Complications of atopic dermatitis (eczema) include:

  • Neurodermatitis. Prolonged itching and scratching may increase the intensity of the itch, possibly leading to neurodermatitis (lichen simplex chronicus). Neurodermatitis is a condition in which an area of skin that's frequently scratched becomes thick and leathery. The patches can be raw, red or darker than the rest of your skin. Persistent scratching can also lead to permanent scars or changes in skin color.
  • Skin infections. Sometimes, scratching can break the skin and cause open sores and fissures that can become infected, a process called impetiginization. A milder form of infection is impetigo, usually due to staphylococcal infection. Having atopic dermatitis predisposes you to this infection.
  • Eye complications. Severe atopic dermatitis can also cause eye complications, which may lead to permanent eye damage. When these complications occur, itching in and around the eyelids becomes severe. Signs and symptoms of eye complications also include eye watering and inflammation of the eyelid (blepharitis) and the lining of the eyelid (conjunctivitis). If you suspect complications with your eyes, see your doctor promptly.
Aug. 23, 2011