Eyelid Swelling

Eyelid Swelling: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

When you see eyelid swelling when you look in the mirror after waking up, you tend to panic. You can become anxious and think about the serious issues resulting in the condition. In most cases, a simple problem can trigger the swelling. It can go away with some simple remedies. But, other cases can indicate the presence of a serious health condition. So, it is better to consult an ophthalmologist to get a proper diagnosis. Depending on the severity of the problem, you need treatment. Read ahead to get more information about the eye problem and the methods to overcome it.

What Do You Mean By Eyelid Swelling?

As the name suggests, the condition can cause your upper or lower eyelids to swell. You can experience the problem in one or both eyelids. So, your eyes may look puffy. In most of the cases, you develop the swelling without any pain. But, it accompanies with pain and itching in other people. It occurs when fluid starts to build up in the tissue surrounding the eyelids. The fluid retention in the thin tissue layers can make it look swollen. Swelling of your eyelid is an uncomfortable annoyance that goes away within a day. When the condition lasts longer, it creates complication. So, seek treatment. Else, it damages your eyes.

The swelling of eyelid differs from bulging eyes. Some underlying health conditions can cause both problems. You can develop the swelling on your eyelid due to different reasons. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor. The doctor can perform a thorough evaluation and determine the severity of the issue. With early intervention, you can prevent the problem from escalating.

Symptoms Of Eyelid Swelling

Symptoms Of Eyelid Swelling You can observe several signs before seeing the swelling in your eyelids. These signs can also appear after developing the swelling. The condition is usually accompanied by one or more of the following signs:

  • Itching or scratching sensation in eyes
  • Redness of eyes or eyelid
  • Inflammation of conjuctiva
  • Scale formation
  • Eye discharge
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Inability to open or close your eyes fully
  • Difficulty blinking
  • Obstructed vision (Depending on the severity of the swelling)
  • Tenderness of eyes
  • Puffy looking eyes
  • Eyelid dryness
  • Flaking
  • Watery eyes
  • Pain (when the swelling develops due to infection)

When you see your swelling in the eyelids, it is important to avoid touching it with your fingers. The action can introduce bacteria or foreign objects into the eye. Rubbing your eyes and eyelids can worsen the symptoms. If you experience other symptoms, then it means you need to seek medical help. The signs causing concern are:

  • Fever
  • Double vision
  • Vision loss
  • Proptosis (Abnormal bulging of one or both the eyes)

When you experience such signs or the swelling does not go away after two days, then you need medical assistance to deal with the problem.

Causes Of Eyelid Swelling

Eyelid swelling can occur due to several problems. Here are some the common causes that result in swelling of your eyelids.


Allergies are the reaction triggered by your immune system when your eyes come in contact with foreign substances or allergens. The allergies cause your eyes to release the chemical called mediators. It usually protects the eyes from sensitive particles, including allergens. The mediators like histamine can result in the dilation and swelling of the mucous membranes in your eyes. So, it results in the following symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Eyes become red
  • Watery eyes
  • So, you need to avoid coming in contact with allergens like
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Preservatives (in contact lens solution or eye drops)



Conjunctivitis or Pink eye is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear lining in the eye surface. Bacteria or virus can cause inflammation. The problem can cause the following symptoms:



Bacterial infection or inflammation of the Meibomian gland can cause the development of bump. In usual cases, the inflammation can block the oil-producing glands resulting in the development of a bump at the edge of the eyelid. It triggers the following signs:

  • Reddish bump
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Swelling of the affected eye



The condition occurs due to the blocking of Meibomian gland. The swelling may resemble a style. But, the bump later develops into a sebaceous cyst. The hard cysts develop away from your eyelid’s edge. So, the problem can cause eyelid swelling.

Problems With Contact Lens

When you care less for contact lenses, it can irritate the eyes and result in eyelid swelling. So, wearing a dirty lens, storing it in a dirty lens case, or swimming with the lens can cause problems to your eyes. The use of a dirty lens can also result in the swelling.



You have oil glands in your eyelids, which tends to empty near the base of eyelashes. The malfunctioning of the oil glands can cause inflammation. So, you can develop blepharitis. It can cause painful swelling on your eyelids. The condition triggers dandruff-like flaky skin on your eyelashes. You can also suffer a loss of eyelashes. You cannot completely cure the problem. But, it is possible to manage the condition with good hygiene practices and proper treatment. Dry eye syndrome, acne rosacea or bacterial infection can lead to blepharitis.

