What causes a swollen eyelid?
Why is my upper eyelid swollen?
Your eyelids can become swollen due to many reasons, such as the following:
- Stye or chalazion: Stye and chalazion are small bumps on anyone or both of your upper or lower eyelids that are caused by infection of the oil glands of your eye. A stye looks like a boil or a pimple. Although a stye is formed on the external surface of your eyelid, a chalazion is located inside the eyelid.
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye): Your eyes may be swollen due to an infectious eye disease known as conjunctivitis where your eyes become red and watery.
- Dacryocystitis: Blockage of the tear glands draining into the nose can make your eyelids swell and result in the watering of eyes.
- Cosmetic use: Not removing eye makeup at night can irritate the delicate area around the eye and cause swollen eyelids.
- Allergy: Allergy to insect bites (bees, bugs), dust, certain eyeliners or mascaras, and reaction to certain medicines can cause your eyelids to swell.
- Sinusitis: Recurrent inflammation of the nose that may be associated with swelling of the eyelids.
- Lack of sleep: Not sleeping well the previous night can make your eyes look puffy the next morning.
- Trauma: A heavy blow to the eye can rupture the small blood vessels under your eyelid and make your eyelids swollen.
- Corneal ulcer: A corneal ulcer (also known as keratitis) is an open sore on the clear outer layer of the front of your eye (cornea).
- Orbital and periorbital cellulitis: An infection of the deeper tissues of the eyes that spreads to the skin around your eyes.
- Ocular herpes simplex: A viral infection that causes your eyes to become red, swollen, and painful.
- Thyroid problem: An aggravated form of hyperthyroidism known as Grave’s disease can lead to an eye condition known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy, which is characterized by protruding eyeballs and puffy eyes.
- Blepharitis: Blepharitis is an inflammatory eyelid disease that causes the eyelids to become red, swollen, and itchy. Dandruff-like scales form on the eyelashes.
- Kidney problem: The inability of the kidneys to retain proteins in the body causes fluid build-up in the body leading to swelling all over the body, including the face and eyelids.
- Serious liver or heart problem: If there is a serious problem in your liver or heart, it leads to water retention in the body and causes puffy eyes.
How do you treat a swollen eyelid?
Treatment of the swollen eyelids will depend on the cause. Until you can see your doctor, you can try resolving the swelling of your eyelids at home by
- Applying a compress: Put a clean, wet cloth on your eyes twice a day for 15 minutes. Use a warm (hot) compress if the problem is due to a stye.
- Cleaning the eyes: Clean your eyes with sterile water or saline solution if there is a discharge from the eyes.
- Avoiding contact lenses: Avoid wearing contact lenses, which might irritate the eyelids further.
- Avoiding eye makeup: Avoid applying eyeliner or mascara until the eyelid swelling goes away.
- Use of over-the-counter eye drops: Over-the-counter eye drops contain antihistamines that help in treating eye allergies and relieve the redness and itching.
- Getting adequate sleep: Get adequate sleep to give rest to your eyes if you feel that the cause of the swollen eyelids is exhaustion and lack of sleep.
When should you see a doctor for swollen eyelid?
A simple eyelid swelling usually resolves within 24 hours. If it does not go away with simple home remedies as described above, you should see a doctor. You should also visit a doctor if:
- You have painful eyes
- You cannot bear to look at a bright light
- The eyelid swelling is blocking your vision
- Your eyelids are drooping
- You have blurred vision
- You suffer from
Your doctor will examine your eyes and take your complete history. He will prescribe you antibiotics in the form of eye drops or oral pills if he/she suspects infection.
Eye Health Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Periorbital Infections. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/798397-overview
Swollen eyelids. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eyelid-inflammation-blepharitis
Swelling Around Eye. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/symptoms/swelling-around-eye