48-year-old Helen came to see me with very sore eyelids, which she had suffered from for months. The skin around her eyes was red and swollen and felt very dry. Her eyes had a lot of sticky discharge in the morning and could be very watery during the day. She showed me a handful of different creams prescribed by the doctor or bought over the counter, and said none of them had helped. The soreness and stinging sometimes made her cry. I believed this was inflammation of the rims of the eyelids, which is called blepharitis. According to modern medicine, blepharitis is usually a long-term (chronic) condition, which means once it develops it can cause repeated episodes, and there is no cure for it. I explained to Helen that for many skin problems, the more chemical drugs are used the more complicated they get. Although this is a tricky condition, traditional Chinese medicine might be able to help. I chose four pairs of points for acupuncture - two pairs around the eyes, one in the neck and one in the ears. Four days later when she came back, she said the soreness was less and the eyes were not as watery. I did similar treatment in the second session and also gave her some Chinese herbal medicine to boil and use externally. She didn't make the third appointment due to busy work. Six weeks later she phoned me and made another appointment, but this time was for a backache. I checked her eyes as soon as she came into the clinic. The skin around her eyes was perfect. She smiled and said: "I'm all right now. I can ware make-ups!"