Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Allergic contact dermatitis: a case series and review for the ophthalmologist
  1. Sharon Morris1,
  2. Richard Barlow2,
  3. Dinesh Selva3,
  4. Raman Malhotra1
  1. 1Corneoplastic Unit, Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, UK
  2. 2St John's Institute of Dermatology, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3Discipline of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of Adelaide and South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Adelaide, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Raman Malhotra, Corneoplastic Unit, Queen Victoria Hospital, Holtye Road, East Grinstead RH19 3DZ, UK; raman.malhotra{at}


Eyelid dermatitis is most commonly caused by an allergenic response, potentially from exposure at another site, rather than from local toxicity. Yet allergic contact dermatitis is a diagnosis often missed by ophthalmologists. The authors review the literature and detail their experience relating to the causes, clinical features and management of this condition. 14 patients over a 2-year period that were referred to the oculoplastic service for a further opinion were reviewed in a retrospective, non-comparative study. All patients underwent patch testing for diagnosis. 8 of the 14 patients had delays of more than 6 months from symptoms to diagnosis. In six of these, this was greater than 1 year. Similar delays are reported in the literature. 79% of the cases were referred by ophthalmologists. Although two of the patients were biopsied, this did not help in making the diagnosis. 13 patients had disease restricted to the eyelids, though only five of these had direct contact of the allergen with the eyelids. Two patients were also sensitised to topical steroid creams prescribed for their treatment. All patients improved after removal of the allergen. Further clinical features and management options from the literature are reviewed and discussed.

  • Eyelids
  • immunology
  • inflammation
  • diagnostic tests/investigations

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.