It was a strange Christmas week. Lots of people had colds and coughs. I took time off to enjoy family and the snowy mountains for three days. One day in I got a call from a patient: her daughter had swelling in the lower right eyelid. She had had a mild cold for a week or more and now this happened. Mom had some homeopathics with her as well as colloidal silver which is great for eye infections. We discussed how to use them and they were able to avoid an urgent care visit during vacation.
After three days of snow, I came home, unpacked and went to bed. Then at 4:30am my daughter woke me up because her eyes were swollen. One eye was red, swollen on both upper and lower lids, and the whites of her eyes were slightly pink. Also her eyes were watering like crazy. She had had a bad cold/sinus infection for a few days while I was away and now this was happening. This pointed more towards periorbital cellulitis, which can be serious. In addition to colloidal silver and homeopathics, we made the decision to play it safe and get a second opinion for antibiotics.
While at Walgreens to get some homeopathic eye drops, the girl in front of me was buying Benedryl and steroid cream because she had swelling in her lower eyelids. The checker mentioned that a woman had been in earlier that day to get medicine for swollen eyes. Seems like it was going around! So here's what I think has been happening:
Periorbital cellulitis is infection/inflammation of the deep tissues surrounding the eyes. Usually it occurs a few days after onset of a cold or sinus infection. The infection can spread to the eyes or surrounding tissues by coughing, sneezing and touching the eyes, or spread internally in the tissues. For whatever reason, this circulating cold is getting into the eyes very easily.
I've mentioned that BELLADONNA flus are circulating. The eye inflammation now does follow a typical Belladonna pattern: rapid onset, painful, red, swollen. However, there are other remedies to consider:
BELLADONNA: rapid onset, hot, painful, swollen and eyes are sensitive to light. Throbbing or shooting pains go with this remedy. This is a top remedy for children.
APIS: rapid onset, stinging pain, better with cold applications (I don't think this is a good remedy now, but it might be for some people. Typically this is the remedy for allergic reactions that cause swelling.)
RHUS TOX: inflammations that are painful, particularly on movement, such as when you move the eye back and forth. If Rhus tox is the right remedy, using very hot washcloths/hot packs on the eye will feel very good. There can be eye watering and pus in the eye as well.
EUPHRASIA: great for redness and eye swelling that feels hot. The classic symptom is that this comes with watering of the eyes or even thick mucous discharge at times. The eyes will feel as if there is pressure on the back of them or surrounding them.
HEPAR SULPH: a great remedy for lingering infections such a mild cold that has turned into a bronchitis or sinus infection. This remedy is used often for bacterial infections because it is best used towards the end of an illness when yellow or green sticky mucus is present. If the eye discharge is yellow, consider Hepar sulph. However, I think right now Rhus Tox and Euphrasia might be a better match.
ARSENICUM: for burning pain where warmth to the eye (not hot) feels very good. If the person is also very chilly, Arsenicum may be a good remedy for blepharitis or other swellings around the eye.
Luckily both Similisan and Walgreens have homeopathic eye drops (Pink Eye Relief) that have Belladonna, Euphrasia and Hepar sulph all in one. Another great thing about these products is that they also contain silver sulfate which is anti-microbial. You can also put colloidal silver (if you have that on hand) right into the eye to kill bacteria and virus.
Periorbital cellulitis can be very serious so if the eye swelling is intense, it hurts to move the eyes or if the eye is bulging, then head to the ER. IV antibiotics may be needed to prevent the loss of vision or spread of infection to the brain (meningitis). Use the homeopathics and colloidal silver on the way to ER and if the symptoms are reduced by half or more by the time you get to the ER, you'll probably be able to avoid antibiotics.