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Swollen eye at school. Not obvious what is causing it. Any ideas?

(14 Posts)
mumat39 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:21:12

I was just wondering if anyone might be ale to help with this.

In the last couple of months DD has had reactions in her eye. It has been mainly the left eye and on one occasion it seemed to affect her right eye as well. She has multiple allergies but I'm wondering if this could be something else and not allergy related.

She started in reception in September and the first time it happened was during a PE lesson in the school hall after lunch. DD mentioned that she'd noticed peas on the floor which had been cleaned but not very well. And her eye started to puff up soon after the lesson. She was given piriton and it seemed to help. When she gt home it looked as if her right eye was also starting to go very red.

The second time was in her classroom, and there wasn't any food present although the kids had been painting and decrorating plates using dried peas and lentils as well as rice the day before. DD handled these on the previous day and had been fine. Again, they gave her piriton and it settled although it took until the next afternoon for her eye to be back to normal.

She had another reaction today. They were taken swimming to the same pool that we have taken her too and when she to back into her class, the teacher noticed her eye was very watery. When it started going very red they gave her piriton again. I went in to the school just to see what it looked like and it was really puffy. The lady who had given her the piriton was saying that she'd seen it a short while before and it hadn't been quite as puffy. She asked if it's normal for it to go up and down like that. The conjunctiva was puffy looking too.

I am confused as to what could be causing this. Any ideas? As she keeps getting these reactions in her eyes and seems fine in herself with no hives anywhere else, is piriton the best thing to be giving her?

Also, can reactions like this be due to anything else? She has had a cold and cough recently, so could this be another version of the viral rashes she sometimes gets?

Finally, is it 'normal' for reactions around the eye to come and go, so that the eye looks less swollen but then puffs up again after a few minutes?

She is allergic to so many foods but this is really confusing. Her poor eye looked so puffy today like she'd been in a fight.

Thanks so much and sorry for all the questions. It's just very confusing and the school are baffled too, so if anyone else has experienced this or has any ideas on what might be causing this, that would be good to know.

MadameOneSword Mon 26-Nov-12 21:16:33

I would take her to the gp who can run specific tests, Just in case, an allergy or virus would usually affect two both eyes, but is there a chance it could be cleaning fluid or spray they used after lunch and doing art? Gp can also check tear ducts for any blockages or irritations.

If the school is aware your daughter has a pea allergy they should not be using them for art for anyone, not just her!

Does she rub her eyes alot? And would a cool pack alleviate the swelling/puffiness? You could also take her to the optician for an eye Scan, I think vision express do photos of the inner eye now, may be able to spot and scratches or foreign bodies?

Bilbomum Tue 27-Nov-12 13:06:21

Sounds very baffling. My ds has multiple food allergies but reactions to these are skin/breathing based. The only time we've had severe eye swelling was at a friends house who had a long haired cat. His eye came up like a golf ball and took a few days to go down properly. So no experience of it coming and going but then again I removed him from the house pretty quickly when I realised what was happening.

I think you can get anti histamine eye drops that might work faster than Piriton. It does sound more allergy related than viral I think. We have a specialist allergy nurse that works with our consultant who we can phone with issues - do you have anything like that for advice?

queenrollo Tue 27-Nov-12 13:13:12

one eye more than the other - is she right or left handed? just wondering if it's the eye on the side of her dominant hand and she is absent mindedly rubbing it transferring the irritant from hand to eye.....

casabevron Tue 27-Nov-12 14:56:40

Hi mumat39, hope your party went well. What did you decide to cook in the end? smile

Were these incidents over a short period of time? The first thing I thought was, as queenrollo says above, that something could be gettting into your dd's eye from her hand, but it did also put me in mind of something that happened to ds over the summer. He began to get hives around one eye - they started in his eyebrow, then travelled down around the eye. They were not there all the time, but appeared and disappeared over the course of about a week. They then started to appear around the other eye in the same pattern. I would know when one was about to appear, as he would give his eye a bit of a rub, and lo and behold it would be there!

I was really panicky about this, thinking ds was starting with environmental allergies of some sort, and contacted the hospital to ask their opinion. I was told that it sounded very much like a viral reaction and to get back in touch if it lasted more than a few weeks. Of course, it stopped after about a fortnight, so I came back down to earth! There wasn't any swelling, and as far as I know, post viral reactions are more commonly hivey rather than puffy, but as you know allergic kids seem to have all kinds of weird and wonderful things happen to them - it might be a possibility worth exploring?

Hope you get to the bottom of it soon...

mumat39 Tue 27-Nov-12 22:40:43

Thank you for replying, lovely ladies thanks

Madame, I took your advice and took DD to the GP this morning. He said that he thinks it is allergy relayed although it could be viral. He said that these things are superficial and in his experience won't be causing any underlying damage to her eyes, which was a relief.

DD has so many foods that she's allergic to and that's just the ones we know about, so it could have been anything. I also feel/wish the school wouldn't use the things she's allergic to but DD's allergy nurse was at the school meeting with me before DD started and the nurse, who is lovely and I trust completely, didn't really back up my concerns about the classroom not having the foods she's allergic to. The school did say that they would take each day as it comes and would always make sure they keep a close eye on DD, and to be fair they have done a brilliant job so far. I spoke with the staff again today to tell them that the GP did say it looked allergic and as DD is an allergic little thing that they just need to give her piriton if the same happens again.
If I insist that they don't have those ingredients in the classroom, I suspect I'll be told that they can't do this for various reasons. I didn't actually know DD had handled dried lentils or dried peas until she came home with her artwork. I then asked the teacher and they said she had been absolutely fine on the day, which was about a week before this last reaction. It doesn't feel like there are standard protocols for schools to follow for multiply allergic children as the national curriculum seems to require children to play with foodstuffs.

