Ringworm infections (also known as tinea infections) are caused by a group of fungi called Dermatophytes.Tinea Faciale or ringworm of the face is seen in animals as well as humans which can lead to red, patchy and scaly rashes around the mouth, on the cheeks, or even on or near the eyelids. Naturally, treating fungus around the eyes needs extra care and safety precautions, especially since many of the conventional anti fungal skin medications could be harmful if they get into the eye.
Let us study ringworm infections around the eyes in detail.
Symptoms of ringworm around the eyes
Ringworm infections can affect anyone and everyone, irrespective of their age or gender. Ringworm is also very common in pets and often our furry friends are responsible for spreading it to humans around them. The ringworm around the eyelids is more common in school going children but could also be seen in adults in the age group of 20-40.
Ringworm on and around the eye region is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Pink to red scaly rash that appears to increase in size.
- The center of the rash appears to be healing because there is a clear opening surrounded by the itchy, raised and scaly patch. This round lesion makes it appear like a ring; hence the name ringworm.
- The scaly patch feels like ‘sunburn’ –it burns and itches and is often painful. Scratching the skin can not only worsen the infection but can also cause the fungus to spread to healthier parts of the skin.
Causes of ringworm infections
Ringworm can affect anyone as it is a highly contagious skin disorder. School aged kids are more prone to contagious diseases. A child having the fungal infection could come in direct contact with healthy kids and pass it on to them. If a child happens to have a weaker immune system, it could easily develop ringworm on different parts of the body.
Children often fail to wash their hands prior to eating. They also tend to touch their faces quite often. The spores of the dermatophytes could be trapped underneath one’s nails and they could spread, causing the ringworm lesions.
Infected individuals also tend to accidentally pass the ringworm through personal items like towels, combs, etc to their loved ones.
Treating ringworm around the eyes
- Ringworm on the eyelids can be treated with various remedies. You could simply apply conventional anti fungal medicines readily available over-the-counter such as Terbinafine, clotrimazole, miconazole which are available in cream or lotion forms.
- Iodine solution is another effective remedy which can be used for dabbing on ringworm on the eyelid.
However, extreme caution must be exercised to ensure that these creams and lotions do not get into the eyes. This can be difficult if the ringworm is very close to the eyes. So you could use natural remedies described below:
Natural remedies for ringworm around the eyes
- Raw and filtered apple cider vinegar used undiluted- Soak cotton wool in the ACV and apply it directly on the eyelid ringworm. Keep the eyes closed while the product dries.
- Coconut oil mixed with few drops of tea tree oil is also very effective natural ringworm remedy. Make sure not to get the tea tree oil in the eyes.
- Oil of Oregano, which is easily available at health food stores, is another effective remedy for dealing with ringworm around the eyes quickly.
Whichever remedy you choose to follow, make sure you apply it at least 3 times a day until the rash heals completely. Since ringworm is known to spread to other body parts, observe the rest of the body and follow the remedies if you see it developing.
Treating pets with ringworm on the eyes
Pets tend to get ringworm infections rather frequently and pet owners battling this issue must try to keep Miconazole based sprays handy to quickly treat it and stop it from spreading. Make sure to give plenty of probiotic foods to the pets to build their immunity. Talk to your vet whether a probiotic supplement is right for the pet.
- Ringworm of the eyes can be prevented by following good hygiene and limiting contact with other infected individuals-both pets and humans.
- Children should be taught the importance of washing hands as well as avoiding sharing of personal items like towels, napkins, combs etc.
- A healthy diet filled with probiotic foods can also prevent skin infections of various types. Probiotic foods include miso soups, kefirs, and yogurts with live cultures, sauerkraut and other fermented foods.
If the eyelid fungal rash appears to increase or shows no signs of clearing up despite these remedies and precautions, make sure to have it seen by the doctor. Some cases of ringworm around the eyes might be more complicated and could need prescription strength topical and oral anti-fungal medicines for resolution.