ointments but rather thin creams or lotions. Additives such as preservatives, fragrances, paraffin oil and Vaseline should - if possible - be avoided.

As a rule, no special eye creams have to be used for atopic dermatitis on the eye; "normal" base creams or ointments can be used. Examples of base creams are Linola ® Fett or Linola ® Plus skin milk, Sanacutan ® base cream, Neuroderm ® care lotio, Neuroderm ® care cream and Neuroderm ® care cream Lipo.

In the acute episode, creams containing cortisone usually have to be used. Creams that have a low cortisone content should be used here, mostly 0.25% creams are recommended.

These home remedies can help

There are various home remedies that can have a soothing effect on neurodermatitis.

However, it is particularly difficult to use in the area of ​​the eyes, since there is a risk that components of the home remedies could get into the eye and have an irritating effect. The otherwise helpful saline compresses, for example, should not be used on the eyes.

In the case of acute itching, simply applying moist compresses to the eyelid can already have a soothing effect.

Black tea compresses can also be used for weeping eczema. A pot of strong black tea should be boiled for this. After cooling, a cotton cloth or compress can be dipped into the brew and - with your eyes closed - placed on the eye area. They can be left there for 10-15 minutes.

Immediately afterwards, the eye area should be dabbed again with a little clear water. Then the skin should be given a basic cream.

Various oils such as coconut oil or evening primrose oil are also said to have a positive effect on neurodermatitis. However, these oils should only be used outside of the acute flare-up because they are particularly effective on dry skin, but not on acutely eczematous and exuding skin. Coconut oil can be bought pure, evening primrose oil is often found as an additive in various creams or ointments.

Prognosis for atopic dermatitis of the eye

Neurodermatitis is a chronic disease. However, spontaneous healing is possible at any time. About 60% of people who suffered from neurodermatitis in childhood show hardly any or no symptoms from early adulthood.

Unfortunately, other people always have attacks of neurodermatitis. Nevertheless, the severity of the relapses in childhood is usually much more pronounced than in adulthood. But even if the symptoms decrease significantly in adulthood, the tendency to dry, rough skin remains.

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