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Understanding Eyelid Psoriasis: Symptoms, Causes, and Effective Management Strategies

Eyelid psoriasis is a distinctive form of psoriasis that specifically affects the eyelids, presenting unique challenges and considerations in both diagnosis and management. This condition can be characterized by red, scaly patches on the eyelids and surrounding areas, often accompanied by itching, burning, and discomfort. Read on to find out more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and potential treatment options for eyelid psoriasis.

What is Eyelid Psoriasis?

Eyelid psoriasis is a distinctive subtype of psoriasis, which is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. This particular variant is characterized by the development of psoriasis symptoms on the eyelids and the areas immediately surrounding the eyes. Psoriasis itself is characterized by the rapid overproduction of skin cells, leading to the formation of red, scaly patches known as plaques. When this autoimmune condition manifests on the eyelids, it presents unique challenges and considerations due to the delicate and sensitive nature of the skin in this region.(1,2)

Due to its location on the face, eyelid psoriasis can be particularly distressing for those affected, both physically and emotionally, as it is highly visible and can impact one’s self-esteem.

Managing eyelid psoriasis requires a specialized approach. The use of topical treatments, such as corticosteroid creams or ointments, under the guidance of a dermatologist, is a common strategy to alleviate symptoms. However, given the sensitivity of the eye area, extreme caution is necessary when applying any medication to the eyelids. Proper moisturization is also essential to prevent excessive dryness and scaling.

Symptoms of Eyelid Psoriasis

Symptoms of eyelid psoriasis typically include redness, scaling, and dryness on the eyelids. The skin may become inflamed, and affected people may experience itching, burning, or a sensation of discomfort. It is important to understand that the symptoms of eyelid psoriasis can vary from person to person. Nevertheless, they typically include:(3,4)

  • Redness on the Eyelids: The eyelids may become red and inflamed, often giving the appearance of a rash.
  • Scaling: Scales or plaques, similar to those seen in other forms of psoriasis, can develop on the eyelids. These may be silvery or white in color and can be quite noticeable.
  • Dryness: The affected skin can become excessively dry, leading to a feeling of tightness and discomfort.
  • Itching: Itching is a common symptom of eyelid psoriasis and can range from mild to severe. Constant scratching can further irritate the skin and potentially lead to complications.
  • Burning Sensation: Some people with eyelid psoriasis may experience a burning or stinging sensation on the eyelids.
  • Swelling: Inflammatory changes in the skin can cause mild to moderate swelling of the eyelids.
  • Overall Discomfort: Overall discomfort, including a feeling of sensitivity or soreness, is often reported by those with eyelid psoriasis.
  • Cracking or Bleeding: In severe cases, the skin on the eyelids may crack or become so dry that it bleeds.

Some other symptoms that may also be observed include:(5)

  • Skin Discoloration, Scaling, and Crusting: Affected people often experience skin discoloration, along with scaling and crusting around the eyelids, resulting in a noticeable change in skin texture and appearance.
  • Eyelid Rims Alterations: The condition can cause the rims of the eyes to turn either upward or downward, leading to a change in the eyelid’s natural positioning.
  • Eyelash Complications: Some may encounter issues with their eyelashes, including eyelashes that rub against the eye, causing further discomfort and irritation.
  • Scales Resembling Dandruff: Scales similar in appearance to dandruff may flake off from the affected eyelids and adhere to the eyelashes, adding to the physical and aesthetic challenges posed by the condition.

In very rare cases, psoriasis can extend its impact to the eye, resulting in inflammation, dryness, discomfort, and, in more severe cases, potential vision impairment.(6)

These symptoms collectively contribute to the unique challenges associated with eyelid psoriasis, requiring specialized care and management to alleviate discomfort and enhance overall well-being. Those experiencing these symptoms should seek evaluation and guidance from a healthcare provider or dermatologist to address their specific needs effectively.

What are the Causes of Eyelid Psoriasis?