Bilbo mum, it is strange. DD does get virally induced urticaria which is almost identical to Ann allergic reaction, except it starts somewhere on her body and not around her mouth. The rash then tends to disappear and reappear, and she also gets some swelling around the mouth, which again comes and goes and scares the crap out of me. I didn't see her eye puffiness coming and going so have to take the staffs word for it. Her eye is still sore looking today but not puffy.
I also wondered about eye drops but worry that these wouldn't be enough if the reaction was the start of a proper reaction as opposed to one affecting just one eye, if that makes sense. The gp said that as we don't really know how much it might affect her it's safest to stick with piriton.

Queen, she is right handed but occasionally uses her left hand quite well. When she rubs her eyes, she tends to rub with the hand on the same side. It was her left eye that puffed up yesterday. The p reckons she's picking up something or ther and as she often rubs her eyes, and her nose, that it's probably being transferred that way.

I do sometimes worry that the whole 'she's an allergic thing, means that other possibilities are not considered. I don't actually think the piriton helped with her eye really as about 5 hours after she'd been given it her eye only looked slightly better, but maybe it did help stop a bigger one. To be honest, it all does my head in.

Hey Casa, hope you're well and that everything's well with your little man.

The hives that appear and disappear are a PITA hey?!? I think some people can have these for long periods of time, so im'm glad that your DS's episode lasted only a art while. I think I recognise viral rashes now, although the pesky things started at around midnight one night not too long ago, just to freak me out. AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!

DS's birthday was really good thanks. I ended up doing a chicken curry, potato curry, rice and some salad and it went down well, so thanks for your help on that thread. I actually made a really lovely cake for DS in the shape of a monkey which turned out brilliantly. I did o level (showing my age now ;) ) home economics and used to love making and decorating cakes at school so was thrilled when it came out well and the best bit was it was safe for DD to eat.

Thanks again, so so much for your replies. It's funny, when I have any questions I need to ask or help I need or a bit of support or hand holding I always think of MN first. You are all just brilliant and I don't know what I'd do without your kind words and helpful replies. Xxx

MadameOneSword Tue 27-Nov-12 23:03:41

That's good news, I would remind the teacher of her allergies though, I'm sure they can get around using dried peas! It's not likes your asking them to avoid multiplication grin

I would keep a gel/cool pack to hand to help with the puffiness, will keep swelling down and also stop her from rubbing if there's a chance she has sand or dirt on her hands.

Hope she feels better soon


sashh Fri 30-Nov-12 11:22:04


If this happens again please take her to an optician.

I have psioritic arthritis, which is an autoimune form of arthritis and also means I have problems with my skin and react to things.

Anyway, the arthritis sometimes affects my eyes. The actual iris becomes inflamed.

The first time it happened the GP gave me drops for conjunctivitis. Two days later it was worse and I was packed off to the eye hospital.

The lense of the eye was stuck to the iris, there is now a blue fleck on the lense (I've not seen it, just been told by eye doctors).

I realise that it is highly unlikley that this is the case with your dd. I feel bad if I have scared you but if, in the unlikley event, dd has the same thing it can blind.

An optician can see if she needs a trip to hospital and can also check the pressure.

Sorry again for scaremongering.

mumat39 Fri 30-Nov-12 16:47:32

Thanks Sashh.

It's not scaremongering. I suppose any things possible and I was thinking after reading Madame' reply above that I would take her to an opticians just as a precaution, so if there is anything untoward then at least we know. I do worry about the long term effects of these sorts of eye swellings.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like an unpleasant condition. I hope it's not too uncomfortable for you.

Take care.

Disappearing Sat 01-Dec-12 23:21:51

Could it be tree pollen (I'm feeling ignorant now, I'm sure its not pollen season at the mo, but our neighbour's tree is dropping great powdery catkins right now)

My DD gets the swollen itchy eye thing too, hers does seem to be caused by tree pollen, but in the summer time. She often just gets one eye affected. Or could there be flowers somewhere she's touching, then rubbing her eyes? I got a swollen itchy eye myself recently after arranging cut flowers. I'm not even sure what type they were.

mumat39 Tue 04-Dec-12 14:20:19

Thanks Disappearing.

The reactions have so far only happened at school, so I'm nt sure what it could be. I suspect it's probably something she's rubbing into her eye accidentally.

The first one was after PE in the school hall in the afternoon after the lunch session had finished. The next 2 were a mystery.

Our GP thinks it's an allergic reaction, DD's allergy nurse said it sounded like a recurrent infection and DD's allergist said it sounds like viral swelling.

We went swimming at the weekend to the same pool the school go. And DD didn't get any swelling afterwards, so it's definitely not being caused by chlorine or anything.

It's a mystery. Hadn't even realised we could get pollen this late in the year. I'll have to google Catkins to see which trees they grow on to see if there are any near the school.

Thanks for replying, it gives me another's option to investigate.

shuffleballchange Sun 16-Dec-12 20:12:45

Ds1 used to get this same reaction, turns out he's allergic to dog and cat hair (amongst many other things). Just sitting next to someone in class who had a pet at home could set him off. He now takes an antihistamine every morning, which has really made a difference.

mumat39 Mon 17-Dec-12 20:49:20

Thanks shuffle. i think dd is possibly allergic to dogs and cats so that's interesting.did your DS react in just one eye?

Also what antihistamine does he take?

Thanks for replying.

shuffleballchange Tue 18-Dec-12 12:13:25

Hi Op, he normally had the reaction in just one eye, occasionally both. He takes loratadine in tablet form, he used to take piroten liquid but that,made him drowsy. Taking the daily loratadine has really made a difference to him, give it a go. He gets his on prescription now. Good luck.

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