Psoriasis on the Eyelids

Psoriasis on the eyelids is a chronic condition that causes scaly and flaky patches of thick, swollen skin on and around your eyes. Psoriasis on the eyelids is rare and usually occurs with symptoms that can affect the skin on other parts of your body. Treatment is available to relieve symptoms and help you manage the condition.


A person with scaly patches of psoriasis on their eyelid and on their eyebrow.
Psoriasis on your eyelids causes patches of scaly skin on the skin around your eyes.

What is psoriasis on the eyelids?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects the skin on your body as a result of an overactive immune system. While rare, the condition can target the skin on your eyelid(s). An outbreak of psoriasis on your eyelids looks like a patch of swollen, itchy, discolored and scaly skin that appears on or around the skin near your eyes. This patch of affected skin is called a plaque.


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Who does psoriasis on the eyelids affect?

Psoriasis on the eyelids affects people who have a psoriasis diagnosis. The condition usually doesn’t only affect the skin near your eyes, so you may have symptoms of psoriasis on other parts of your body at the same time.

How common is psoriasis on the eyelids?

Psoriasis on the eyelids and around the eyes is very rare, but psoriasis on the face can occur in people diagnosed with psoriasis. Psoriasis affects millions of people and over 3% of the United States population.


What’s the difference between psoriasis and eczema on the eyelids?

Psoriasis and eczema are both skin conditions that can appear on your eyelid(s). Psoriasis causes a buildup of dead skin cells on your skin that scale and flake. Eczema, also called eyelid dermatitis, is a skin condition that occurs after an irritant or allergen contacts the skin of your eyelid and causes an itchy rash with pain, blistering or a burning sensation. While both conditions can cause symptoms of itchiness, eczema is usually itchier than psoriasis.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of psoriasis on the eyelids?

Symptoms of psoriasis on the eyelids range from mild to severe and could include:

Symptoms of psoriasis on your eyelids can affect the skin around your eye, on your eyelid and on your eyebrow, and scales can cover your eyelashes. Symptoms can also cause your eyelid to curve up or down.


What causes psoriasis on the eyelids?

A buildup of dead skin cells causes psoriasis on the eyelids. Your immune system helps keep your body healthy by fighting foreign invaders like bacteria. During a psoriasis outbreak, the cells within your immune system target your skin’s healthy cells and speed up cell growth and replication from 30 days to three to four days. This causes dead skin cells to build up on the surface of your skin. Additional symptoms you experience are signs that your cells are overactive, like swelling, skin discoloration and itchiness.

Is psoriasis on the eyelids contagious?

No, psoriasis on your eyelids isn’t contagious. The condition can’t spread from person-to-person contact.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is psoriasis on the eyelids diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will diagnose psoriasis on the eyelids after a physical exam. During this exam, your provider will review your symptoms and might offer tests to confirm a diagnosis. A skin biopsy is a test where your provider will remove a small sample of affected skin tissue to examine it under a microscope. This test can rule out similar conditions like eczema.

Who diagnoses psoriasis on the eyelids?

If you have psoriasis on your eyelids, you may receive a diagnosis from:

Management and Treatment

How is psoriasis on the eyelids treated?

Treatment for psoriasis on the eyelids could include:

  • Using a warm compress on your affected eyelid.
  • Washing your eyelids with a gentle soap (like baby shampoo) or cleanser.
  • Applying topical medications like corticosteroid creams or tacrolimus ointments on your eyelid.
  • Taking antibiotics if your skin becomes infected.
  • Using hydrating eye drops to prevent dry eye.

Can I treat psoriasis on the eyelids at home?

Yes, you can treat mild forms of psoriasis on the eyelids at home. You can start by cleaning your skin with a sensitive skin soap or cleanser. Keeping your skin clean prevents the risk of developing an infection if your skin breaks open from scratching.

Next, apply a moisturizer, cream or ointment to the affected skin around your eyelid. You can find psoriasis creams or ointments available over the counter. Your healthcare provider will prescribe a medicated treatment if you have severe symptoms. Look for products designed for psoriasis that include or feature the following:

  • Coal tar. This ingredient reduces skin flakes, itchiness and swelling.
  • Hydrocortisone. This ingredient reduces swelling and itchiness.
  • Unscented products. Scents can irritate your skin.
  • Moisturizers with oil to prevent your skin from drying out.

If your eyelid is sore or swollen, you can apply a warm, not hot, compress on your eye. Gently place the compress on your closed eye and don’t apply heavy pressure to the compress.

If these at-home treatment options don’t relieve your symptoms of eyelid psoriasis, contact your healthcare provider.

Are there side effects of the treatment for psoriasis on the eyelids?

If you use topical medications to treat psoriasis on your eyelids, follow your provider’s instructions on how often to apply them and where to apply them on your skin. Overuse or improper application of topical medications around or on your eyelid can be dangerous to your eyesight and cause dry eye, cataracts or glaucoma.

How soon after treatment will I feel better?

After you begin treatment, you might feel immediate relief from itchiness or discomfort. Your symptoms may persist for several weeks, even with a medicated treatment. Skin discoloration might take several months to return to your natural skin tone. If your symptoms are affecting your mental health or preventing you from participating in regular activities, contact your provider. Treatment by a healthcare professional can speed up your body’s healing time and improve your confidence.


How can I prevent psoriasis on the eyelids?

When you don’t have an outbreak of psoriasis on your eyelids, you can take steps to reduce your risk of a flare-up by:

  • Using a gentle soap or cleanser daily to wash the skin on your face.
  • Applying moisturizer to your skin daily or when your skin becomes dry.
  • Wearing sunscreen when you go out in the sun.

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have psoriasis on the eyelids?

Psoriasis is a chronic condition. This means that symptoms can come and go throughout your life. You may experience psoriasis symptoms on other parts of your body more often than on your eyelid and you may have periods of remission where you won’t have any symptoms of psoriasis for several months. Psoriasis on your eyelids can affect your ability to see clearly, so reach out to your healthcare provider for treatment when symptoms start.

Can psoriasis on the eyelids be cured?

There isn’t a cure for psoriasis. Treatment is available to help you manage your symptoms. If you receive treatment to get rid of an outbreak of psoriasis, it could come back in the future.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Visit your healthcare provider if your symptoms of psoriasis on the eyelids don’t improve with treatment after a few weeks, get worse or affect your ability to see.

If your symptoms cause you to scratch the skin on and around your eyelid, you may develop sores on your skin that can lead to an infection. If you experience pus oozing out of your skin sores, swelling and a burning sensation, contact your provider.

What questions should I ask my doctor?

  • Can I wear contacts if I have psoriasis on the eyelids?
  • Are there side effects to the medication?
  • How often should I apply topical creams to my eyelid?
  • What should I do if I get a medicated cream in my eye?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Psoriasis symptoms on your eyelids and face can affect your confidence level, as you can’t easily hide them. Many people diagnosed with psoriasis add a mental health provider to their care team to help build confidence and self-esteem. If you have frequent outbreaks of psoriasis on and around your eyes, talk with a dermatologist. Eyelid psoriasis can make it difficult to see, so early treatment and a lifelong skin care routine lead to the best outcome to prevent complications.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 05/25/2023.

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