Eyelid dermatitis: an evaluation of 447 patients

Am J Contact Dermat. 2003 Jun;14(2):69-74.


Background: Eyelids can be affected by various types of dermatitis that are often difficult to diagnose.

Objective: The aim of the study was to establish some guidelines for a correct diagnosis.

Methods: A total of 447 patients treated at 12 research units for eczema or other inflammatory dermatitis located on the eyelids were invited to complete a questionnaire. When necessary, patch tests with haptens of the standard series from Gruppo Italiano di Ricerca sulle Dermatiti da Contatto e Ambientali della Società Italiana di Dermatologia e Venereologia (SIDEV-GIRDCA) were performed.

Results: Of the subjects studied, 50.2 % were diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis (ACD); 20.9% were affected by irritant contact dermatitis (ICD), 13.5% by atopic dermatitis, 6.3% by seborrheic dermatitis, 6.5% by aspecific xerotic dermatitis, and 2.3% by psoriasis. Approximately 91% of all subjects reported an absence of familial atopy. A significant statistical association between diagnosis type and a personal history of atopy was evident (p <.000001, chi-square test). The results of gradual logistic regression models showed four-eyelid involvement as the main risk factor for ACD (odds ratio [OR] = 3.0; 95% CI, 1.1-8.1); with ICD, the main risk factor was the onset of symptoms at between 2 and 6 months (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1-4.0), whereas for atopic dermatitis, the main risk factors were the onset of symptoms later than 6 months and a personal history of atopy (OR = 4.9 and 3.6, respectively).

Conclusion: Results suggest that many characteristics of the patients examined can be used for the differential diagnosis of palpebral eczematous dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology
  • Eyelids*
  • Facial Dermatoses / chemically induced
  • Facial Dermatoses / diagnosis*
  • Facial Dermatoses / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Patch Tests / standards*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Allergens