A swollen eyelid occurs when there is inflammation or excess fluid (edema) in the connective tissues surrounding the eye. Swollen eyes can be painful  or non-painful, and involve one eye or two and top or bottom eyelids.

Symptoms of Swollen Eyelids

Swelling of the eyelids is a symptom of an underlying cause, such as allergy or infection. Swollen eyes usually are accompanied by one or more of the following:

  • Eye irritation, such as an itchy or scratchy sensation
  • Excess tear production, resulting in watering eyes
  • Obstructed vision (depending on the extent of the swelling)
  • Redness of the eyelid
  • Redness and inflammation of the white of the eye (conjunctiva)
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Pain, particularly when swollen eyelids are caused by infection

Puffy vs. Swollen Eyelids

The term “puffy eyes” is often used interchangeably with the term “swollen Eyelid Swolleneyes.” Swollen eyes is generally used to describe an immune response to allergy, infection or injury. “Puffy Eyes” is more likely used to refer to the external characteristic of swollen eyes from water retention, lack of sleep or genetic traits like dark circles under the eyes.

Cause of Swollen Eyelids

Allergies – an allergic reaction can be caused by pollen, dust, pet dander, eye drops, contact lens solution, or make-up.

Conjunctivitis – Often called “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the white tissue on the surface of the eye. Allergic, bacterial and viral infections can result in swollen eyelids.

Styes – Styes are located at the edge of the eyelid and appear as a swollen, red, painful bump.

Chalazion – Caused by a blocked meibomian gland, it can mimic a stye but is usually not on the edge of the eyelid.

Eye Injuries – Any trauma to the eye area, including an eyelid contusion (black eye) and cosmetic surgery can trigger inflammation and swollen eyelids.

Contact Lens Wear – Improper care of contact lenses such as dirty lenses, old lenses or poorly fitting lenses can cause an eye infection and swollen eyelids.

Blepharitis – This is characterized by red, swollen eyelids due to inflammation. It appears like a dandruff on the eyelashes.

Orbital Cellulitis – This is rare but can become a serious bacterial infection of the tissues surrounding the eye, resulting in painful swelling.

Ocular Herpes – Transmitted by the common herpes simplex virus, it can cause inflammation of the eyelids and if it infects the cornea, herpes can cause permanent scarring.

Treatment of Swollen Eyelids

The first step in treating swollen eyelids is to identify the cause. The doctors at Westside Optometry may write a prescription, recommend an over the counter remedy or suggest hot or cold compresses depending on the diagnosis.

Tips for Preventing Swollen Eyelids

  • Control your allergies
  • Choose and use cosmetics, lotions and skin products carefully
  • Pay attention to eye drops you use, do not share them, check the expiration date and verify the intended use.
  • If you wear contact lenses, you can minimize your risk of eye infection or irritation by practicing proper hygiene, replacing contacts and contact cases as prescribed and not over-wearing your lenses.