Swollen eyelid


indexAnyone can face a swollen eyelid. It is a common phenomenon that results from excessive accumulation of fluid near the eyes. Our eyelids are quite thin and consist of fat, muscle, nerves, connective tissue, and vessels. Despite their fragile and skinny appearance, a swelling in the eyelid can be caused due to a lot of reasons. Among them, the most common causes of swollen eyelid are eye injuries, eye infections, allergies, and even trauma.

In particular cases, like orbital cellulitis, Graves’ disease, and ocular herpes, a swollen eye just represents a symptom that indicates some problem that can result in the loss of vision, in some cases. The swelling in the eyelid can take place both on the lower and upper eyelids of both the eyes. It occurs because of the excess edema present in the tissues near the eye. A swollen eyelid can also be caused due to inflammation.If your eyelid swelling is still there over a normal time period or gets worse with time, then it is vital that you must visit your eye doctor and get a complete checkup done. For your convenience, we have put together a list of some of the possible causes of swollen eyelid, along with its symptoms and treatments. We have also listed some precautionary measures that you can take, in order to avoid a swollen eyelid.

Some possible causes of swollen eyelid

As said above, a swollen eyelid can be caused due to a number of reasons. Among them, many are not serious or critical to your overall health. However, in some cases, eyelid swelling also indicates towards a life threatening or a more critical issue.


Besides allergic reactions, a swollen eyelid can result from an infection. Some of the common infections that cause this type of swelling below or above the eyelid are:

  • A viral herpes infection
  • Cellulitis skin infection
  • An infection of the sinus
  • Dacryocystitis and mumps
  • An infected eyelash follicle
  • Conjunctivitis, also referred to as pink eye makes the eye surface inflamed. It can cause itching in the eye as well as a swollen eyelid.
  • Chalazion is a type of infection similar to stye in a few ways. It also results from the blockage of meibomian gland. But, unlike stye, it causes a hard sebaceous cyst that makes the eyelid inflamed.
  • Stye is a type of infection that is caused by the meibomian gland, which gets inflamed upon getting infected by bacteria
  • Using contact lenses inappropriately or in an improper way can also result in an infection.

2. Allergies

The tissue around the eyelid can get swollen due to numerous allergies. Most of the allergic reactions that cause a swelling in the eyelid are mild. However, sometimes the swelling can be caused by a severe allergic reaction. A swollen eyelid can be caused by the following allergies:

  • Allergic reaction caused through the bite of an insect
  • A reaction to cosmetics, dust, pollen, etc.
  • Reaction to animal dander
  • An anaphylactic allergic reaction
  • Codeine or Penicillin can trigger an allergic reaction

3. Trauma

An injury or a trauma can also cause the tissue around the eyelids to swell. Some of the common traumatic causes of such an inflammation of the eyelid are:

  • Surgery of face or eye
  • A foreign object that enters the eye
  • An eye injury
  • Facial burns
  • Burns on the face


Symptoms of swollen eyelid

There are several symptoms of a swollen eyelid. Some are common and mild, and some are more severe. Let us look at some of the common and severe symptoms behind the swelling of an eyelid.

1.Common symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of a swollen eyelid include:

  • Itching sensation in the eye
  • Irritation in the eye
  • Bruising of the swollen eyelid
  • Pain felt in the inflamed eye
  • Discharge of water from the swollen eye
  • Oozing of a sticky liquid from the affected eye
  • Sneezing, malaise, and headache (if it is caused by an allergy)


2. Severe symptoms

Some of the serious symptoms behind the swelling of an eyelid that require immediate treatment are:

  • Dyspnea (Shortness of breath)
  • Giddiness
  • Fever
  • Swollen tongue (a symptom of anaphylactic shock)
  • Blurred vision
  • Discharge of blood from the affected eye
  • Extreme swelling of the eyelids that cause them to bulge out
  • Uncontrolled twitching of the eye
  • Unrestrained movement of the eye or inability to control eyelids


Treatments for swollen eyelid

A swollen eyelid is usually treated only after assessing the cause behind it. Ophthalmologists usually prescribe eye drops as the first line of treatment.

1.Medical products

When the swelling of an eyelid is caused by various infections and viruses, the optometrist usually prescribes antiviral eye drops, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory ointments. When the swelling is caused by an allergy, it is treated with antihistamine eye drops, artificial tears, and mild steroid drops.

2. Home remedies

There are several home remedies that can cure a mild swelling in the eyelid. Some of them include:

  • Not wearing contact lenses, till the swelling subsides
  • Abstaining from rubbing the inflamed eye
  • Applying a cold compress on the affected eyelid


If the swollen eyelid does not react to any of the traditional treatment methods and starts to deteriorate even more, then you must see your ophthalmologist immediately.

Prevention’s for swollen eyelid

You should know how to prevent a swollen eyelid. Swollen eyelids can be avoided by wearing protective sunglasses, since they prevent eye injuries that are one of the common causes of swelling in the eyelid. You should use sunglasses made of polycarbonate, as they will protect your eyes very well. Some of the other ways through which you can prevent swollen eyelids are:

  • Drink water as much as you can, increase your intake of vitamins, and rest as much as possible.
  • Reduce intake of alcohol, caffeine, and sodium.
  • Take a test for allergies that can affect you; and then avoid those eye irritants and allergens that can trigger an allergic reaction, such as cucumber, hemorrhoid cream, tea bags, etc.
  • Always use hypoallergenic and perfume-free make-up items to reduce the chances of an allergic reaction.
  • Do not use eye drops that have preservatives in them.