Rash around the eyes


A rash that is localized around the eyes cannot be defined as an independent clinical picture. Rather, it is a kind of symptom that can be an expression of various diseases and causes. The term “rash” is also usually misleading. A rash (Rash) is a generalized sowing of uniform skin lesions, which is called Efflorescences designated. This means, for example, the appearance of small red spots almost all over the body.

In colloquial language, however, rash usually also means skin changes and eczema that are limited to a specific part of the body. Rashes that affect the eyes can be unilateral or bilateral. In terms of their extent, they can present themselves very differently and affect both individual areas, such as the eyelids, as well as the entire skin around the eyes. A rash that presents itself around the entire eye is also called periocular designated.


The causes of a rash around the eyes are very diverse. There are infectious, inflammatory, allergic, and autoimmune rashes that can present around the eyes. The following section aims to outline the main causes of a rash around the eyes.

1. Herpes zoster of the eyes: Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, can specifically affect one eye. In this case one speaks of a Zoster ophtalmicus. Typical are reddish skin changes, blisters and swellings in the area of ​​the eyes, forehead and the bridge of the nose on one side of the face. Concomitant symptoms are fever, pain in the affected area and a feeling of pressure over the eye. In the worst case, vision can be impaired, which is why zoster of the eye must always be examined by an ophthalmologist.

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  • Herpes zoster

2. Allergy: An allergy is not infrequently the cause of a rash on the eye. Hay fever often leads to reddening of the eyes and eyelids on both sides. Slight swelling of the eyelids and tearing and burning of the eyes are also typical.

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3. Incorrect care: The eyes, as well as the skin around the eyes, are very sensitive to external influences. Aggressive soaps, scented creams, and sprays can cause irritation to the eyes and surrounding skin with rashes.

4. Atopic eczema / neurodermatitis: People who suffer from neurodermatitis often have eyelid eczema.The skin around the eyes is very dry, red and very itchy. The further occurrence of eczema on the flexors of the legs and arms is typical. In addition, the entire skin is more prone to dryness.

  • Read about this too Eczema on the eye or Atopic dermatitis of the eye

5. Inflammation of the eyelids: Inflammation of the eyelids does not lead directly to skin rashes, but to skin changes in the eye area. Redness and swelling are typical. Such inflammations are characterized by the fact that they are strictly limited to the eyelids and do not affect other skin areas.

6: Molloscum contagiosum: This infection, caused by viruses in the smallpox family, results in hard nodules in the eye area that are grouped together. The skin may be red. When pressure is applied, a pulp, known as molloscum pulp, empties from the nodules (papules).

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After drinking alcohol

Alcohol consumption can lead to a deterioration of the complexion of the skin, especially in the case of allergy sufferers or those affected by neurodermatitis. Redness around the eyes can be increased. Alcohol itself is also rarely the triggering allergen that causes allergic eczema. Redness, blotchy skin, itching and a feeling of dryness in the eyes are typical. Tearing and burning of the eyes may also occur.

Read about this too Consequences of alcohol

Through stress

Stress is an often underestimated factor that can worsen or lead to the onset of many diseases. Stress has a major impact on the skin. Pronounced stress, emotional and psychological strain, especially in the case of neurodermatitis, lead to a deterioration in the complexion of the skin. Rashes on the eyes can be the result. In some cases, the outbreak of shingles can also be traced back to particularly stressful phases in life. Shingles can affect one eye, but it can also affect other parts of the body.

Read more about this under Stress rash

Concomitant symptoms

A rash on the eyes can be accompanied by many different symptoms. These differ depending on the underlying disease. A common symptom accompanying the rash on the eyes is itching. This almost always occurs, for example, with neurodermatitis or an allergic skin rash.
Burning eyes, a feeling of pressure or tension or pain in the eyes are possible accompanying symptoms. Among other things, these are typical of shingles of the eye.

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  • Atopic dermatitis of the eye
  • Eczema on the face
  • Shingles on the face

Concomitantly, conjunctivitis, tearing of the eyes and even visual disturbances can occur with infectious causes. The latter is a rare but dreaded complication of shingles.

