Itchy eye - red, swollen, squishy bits

swelling and redness in of my lacrimal caruncle and plica semilunaris

My left eye was itching like mad tonight. I thought I had a cat hair stuck in there, looked in the mirror and saw some swelling on the glossy, fleshy part in the inner corner of my eye. I briefly wondered if I might be turning into a cat, and this was my third eyelid developing, but it was only happening in one eye, so probably not.

Thanks to Google, I learned I had an inflammation of my lacrimal caruncle and plica semilunaris, little pink nodular bits of eye tissue that cover a sebaceous (oil) and sweat gland. I didn't even know eyes could sweat!

Sometimes these parts of the eye get swollen, red and itchy from histamine release. Histamines are chemical compounds your body releases in response to injury, like if you scratch your skin or sprain your ankle, and to foreign invaders like germs or allergens.

My allergies have been rubbish this year and I've been on anti-histamines all through the warm season. I must commit to spending more time outdoors over winter. I have a hypothesis that being outside in winter has inoculated me against hayfever in previous years. We shall see.

Anyway, I wanted to share this eye thing in case anyone else experienced this and needed a start for their own reading and self-diagnosis. A couple drops of ketotifen set me straight - the surgeon who did my laser eyes recommended it. Works really fast, though I'd rather not need it at all.

As an aside, the plica semilunaris is a remnant of the third eyelid, so you know... purrhaps I am yet a cat. ^__^