When eye warts occur, they should be treated as soon as possible as they can otherwise lead to more serious problems. Since many wart treatments involve the use of acid or other caustic substances, it is best not to attempt these treatments at home. The caustic agent can enter the eye itself and cause serious, or even permanent damage. This is why you will likely need professional help in order to get rid of your eye warts, although more gentle treatments such as garlic juice might be used at home to accompany professional medical help and prevent re-occurrence.
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When You Have Eye Warts
Warts on the eyes are every bit as contagious as warts on other parts of the body. Therefore, while you have this infection you should be very careful to never touch your eye. If you do need to touch the affected area, immediately wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading the infection to your other eye or to other people.
The Various Types of Eye Warts
There are several types of warts that can occur on or around the eye:
- Filiform warts: If you have a wart on your eyelid, it is most likely a filiform wart. They tend to be more elongated than other types of warts. They can occur as a single wart, or as a cluster. Because they tend to itch, they can occasionally cause bleeding when scratched. This is usually not harmful, but it can lead to openings for secondary infections, so you should be careful not to scratch it no matter how much it itches. To learn more about filiform warts on eyelids, read here.
- Common skin wart: These warts are usually the same color as surrounding skin and rough to the touch. They don’t usually occur on eyelids, but will sometimes grow near the eye to the side or in the inner part of the bridge of the nose. Since they can grow rather large over time, they should not be ignored, even if they aren’t bothersome at first.
- Flat wart: These warts occur most often in children and teenagers. They are very small and almost always occur in clusters. They may be skin colored or a bit darker than the surrounding skin. They can occur on arms, hands and necks as well, but are most common on the face and pop up around the eye area quite often.
Eye warts can vary in location:
- Wart On Eye
Known as a conjunctival papilloma, this wart looks like a tiny head of cauliflower and grows directly on the mucous membrane covering the eye and eyelids. This wart type should never be treated at home because the membranes that line the eye are very delicate and susceptible to secondary infection. If you notice this type of growth, you should see a trained medical professional as soon as possible to prevent potential damage.
- Warts Under Eye
If your wart is under the eye, you should consider professional help for this type as well, depending on the nearness to the lower eyelid. While it may seem harmless and easy to remove it with a caustic wart remover, there are delicate nerves under the eye that could be damaged with misapplication. The skin under the eye is also very thin and fragile, and therefore very susceptible to scarring.
- Warts Near Eyes
Warts that are near the eyes, but not directly on the eye area are likely to be flat warts or common warts. Flat warts can be stubborn to heal and can take months to resolve, but they usually do resolve on their own. Common warts can be eliminated with milder wart treatments if they are not too near the eye, but stringent precautions must be taken. For instance, if salicylic acid were to drip into the eye itself, it could severely damage the conjunctiva and lead to permanent vision damage.
- Warts Around Eyes
Warts directly around the eyes will most always be of the filiform type and can often be treated with just one quick trip to the doctor. While some have attempted to use treatments such as Freeze Away and acid on these warts, more often than not they ended up at the doctor treating a sore eye after the fact. So, you will save yourself from a great deal of pain and annoyance by simply having a professional remove it in the first place.
How Do You Get Them?
All warts are caused by an extremely prevalent virus called human papilloma virus. The virus is literally everywhere and very contagious. You are literally as likely to catch it as you are to catch the common cold. Most of us have developed immunity to the various strains that we are exposed to and never notice a breakout.
Occasionally, the virus will lie dormant in our bodies for years after entering the skin through a small cut or scratch and suddenly pop up when one’s immune system is depressed. This can happen due to illness, injury or for completely unexplained reasons. You can even spread the virus from one part of your body to another, such as from your eyes to your nose. A wart on your nose can be troublesome, but you can learn how to get rid of these warts in this article.
Never try freezing treatments on or very near the eye. The risk of damaging delicate tissues is far too great. A trained physician may choose to use this treatment to eliminate your eye warts, but they know how to apply it without causing damage and when another method will be more appropriate. Always follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to your eyes. Your vision is far too important to risk for merely cosmetic reasons.
How Can Eye Warts Be Removed?
While all caustic removal treatments will involve the help of a doctor because of the location, there are treatments that you can use at home to help speed the healing process and help your body fight the HPV virus.
- Duct tape: It may look funny, but if your warts are in an area where you can easily apply duct tape without ripping out eyelashes or damaging delicate under eye skin, this treatment can help. Simply apply the duct tape directly over the wart and replace it once a day (being very careful not to rip too hard on the delicate skin when removing it.) The duct tape irritates the skin that contains the virus and helps to slough it off. It can take about three weeks to do the trick. Duct tape also works for warts on other parts of the face. You can read this article to learn how to remove warts on your face using other methods as well.
- Eat garlic: Garlic is a natural antiviral. It can help boost your immune system to rid yourself of the virus internally. This is a complimentary treatment and should be used in conjunction with other methods. You can also apply garlic directly to the wart. It’s a bit stinky, yes, but many have reported success with garlic juice and garlic cloves.
- Tagamet: Believe it or not, this over the counter heartburn treatment works wonders on warts. Tagamet works by stimulating T-lymphocyte levels, which are the necessary component of the immune system for fighting viral infections. Tagamet has been shown through clinical trials to help clear HPV infections at dosages of 30 or 40 mg per kg of body weight per day. As with any over the counter medication, you should always check with your doctor to assess possible interactions with your other medications or medical conditions before beginning treatment. It doesn’t work for everyone, but considering the relatively low risk of side effects, many consider this treatment worth a try. To learn more about tagamet for warts, see this page.
When you go to your doctor (as you should for eye warts), he or she will likely use laser removal, electro-cauterization, surgical removal or freezing. This is a very benign condition with risk of permanent damage almost always resulting from attempts to remove the warts with harsh at-home treatments. So, don’t use harsh wart treatments around your eye. It’s better to be safe than sorry.