Here’s what to do when your kid (or you) comes home with one of these eye snafus.

By Christine Yu


If your teen’s eyelids are red, flaky and itchy, it could be eczema. In fact, the eyelids are a fairly common place for the skin condition to show up, says LA dermatologist Jessica Wu. “Sometimes it’s due to makeup or an allergic reaction. Other times, it’s exposure to pollen.” Skip the cortisone ointment and opt for a steroid-free choice like Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm, which is safe to use around the eyes, Wu says. If it doesn’t get better in a week or two, see a dermatologist. 


Sleeping with makeup on, especially heavy eyeliner or mascara, can clog the oil glands around the eyes. Glue from fake eyelashes and dust from sports fields and cinder tracks are also big culprits. While a stye is similar to a pimple, don’t pop it, Wu says. Instead, use a warm compress to relieve pain and keep the area clean.

Take a break: You love contacts, but you may want to take a few days off if you have any of these afflictions. 

Black Eye

Your daughter caught someone’s elbow in her eye socket during cheerleading practice...right before the homecoming dance. (Don’t be surprised when she figures out a way to somehow blame you for this mishap, BTW.) Wrap ice in a thin washcloth and apply to the area for 10 to 15 minutes every hour. Change the angle every few minutes to avoid too much pressure or cold in one area, Wu says. To camouflage the shiner’s discoloration, dot on a thick full-coverage concealer like Dermablend’s Quick-Fix concealer stick or IT Cosmetics’ Bye Bye Under Eye concealer. But if your teen experiences any vision changes or eye pain, definitely see a doctor. 


Your son wears his friends’ sunglasses, your daughter knows no boundaries—or ick factor—when it comes to her friends’ makeup...and if one person has conjunctivitis, the whole group could get it. (And it’s coming for you next, lady!) If your kids wake up with red eyes, crusty lashes and goopy discharge, keep them home from school. Wash hands well and don’t touch the eyes to avoid spreading the infection. Pinkeye is often caused by a cold virus that landed in the eye, so antibiotics won’t help. A cold compress can help while you wait it out— usually a week or two.

*If you have pinkeye, be sure to change your pillowcase often, and don’t even think about sharing towels or washcloths.

Popped Blood Vessel

First, take a deep breath, because it looks so much worse than it feels. (As ghoulish as it appears, it might not even hurt!) “It’s like a bruise” where a fragile vessel breaks just underneath the surface of the eye, says Ranya Habash, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami. These ruptures often happen because the blood vessels on the surface of the eye are dry, and they can be set off by something as innocent as rubbing your eye or sneezing. Artificial tears can help moisten eyes, and the red spot will go away in about a week.