The exact cause of eyelid psoriasis, like other forms of psoriasis, is not fully understood. However, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, immune system, and environmental factors. Here are some potential contributors to the development of eyelid psoriasis:(7)

  1. Genetics: Psoriasis often has a genetic component. If you have a family history of psoriasis, you may be at a higher risk of developing the condition, including eyelid psoriasis.(8)
  2. Immune System Dysfunction: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly targets healthy skin cells, leading to their rapid growth and the formation of psoriatic plaques. This immune system malfunction can also affect the skin on the eyelids.(9)
  3. Environmental Triggers: Certain environmental factors can trigger or exacerbate psoriasis, including stress, infections, cold weather, and skin injuries. The sensitive skin of the eyelids may be particularly susceptible to these triggers.(10)
  4. Medications: In some cases, certain medications can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms, including those affecting the eyelids. These medications may include beta-blockers, lithium, antimalarial drugs, and others.(11)
  5. Eye Irritation: Chronic eye irritation or rubbing of the eyes due to various factors, such as allergies, contact lens use, or eye makeup, may contribute to the development or exacerbation of eyelid psoriasis.
  6. Existing Psoriasis: If you already have psoriasis elsewhere on your body, it is possible for the condition to spread to the eyelids or other areas of the face.
  7. Stress: Stress is a known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups, and it can also affect the eyelid area.(12)

Again, it is important to note that the causes of eyelid psoriasis can vary from person to person, and the condition may result from a combination of these factors. Understanding potential triggers and managing them, along with appropriate medical treatment, can help people with eyelid psoriasis effectively control their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Treatment Options for Eyelid Psoriasis

The treatment for eyelid psoriasis typically involves a combination of medical and self-care strategies. However, due to the delicate nature of the eyelid skin and the proximity to the eyes, specialized care is required. Here are some common approaches to treating eyelid psoriasis:(13)

  • Topical Corticosteroids: Topical corticosteroid creams or ointments prescribed by a dermatologist are often the first-line treatment for eyelid psoriasis. These medications can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms. However, their use on the eyelids must be carefully monitored due to the risk of thinning the skin in this sensitive area.(14)
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors: In cases where corticosteroids are not suitable or effective, calcineurin inhibitors like tacrolimus or pimecrolimus may be recommended. These medications have anti-inflammatory properties and can be applied to the eyelids with caution.(15)
  • Emollients and Moisturizers: Proper moisturization is essential to prevent excessive dryness and scaling. Emollient creams or ointments should be applied regularly to keep the eyelid skin hydrated.
  • Topical Vitamin D Analogs: Topical medications containing vitamin D analogs, such as calcipotriene, can help normalize skin cell growth and reduce scaling. They are another option for eyelid psoriasis treatment.
  • Avoiding Triggers: Identifying and avoiding triggers that exacerbate eyelid psoriasis is crucial. This may include stress reduction, proper eye hygiene, and discontinuation of eye makeup or other products that irritate the eyes.
  • Warm Compresses: Applying warm compresses to the eyelids can help alleviate discomfort and loosen scales. However, be gentle when doing this to avoid further irritation.
  • Preservative-Free Artificial Tears: For individuals with eye dryness associated with eyelid psoriasis, preservative-free artificial tears can help maintain eye comfort and minimize dryness.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including stress management, a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can contribute to overall well-being and potentially improve eyelid psoriasis symptoms.
  • Phototherapy: In rare cases, when other treatments are ineffective, a healthcare provider may consider targeted phototherapy with caution to treat eyelid psoriasis. This involves controlled exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.(16)
  • Consultation with an Ophthalmologist: In severe cases or when the eyes are significantly affected, consultation with an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) may be necessary to address eye-related concerns.

It is important for people with eyelid psoriasis to work closely with a dermatologist to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.

Tips for Living with Eyelid Psoriasis

Living with eyelid psoriasis can be challenging, but with proper care and management, you can minimize discomfort and improve your quality of life. Here are some tips for effectively living with eyelid psoriasis:

  1. Consult a Dermatologist: Seek guidance from a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis for an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs.
  2. Follow Treatment Recommendations: Adhere to the prescribed treatment plan consistently and use medications as directed. This may include topical creams, ointments, or other therapies suitable for eyelid psoriasis.
  3. Handle Eyelids with Care: Be extremely gentle when applying any treatments or moisturizers to the eyelids. Avoid excessive rubbing or scratching, as this can worsen symptoms and potentially lead to complications.
  4. Moisturize Regularly: Keep the eyelid skin well-hydrated by using emollient creams or ointments recommended by your dermatologist. Moisturize the eyelids multiple times a day to prevent dryness and scaling.
  5. Maintain Proper Eye Hygiene: Maintain good eye hygiene by gently cleaning the eyelids with a mild, preservative-free eye cleanser or warm water. Avoid eye makeup removers that may contain irritants.
  6. Diet and Lifestyle: Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
  7. Join Support Groups: Join psoriasis support groups or seek counseling to connect with others who understand your challenges and share coping strategies.


