Ophthalmology & Optometry/Hi


Hi John,

Thanks for reading my question. My question isn't too serious, I don't think. I am 26 years old. I have noticed occasionally that when I am sleeping, I will make up in the middle of the night from my eye or both eyes itching. The itching is located on my lower inner eyelid. When I feel it, I start to light rub or scratch that area. When I do that, it goes away from a moment but then it comes right back. So after many experiences with this in the past, I have realized the solution to the problem was putting visine in my eyes. After putting the visine in my eyes, they burn for a moment but then it stops itching completely.

This is something I started experiencing about a year or a year and a half ago. It only happens during my sleep. My allergies do act up from time to time. So is this my allergies, or is it something else maybe bugs? I have heard about microscopic bugs living in the eyelids.

Thanks John

Thanks for the question.  It's not unusual for ocular surface problems, like allergies or dry eyes, to worsen over night.  

A great way to address this is two fold.

1. go to be with a clean face (and eyelids!)  Wash your face with a mild soap, and with your eyes closed, gently massage your eyelid margin / the root of the eye lashes.  If you're not sure you're doing it well, you can pick up something like ocusoft, which are small scrubs/wipes created for just this purpose.

2. Put in some drops in before bedtime. Sometimes you may just need a moisturizer/lubricant like Systane or Refresh. Sometimes you may need the antihistamine, I would go with OTC Zaditor or Alaway.

I would caution you against using Visine on a regular basis - it has an ingredient that can be addictive.

There are some 'bugs' that live in our hair follicles, called demodex. If you google "demodex eyelash" you'll see all you'll ever care for.  There is a chance we all have some, although some people have more than others. An over accumulation of these would/could easily cause your symptoms as well.

"Ocusoft Plus" kills demodex, as does tea tree oil shampoo.  Get in touch with your eye doctor if you have any doubt or problems.

Good Luck!

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John M. Dovie, OD, FAAO


As a residency-trained Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry I am able to answer most questions regarding eye and vision health. Anything is welcome, ranging from dry or allergy eyes, bifocal contact lenses, or thoughts on LASIK surgery. As I am not a surgeon, detail-oriented surgical-related questions may be better answered by an ophthalmologist.


Selected to participate in the PCO residency program in Philadelphia at The Eye Institute, where I worked OD and MD specialists gaining invaluable experience in various clinics including glaucoma, cornea and cataract, oculo-plastics, retinal disease, neuro-ophthalmic disease, primary care, emergency medicine, and special populations. Have practiced and trained in numerous settings including hospital, academic, retail and private practice. I earned my Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). There are currently only about 3000 active fellows worldwide, and there are only about 70 Fellows in the state of Virginia. I currently own and operate my own optometric practice/clinic.

American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association (Contact Lens/Cornea Section member since 2001), Southwest Virginia Optometric Association, Virginia Tech Alumni Association

“Nyctalopia as the Presenting Sign of Vitamin A Deficiency: A Late Complication of Gastric Bypass Surgery.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry Denver, Colorado, December 2006, co-authored with Bradley Lane, OD.
“The Importance of Considering Paranasal Sinus Mucocele as a Differential Diagnosis in Diplopia.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry San Diego, California, December 2005, co-authored with Kelly Malloy, OD, FAAO and Cherie Farkash, OD.
“Acute Onset of Halos and Glare: Bilateral Keratitis—An Atypical Presentation of Amiodarone Keratopathy.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry Tampa, Florida December 2004. Also Presented to New Jersey Academy of Optometry, Neptune, New Jersey March 2005.
“The Opportunity for an Optometrist to Save a Life.” Clinical Case Study and Grand Rounds Presentation presented at The Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 2004.
“Corneal whorls cause wonder.” Clinical Challenges Quiz, co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO, Review of Optometry. Published 10/15/2006.
“Acute onset of halos and glare: bilateral corneal epithelial edema with cystic eruptions--atypical presentation of amiodarone keratopathy.” Co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO. Published February, 2006, Optometry.
“Pondering the posterior polka-dots.” Clinical Challenges Quiz, co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO, Review of Optometry. Published 5/15/2005.
Professional Involvement:
“AION: Amiodarone-Induced or Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy?” Participated as a peer-review referee for Expert Review of Ophthalmology (London, UK); refereed 10/2006.

Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, Virginia Tech. Bachelor of Science, Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Doctorate (OD), Pennsylvania College of Optometry Residency, Pennsylvania College of Optometry Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry

Awards and Honors
Winner, First Place, "Best Beside Manner" by Our Health Magazine: 2012, 2013, 2014 Winner, First Place, "Best Eye Doctor" by The Roanoke Times: 2013, 2014 Recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, December, 2006 Recipient of the Onofrey G. Rybachok Memorial Scholarship, 2000-2001 Member: The Golden Key International Honor Society Member: The National Biological Honor Society Member: The National Honor Society Eagle Scout awarded 1994

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