Periorbital Cellulitis

It is the common condition caused due to infection and inflammation of your eyelid. The problem can also affect the skin portions around the eyes. In most cases, the infection occurs due to viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens. The eye infection is also called as preseptal cellulitis. The infection affects the soft tissue around the anterior part of the eye to your orbital septum. You can see the following signs due to the condition:

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Swelling of the lower and upper eyelid
  • Redness of lower and upper eyelid
  • General discomfort

Orbital Cellulitis

Orbital Cellulitis

It is a rare bacterial infection that can cause serious problems to the tissues around the eyes. It is a medical emergency requiring prompt medical attention. You need antibiotic IV treatment to manage the bacterial infection and prevent a serious complication. So, visit the doctor immediately when you see the signs like:

  • Swelling of the upper and lower eyelid
  • Pain
  • Swelling in eyebrows and cheek
  • Bulging eyes
  • Fever
  • Decreased vision

Ocular Herpes

It is the infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. When the virus is transmitted from an infected person and affects the eye, you can suffer from swelling. It is commonly referred to as the cold sore of the eye. The infection causes inflammation and without treatment, it may result in scarring of the cornea. The symptoms of the conditions are similar to pink eye. But, you can also suffer from additional signs like:

  • Painful sores on the eyelid
  • Swelling of the eye, resulting in obstructed vision
  • Cloudy cornea causing blurry vision

You can suffer mild to severe herpes infection. Without proper treatment, you can suffer from permanent loss of vision. So, severe cases require a corneal transplant to save your eyesight.

Graves’ disease

It is an autoimmune disorder resulting from an overactive thyroid gland. The excess production of thyroid hormones can result in hyperthyroidism. So, you can experience several signs like:

  • Double vision
  • Puffy eyes
  • Swelling of eyelids
  • Bulging eyes
  • Drooping eyelids (ptosis)

You need to see a doctor immediately if you observe such symptoms. The ocular disorder is serious and requires immediate medical attention.

Diagnosing Eyelid Swelling

You need to see a doctor when the swelling remains for more than two days. You need to see an eye specialist or ophthalmologist get a better insight into the actual problem causing the swelling. Your doctor can perform the following tests to detect the issue:

Visual Eye Examination

During the examination, the doctor looks for symptoms. It is also thoroughly reviewed if the signs affect other parts of the body. The medical professional looks for other signs like a runny nose or other symptoms indicating allergies. The doctor checks if you suffer from a headache or toothache. It means you have a sinus infection or dental problem. Signs that accompanies with swollen eyelids can suggest other health problems.

Slit Lamp Examination

The evaluation of the eyelids under the slit lamp can help the doctor assess the problem correctly. The slit lamp shows the eye under high magnification. So, it is easy to check the exact location and color of the swelling. It also helps determine if the eyelid is warm or tender. The doctor also checks the functioning of the eye muscles and your vision. The test also helps uncover the presence of discharge.

Based on the diagnosis, your doctor can determine the severity of the issue. The treatment plan is developed depending on the severity of the swelling.

Treating Eyelid Swelling

Treating swollen eyelids depends on the underlying cause. When you wake up with the swelling, never panic. You can try to ease the swelling with some home remedies. It is the first line of treatment to implement. When you see no improvement, then get medical assistance. The treatment options available are:

Home Remedies For Eyelid Swelling

Minor bout of eyelid swelling can go away with some simple home treatments. You can try the suggested steps to get relief from the problem.

Avoid Rubbing

Rubbing your eyes and eyelids can worsen the condition. It can also result in infection. So, refrain from rubbing your eyes.

Rinse With Saline Solution

You can use a saline solution to rinse your eyes. It is effective in preventing dryness and stopping any discharge from the eyes.

Apply Cold Compress

You can apply a cold compress over the eyes to get relief from the discomfort caused by the swollen eyelid. Splashing cold water to the closed eyelids or placing a cold washcloth over your eyelids can also reduce the swelling.

Remove Contacts

If you use contact lens, then remove them. Using contact lens with swelling on your eyelids can only aggravate the condition. So, switch to glasses until the swelling goes away.

Chilled Caffeine

Caffeine is effective in reducing the swelling of your eyelids. So, you can place a chilled black tea bag on your closed eyelids.

Elevate Your Head

You need to elevate your head while sleeping at night. Place a pillow below your head. It will decrease fluid retention.

When you experience eyelid swelling for more than 48 hours even after trying the home remedies or have additional symptoms, then see an ophthalmologist.

Medical Treatments For Eyelid Swelling

Your ophthalmologist can perform a visual examination of your eyes and suggest appropriate treatments. In the majority of the cases, your doctor recommends over-the-counter eye drops or stronger medication to treat the condition.

Treating Allergies

If you suffer from swollen eyelids due to allergic reaction, then your doctor prescribes antihistamine eye drops. For some people, oral allergy medication is prescribed along with artificial tears. The lubricating eye drops can often relieve the symptoms. For severe allergic cases, your doctor recommends mild steroid drops.

