Health TipsEyelid Swelling - Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Eyelid Swelling – Causes, Treatment, and Prevention – If you notice that your eyelids have swelled, you should see your eye doctor immediately. Depending on the severity, an eye doctor may recommend a cold compress or other treatment. In more severe cases, a referral to an ophthalmologist may be necessary. Despite the ease of using cold compresses and baby shampoo, eyelid swelling should always be evaluated by a healthcare expert. In addition, if it persists for more than 48 hours, you should visit your eye doctor.

Common Causes of Swollen Eyelids

There are many different causes of eyelid swelling, but corticosteroids, aspirin, and nonprescription anti-inflammatory drugs are the most common culprits. Hormonal supplements can also cause eyelid swelling. If you suspect you may be experiencing eyelid swelling, consider a 2-week moratorium before reintroducing any potentially problematic medication. You may gradually add it back to your regimen as needed. The key to treating eyelid swelling is to avoid the triggers.

While eyelid swelling can be extremely uncomfortable and painful, it often disappears on its own after a day. If you have a mild case, you can try applying an ice pack or cool compress to the affected area. To prevent further eyelid swelling, optometrists recommend that you avoid rubbing your eyes as this could lead to infection or injury. You may also try applying a warm compress to the affected area, which will help open the blocked pores and drain. As with other skin conditions, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help you manage your eyelid swelling.

A sty is a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid. It looks like a pimple or boil and usually contains pus. Most styes form on the outside of the eyelid, but it may also form on the inner surface. It will usually go away on its own within a few days. If you notice itchiness, a warm washcloth can be applied to relieve the pain.

Infection can Cause Swelling and Irritation

If you suspect that you have an infection, visit your doctor immediately. Infection can cause swelling and irritation. In some severe cases, eyelid swelling may even lead to an open sore. In either case, you should avoid rubbing the affected area, since it may cause more harm than good. Inflammation in the eyelid may lead to blepharitis. Your doctor can prescribe medication that will alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of infection.

Another common cause of eyelid swelling is allergies. Infection or a reaction to a certain food can cause allergic eyelid swelling. Symptoms include itching and discharge, but are not limited to eyelids. Some people also develop eyelid swelling as a result of a severe allergic reaction. If you’re experiencing eyelid swelling, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms may also be accompanied by other signs or symptoms, such as a change in vision.

Other causes include orbital cellulitis, a bacterial infection that affects the eyelid tissue and orbital region. Treatment with antibiotics targets the bacteria causing infection, and symptoms improve within 24 to 48 hours. Occasionally, an infection can lead to eyelid swelling and bulging in the eyelid. Hyperthyroidism and Grave’s disease can also result in puffy eyes. Hyperthyroidism affects the tissues and muscles around the eye.

Healing Process Using a Warm Compress

Aside from the inflammation that occurs in eyelids, it is also possible to get infections of the eyelashes and meibomian gland. Styes usually cause redness and swelling and may even cause some discomfort. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible, as the infection can spread to another eye. A warm compress applied to the affected eyelid can speed up the healing process. If you think that you may have a bacterial infection, you should use a warm compress to reduce the inflammation.

A chalazion is a blocked gland on the inner rim of the eyelid. Usually, it is a non-painful swelling, but sometimes, it may extend across the entire eyelid. People with rosacea, a chronic skin disease that causes facial inflammation, have a higher risk for developing chalazions. Meanwhile, styes typically contain pus inside the enlarged eyelid and can last more than a week.


Codling, B. W., et al. “Histiocytosis presenting as swelling of orbit and eyelid.” The British Journal of Ophthalmology 56.7 (1972): 517.

Donker, Diane LT, et al. “Blepharoptosis and upper eyelid swelling due to lipogranulomatous inflammation caused by silicone oil.” American journal of ophthalmology 140.5 (2005): 934-936.


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