The eyelids can be affected by a variety of infections and irritants. A very common infection of the eyelids is sty; it is essentially the result of an abscess forming on the eyelid. Because of the sensitivity of the skin around the region of the eyes, many types of skin problems on other parts of the body can be passed onto the eyelids.
A skin infection that specifically affects the eyelids is blepharitis; in this condition inflammation sets in on the whole of the eyelid, the region from the area of the lashes onward becoming inflamed and red. The eyelids swell up and are reddened and the edges of the lids become itchy, developing flaky scales as the inflammation spreads.
A consequence of the inflammation in the eyelids can be that the lashes on the lids are lost and fall off. In the majority of severe cases crust can be formed from the yellow colored pus that is exuded out. Healing and recovery is then hindered as the inflammation is persistent and requires medical care over a long period of time.
Repeated and constant irritation of the lids lead to blepharitis, which is a type of bacterial infection; the bacteria infecting the lids in the course of repeated irritation from dust or smoke, or from a sensitive reaction to cosmetics and creams, the irritants bringing down the resistance to bacterial infection in the process.
Reddened and swollen eyelids, with dryness and itching can also be brought on by other types of skin disorders (eczema). There are also many allergies, and allergic reactions to substances are not rare, more so to the chemicals in many cosmetics and soaps that may be used daily, alternately skin, problems in the skin, for example eczema, can also very often show up in the eyelids.
The choice of foods is important as only those foods that help to soothe and heal the mucous membranes must be chosen, mainly foods that abound in vitamin A or beta-carotene, other good choices are yellow fruits and vegetables, white meat like fish and whole milk, and these foods have a lot of vitamins and essential nutrients. Natural and essential nutrients like bioflavonoids and vitamins like vitamin A abound in wild blue berries, and these fruits are excellent supplements, as these substances help fight inflammation in the eyelids.
The choice of the diet is very important in order to bolster the immune system, especially in cases where eyelid infections are recurrent. Vegetables and fruits should preferably be consumed raw to preserve its nutrient content, and in good quantities. Many of the enzymes helpful in boosting the immune system can be denatured by cooking with a low flame, this is the reason vegetables and fruits should be preferred in their raw state.
Vitamins like vitamin C can be obtained easily by including citrus fruits in the diet and raw pumpkin seeds are also a good source for this vitamin, in order to boost the body's power to fight against infection, some nutritional yeast or raw wheat germ can be added to the diet, for its zinc content. Since refined sugar has been linked to low levels of B vitamins and because has been known to compete with vitamin C for absorption into the body, it must be removed from the diet.
All supplements that are effective against general skin disorders are also a good option for the treatment of an infection of the eyelids. As long as the bowels tolerate the high levels of vitamin C ingested, preferably every few hours, this should be supplemented as it helps fight the infection in the eyelids. To pack a better punch, vitamin A and the mineral zinc, can be included in the supplement as both of these are beneficial to an increased immune function and the promotion of a healthy skin.
The reduction in the inflammation and the phlegm collecting around the eyelids can be achieved by making use of herbal teas, and compresses and infusions made utilizing a variety of herbs.
The crust formed in the eyelids can be loosened and removed using compresses made from chamomile and eyebright, these help in the softening and the removal of crusts caused by blepharitis and other infections. A salve made from the calendula herb can be applied after wiping the eyes dry. The rate and manner of healing can greatly be boosted utilizing both these herbs in making tea. These teas can be made by adding a tsp. of herbs to a cup of boiling water, which can then be steeped for ten minutes, the dosage for this tea is thrice a day.
An astringent, phlegm-reducing and anti-inflammatory property characterizes the herb eyebright. The tincture made from this herb can be used in a diluted form as eyewash, made using about 5-10 drops of the tincture diluted in half a cup of water. Infusion steams made form the chamomile can be used as a treatment option, by exposing or holding the eyelids over the infusion steam for about fifteen minutes at a time to give the steam a chance to heal and soothe the eyes.
A compress that can be applied to the eyes can also be made from calendula tincture by dip a cotton cloth in the diluted tincture, one tsp. of the tincture to three tbsp. of water. A properly strained infusion made from agrimony, utilizing about one tbsp. of the herb in a cup of boiling water, can be used as eyewash in those cases where the eyelids have reddened and are scaly. The mucous membranes can be healed using agrimony herb which also has astringent properties.
Avoid direct sunlight. Do not squeeze or rub eyelids.
Vitamin A, 10,000 IU (avoid during pregnancy).
Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids.
Zinc, 15 mg, with three mg copper a day.