Remember that living with eyelid psoriasis may require ongoing management, and individual experiences can vary. Due to the unique challenges of treating eyelid psoriasis, self-medication and over-the-counter treatments should be avoided without professional guidance to prevent potential complications. The symptoms of eyelid psoriasis can affect not only physical well-being, but also emotional health and self-esteem. Effective management and specialized care are crucial to alleviate these symptoms and improve the quality of life for people dealing with this condition.


  1. Psoriasis (2020) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/psoriasis/index.htm (Accessed: 04 September 2023).
  2. Kim, W.B., Jerome, D. and Yeung, J., 2017. Diagnosis and management of psoriasis. Canadian Family Physician, 63(4), pp.278-285.
  3. Demerdjieva, Z., Mazhdrakova, I. and Tsankov, N., 2019. Ocular changes in patients with psoriasis. Clinics in dermatology, 37(6), pp.663-667.
  4. Au, S.C., Yaniv, S. and Gottlieb, A.B., 2011, September. Psoriatic eye manifestations. In Psoriasis forum (Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 169-179). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.
  5. Kilic, B., Dogan, U., Parlak, A.H., Goksugur, N., Polat, M., Serin, D. and Ozmen, S., 2013. Ocular findings in patients with psoriasis. International journal of dermatology, 52(5), pp.554-559.
  6. Constantin, M.M., Ciurduc, M.D., Bucur, S., Olteanu, R., Ionescu, R.A., Constantin, T. and Furtunescu, F., 2021. Psoriasis beyond the skin: Ophthalmological changes. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 22(3), pp.1-4
  7. Psoriasis: Causes (no date) American Academy of Dermatology. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/what/causes (Accessed: 04 September 2023).
  8. Dand, N., Mahil, S.K., Capon, F., Smith, C.H., Simpson, M.A. and Barker, J.N., 2020. Psoriasis and genetics. Acta dermato-venereologica, 100(3), pp.54-64.
  9. Girolomoni, G., Griffiths, C.E.M., Krueger, J., Nestle, F.O., Nicolas, J.F., Prinz, J.C., Puig, L., Ståhle, M., Van De Kerkhof, P.C.M., Allez, M. and Emery, P., 2015. Early intervention in psoriasis and immune-mediated inflammatory diseases: A hypothesis paper. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 26(2), pp.103-112.
  10. Yan, D., Gudjonsson, J.E., Le, S., Maverakis, E., Plazyo, O., Ritchlin, C., Scher, J.U., Singh, R., Ward, N.L., Bell, S. and Liao, W., 2021. New frontiers in psoriatic disease research, part I: genetics, environmental triggers, immunology, pathophysiology, and precision medicine. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 141(9), pp.2112-2122.
  11. Fry, L. and Baker, B.S., 2007. Triggering psoriasis: the role of infections and medications. Clinics in dermatology, 25(6), pp.606-615.
  12. Seville, R.H., 1977. Psoriasis and stress. British Journal of Dermatology, 97(3), pp.297-302.
  13. How to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (no date) The National Psoriasis Foundation: National Psoriasis Foundation. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/treatments-for-psoriatic-disease/ (Accessed: 04 September 2023).
  14. Uva, L., Miguel, D., Pinheiro, C., Antunes, J., Cruz, D., Ferreira, J. and Filipe, P., 2012. Mechanisms of action of topical corticosteroids in psoriasis. International journal of endocrinology, 2012.
  15. Wang, C. and Lin, A., 2014. Efficacy of topical calcineurin inhibitors in psoriasis. Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery, 18(1), pp.8-14.
  16. Hönigsmann, H., 2001. Phototherapy for psoriasis. Clinical and experimental dermatology, 26(4), pp.343-350.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 6, 2023

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