Read about this too Conjunctivitis

Red dots

Red spots on the eyes can have various causes. A common cause is gravity. This may sound strange at first, but it is actually very common. For example, if you do handstands or other training that sometimes involves lying upside down, you may notice small red dots on the eyelids or below the eyes. These are tiny hemorrhages that are known as Petechiae designated. They are not dangerous and do not require treatment. Bleeding around the eyes can also occur after vomiting or strong coughing fits. More rarely, they are an expression of a coagulation disorder or vascular inflammation. Then, however, they also appear on other parts of the body and not just around the eyes.

Read more about this under Petechiae

The mouth is also affected

A rash that appears around the eyes as well as the mouth sounds very suspicious of a herpes infection.

Slight reddening of the skin with small blisters is typical. These vesicles stand together in small groups, which is why they are also known as grouped. The disease is caused by an infection with the herpes simplex virus-1, which lies dormant in almost everyone. Over 90% of the population is infected with the virus. However, it doesn't break out in its symptomatic form in everyone. People who are prone to cold sores develop cold sores again and again under stress, with a cold or infection. These can also show up on other parts of the body, such as the nose or the eye region.

Read more about this under Cold Sores - How To Treat It Right

Another possible cause of a rash with such an infestation pattern is perioral dermatitis, also known as Air hostess disease referred to as. It gets its name from the fact that it is often triggered by excessive facial care, the application of ointments and makeup. The skin changes are characterized by itching, redness, a feeling of tension in the skin, small spots and raised nodules.

Read more about this under Periorlae dermatitis

With children

A rash that only occurs around the eyes has basically the same causes in children as in the elderly. Typical triggers are allergies or neurodermatitis. The latter in particular affects up to 15% of children and is therefore much more common than in adults.

However, there are also causes that occur more frequently in childhood. One of these causes is impetigo cotagiosa. This infectious disease is characterized by honey-yellow crusts and blisters that appear mainly on the face. It is the most common bacterial skin disease in childhood. It usually heals without scars and is treated with topical antibiotics. In the case of persistent progression or previous illnesses, antibiotics are also prescribed as tablets.

Read more about this under Impetigo cotagiosa - The rag lichen

Skin rashes around the eyes can also occur as part of various childhood diseases such as measles, rubella or chickenpox. Typically, however, almost the entire skin is affected by the rash and general symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose appear accompanying them.

During pregnancy

Eye rashes can also occur during pregnancy. However, there is no specific cause that can be traced back to pregnancy. Rather, they are skin rashes that can occur outside of pregnancy. Skin rashes on the eyes are often of an allergic nature, even during pregnancy, or occur as part of an underlying disease such as neurodermatitis.

Read more about this under Rash in pregnancy

Treatment / therapy

There are several ways to treat a rash around the eyes. What determines the treatment is the cause of the rash.

For example, allergic rashes are best treated by avoiding the allergen. Antihistamines can be used to relieve itching. Stubborn rashes can also be treated with light cortisone ointments. However, these are only suitable for short-term use, especially on the face, as they lead to atrophy, i.e. thinning, of the skin. Neurodermatitis is treated with moisturizing ointments containing cortisone.

The new calcineurin inhibitors are suitable for long-term therapy Tacrolimus and Primecrolimusthat can also be used on the face.

Shingles of the eye is treated with acyclovir infusion for five to seven days. An acyclovir ointment is also applied externally to the affected areas of the skin. As a general decongestant and soothing measure for skin rashes on the eyes, black tea compresses are recommended.

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  • Acyclovir


The duration of an eye rash depends on what type of rash it is and how it is treated. However, most rashes are temporary and last a few days to weeks. Allergic rashes can be gone within a few hours or days, whereas shingles heals completely within a few weeks with treatment.

Diseases with chronically recurrent courses, such as neurodermatitis, can show courses of several months. They are characterized by better and worse phases of illness. Other infections of the skin on the eyes also show a shorter course of disease, less days and weeks.