Just because you didn't have atopic eczema in your childhood, doesn't mean you don't have it in your genes. It just so happened that it started late with you. Oh so you're having hives. It's possible you have contact dermatitis then and not atopic eczema on your legs :| It's really best you have yourself diagnosed by a dermatologist.
I understand why you're wary about using steroid creams around your eyes. And it's not advisable too. Maybe you can try Emu oil? It has anti-inflammatory properties and it's great for the skin too. I have a friend who uses it as a regular skin moisturizer and her skin looks amazing! But I think it will take a few weeks of use before you'll see any improvement on your eyelid rash though.