Barley in children: causes, symptoms, treatment


2023-04-08 13:03:57




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Barley in a child is a limited accumulation of pus in the eyelash hair follicle and the associated sebaceous glands of the Zeiss, less often in the lobules of the meibomian glands embedded in the cartilage of the eyelids. The clinical picture of the disease in a child is characterized by painful swelling and hyperemia of the eyelid, the formation of an abscess at the root of the eyelash (external barley) or from the inside of the eyelid (internal barley), followed by opening and release of pus. The diagnosis of barley in a child is established on the basis of a general examination of the eye and eyelids in natural and side lighting. With barley in a child, purification and disinfection of the infiltrate, the use of eye drops and ointments with antibacterial action, if necessary, surgical opening of the abscess are indicated.

General information

Barley in a child is an acute local purulent-inflammatory process affecting the hair sac of the eyelash with the sebaceous glands of the Zeiss, and sometimes the large meibomian glands of the tarsal-conjunctival plate. Barley in children is often found in the clinical practice of pediatrics and pediatric ophthalmology.

barley in children

Unfortunately, today barley in children is a relatively frequent phenomenon, from which no one is immune. Of course, no parent wants his child to wake up one morning with a swollen eye. To prevent this situation, it is very important to find out the primary reasons provoking this problem. On the other hand, if the diagnosis of the disease still could not be avoided, it is imperative to find out how to cure barley in children. In this article we will give the most detailed answers to all these questions.

Main reasons

Doctors today identify several primary causes leading to the development of this problem. Sometimes it is enough to rub the eyes with dirty hands, and literally the next day a small swelling appears on the eye. However, this is not the only factor that causes barley in children. The systematic formation of this disease is to some extent facilitated by a very weakened immune system, as well as the most common hypothermia.

barley in a one-year-old child


There are external and internal, single and multiple, one- and two-sided barley in a child. External barley in a child is detected more often, characterized by a purulent focus on the edge of the outer skin-muscle plate of the eyelid in the root zone of the eyelashes. With internal barley (meibomitis) in a child, purulent inflammation develops in the thickness of the cartilaginous plate of the upper or lower eyelid with the exit of the abscess to its inner mucous surface, directly adjacent to the eyeball. The formed barley in a child is an accumulation of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and tissue necrosis, i.e. abscess.

Symptoms of barley in a child

The clinical picture of barley in a child is characterized by an acute onset and a rapid increase in symptoms. The formation of external barley begins with the appearance of hyperemia and edema in a limited area of the eyelid in the area of eyelash growth. The child complains of soreness when blinking and touching the site of inflammation, tingling and itching. The eyelid swells and thickens, which leads to a narrowing of the eye slit, sometimes to the inability to open the eye. The inflammatory infiltrate rapidly increases in size, and on day 2-3, as a result of purulent melting, an abscess with a yellowish head forms at the roots of the eyelashes.

After 1-2 days, barley spontaneously breaks out with the release of purulent contents and necrotic tissue particles. In a child, the resolution of barley can occur much faster due to the habit of rubbing his eyes often. After opening the barley, the child's soreness, swelling and hyperemia of the eyelid decrease, by the end of the week the signs of inflammation disappear. In severe cases and with multiple barley, the child may be disturbed by headache, fever, general weakness, accompanied by an increase in parotid and submandibular lymph nodes (lymphadenitis).

With internal barley (meibomitis) in a child, inflammation develops less acutely, swelling and hyperemia become more noticeable when the eyelid is turned out, redness and irritation of the conjunctiva of the eye may occur. With internal barley in a child, the opening of the abscess occurs from the inner surface of the eyelid into the conjunctival sac. After spontaneous resolution of internal barley, granulation growths of the eyelid mucosa may appear. With a decrease in immunity in a child and the presence of foci of chronic infection, inflammation of the eyelids can acquire a prolonged course with periodic relapses of barley.


Squeezing out the contents of barley in a child is unacceptable, because it is dangerous for the spread of purulent infection with the development of orbital phlegmon, orbital eyelid thrombophlebitis, cavernous sinus thrombosis, in rare cases - purulent meningitis with a risk of death. Barley in a child can turn into a chronic non–infectious lipogranulomatous inflammation of the sebaceous glands of the eyelid - chalazion.

Diagnosis of barley in a child

The diagnosis of barley in a child is established by a pediatric ophthalmologist based on the results of a general examination of the eye and eyelids in natural light and by the method of lateral illumination. Biomicroscopy of the eye with internal barley in a child allows you to establish the expansion of the mouths of the meibomian glands.

To identify the causes of recurrent barley in a child, a comprehensive examination is carried out with the involvement of a pediatric immunologist, pediatric dermatologist, pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric endocrinologist. Barley in a child is differentiated with chalazion, dacryocystitis, cysts and tumors of the eyelids. Assigned:

  • General analysis of blood and urine,
  • Determination of blood sugar,
  • Bacteriological examination of a smear from the conjunctiva (to isolate the pathogen and its sensitivity to antibiotics),
  • Analysis of feces for worm eggs,
  • Examination of eyelashes for demodecosis,
  • Study of immunological status.

How does the disease manifest itself?


  • Redness of the eyelid;
  • Headache;
  • Swelling;
  • Itching;
  • Slight increase in body temperature.

Disease development

According to experts, barley in children, as a rule, it develops rapidly. Literally on the second day, the primary symptoms described above already appear, as well as a small yellowish bump on the eyelid itself. After another five days, it breaks through, and a viscous liquid begins to ooze out of it - pus. During this period, parents must necessarily monitor the hygiene of children's hands, as it is possible to introduce an infection, which, in turn, will worsen the course of the disease.

treatment of barley in children

Treatment of barley in children. Expert advice

First of all, it should be noted that the tubercle that has appeared should in no case be artificially squeezed out, as this can lead to very serious complications. It is also not recommended to apply heat to the affected area of the eye. The best solution would be to seek help from a specialist. The doctor will prescribe individual treatment after the examination and visual examination, depending on the child's health indicators. Note that similar therapeutic agents are most often used. For example, to cure barley in a one-year-old child, special eye drops (20% Albucide) and Tetracycline 1% ointment are prescribed. The latter should be laid behind the eyelid three times a day until the disease completely disappears. If you do not have the opportunity to seek medical help immediately, you can slightly cauterize the eyelid with alcohol, iodine or green paint. Take a cotton swab and dip it in the liquid, and then gently cauterize the inflamed place. In this case, you should be especially careful with young children so that alcohol or iodine does not accidentally get into the eye itself. According to experts, in the early stages, this is often enough if the primary hygiene rules are observed, so that the disease does not continue its further development.

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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