Treatment For Infections

When the swelling occurs in your eyelids due to infections like ocular herpes or conjunctivitis, your doctor prescribes anti-inflammatory or anti-viral medications. It is available in ointment or eye drops form. Depending on the severity of the issue, you need to take antibiotics to manage the condition.

Use Photochromic Lenses

Some people suffer from photophobia due to the chronic inflammation of the eyelid. Therefore, the doctor can prescribe photochromic lenses. Using it reduces light sensitivity. Remember not to use contact lens until the swelling goes away.

If you see the swelling continuing or worsening, then it indicates some other serious health problem like kidney infection. So, you need a thorough examination to rule out the sinister causes of swelling in your eyelids.

Complications Due To Eyelid Swelling

If you fail to address the swelling of your eyelid, it can escalate to something serious. In some people, the condition causes no inconvenience due to mild swelling. They may not experience other noticeable complications. But, others may experience the following complications due to the eyelid swelling:

Trouble Seeing

The swelling of your eyelids can cause blurry vision. You will find it difficult to see properly.

Difficult Performing Daily Tasks

The swelling can make it difficult for you to perform normal tasks. You can face difficulty in reading or driving as it causes extra strain to your eyes.

Eye Infection

The swelling can escalate into secondary eye infection. The infection can increase the risk of scarring or permanent loss of vision.

Issues With Facial Care

The swelling of your eyelid can affect your visual beauty. You will also find it difficult to take care of your face. Washing the face and applying makeup can become hard.

Not Respond To Treatment

Early intervention can ensure you respond to the treatments. But, as time progresses the condition may not respond to the treatment option. So, you will find it difficult to manage the problem.

Consult your doctor when the home remedies fail to show any improvement. Without proper treatment, you cannot function properly.

Preventing Eyelid Swelling

You prevent swelling in the eyelids by following some preventive steps. It will keep the problems triggering the eye condition away.

Test For Allergies

To prevent eyelid swelling, you need to get tested for allergies. In the majority of the cases, people suffer from the swelling due to adverse allergic reactions. So, get tested to uncover the triggers that cause the body’s adverse reaction. With the knowledge, you can avoid the allergens or minimize their exposure to prevent the problem.

Choose Makeup With Care

Eye makeups and eye cosmetics can irritate and result in swelling of your eyelids. So, choose beauty and makeup products with extra care. Check for hypoallergenic products that cause no reaction on your skin or eyes. It is better to select fragrance-free products to prevent allergies. Before using makeup on your face, you need to do a patch test. It will help you rule out any possible allergic reaction due to the use of the products.

Use Preservative-Free Eye Drops

You can suffer from dry eyes. In such cases, artificial tears or eye drops can help overcome the dryness. While selecting eye drops, take care to choose preservative-free eye drops. When you choose regular eye drops, it can avoid bacterial growth. But, the preservatives in it can cause allergies to some people. The preservative-free drops are gentler and offer soothing effects to the eyes.

Proper Hygiene While Wearing Contact Lenses

Contact lens is a comfortable and convenient alternative to eyeglasses. But, you need to follow some guidelines while using them.

  • You cannot wear them all the time as it can irritate. So, use eyeglasses.
  • You need to clean the lens correctly. A dirty lens can contribute to the swelling of your eyes and eyelids by trigger irritation.
  • Replace your contact lenses as well as contact lens case at frequent intervals.

With proper hygiene techniques, you can minimize eye infections and problems that cause swelling of the eyelids.

Take Eye Vitamins

You can eye vitamins to ensure the good health of the eyes. The vitamins for the eyes can prevent several problems. So, include the following vitamins in your diet:

Vitamin A

You need to consume food rich in Vitamin A like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, etc. to keep your retina healthy and eyes moist.

Vitamin C

Citrus fruits, capsicum, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli are natural sources of Vitamin C. Therefore, include it in your diet.

Vitamin B Complex (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12)

Several food items contain one or more B vitamins. So, you can include the following in your diet to ensure good eye health:

  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Chicken
  • Yogurt

Vitamin E

Vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds are rich sources of Vitamin E. Hence, include the fat-soluble vitamin in your daily life.

Vitamin D

Sunlight is the natural source of Vitamin D. You can also talk to your doctor about taking supplements to ensure good eye health.


Eyelid swelling is a common problem occurring due to different reasons. You can experience the eye condition at some point in your life. The condition can trigger discomfort and uneasiness. You can also suffer from impaired vision due to it. Apart from that, you can face issues while applying cleanser or make-up. The swelling of your eyelids can mar your physical appearance, which can make you feel self-conscious about yourself. So, you need to take care of the problem as early as possible. Try some home remedies as the first line of treatment. It can manage the condition and reduce the discomfort. But, you need to seek help from an ophthalmologist when the condition does not heal or you experience other symptoms along with it. With proper care, you can prevent serious complications, including loss of vision. So, never ignore the problem and manage the issue immediately.

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