Health A-Z

Swollen Eyelids – This Is What You Need To Know

Swollen Eyelids
Swollen Eyelids

Swollen Eyes

Swollen eyelids aren’t just an unpleasant anesthetic thing to look at, but it could also be a sign of an underlying ailment.

I want you to be prepared and aware of what they might mean when they occur. After all, knowledge is power and you should always be prepared.

What’s Irritating Your Eyes?

Stye (hordeolum)

eye image 1

It is an infection of a gland inside the eyelid. Most of the time, the tear glands that are at the base of the eyelashes get infected. Sometimes, they can appear inside the eyelid due to infected oil glands.

At the beginning it looks like red, itchy, painful, swollen lumps. Over the course of a few hours or days, they start to resemble a pimple. Some have a white head.


Most of the time it requires no treatment and you can ease the pain with the help of warm compresses.

If you have a style, you should avoid make-up, eye creams, and any other eye products. Also, you must never try to pop the stye because it can spread the infection and eventually damage the eye.

When should you call a doctor?

  • several styes appear at once
  • the stye is very painful
  • the symptoms worsen
  • a fever develops
  • vision is impaired


It resembles a stye, however it is not an infection. A chalazion is actually the clogging of an oil gland in the eyelid.

If you’ve had a chalazion already, there is a high possibility that you will have more or the bumps could grow quite large. The good news is that they rarely hurt and they usually disappear on their own after a few days.

Use warm compresses to make the chalazion clear quicker.

If the chalazia grows very large, besides interfering with your vision and being painful, it can become difficult to ascertain what it is. A chalazion, a stye, an eye infection?

When should you contact your eye doctor?

If the bump doesn’t disappear in a few days or if you observe other signs, such as fever.


Itchy, red, watery eyes, and swollen eyelids are the symptoms for an eye allergy.

Although it is very annoying, it rarely presents any danger. Being allergic to dust, pollen, and other common allergens irritate the eyes.

The only viable solution for you is to avoid the allergens as much as possible and use antihistamines, or eye drops to get a bit of relief and to stop the itchiness and dryness.

However, if the symptoms persist, contacting your eye doctor will help not only you, but also him, to prescribe for you the best treatment available.


Puffy, swollen eyelids can sometimes mean they are the result of fatigue.

Water retention overnight can be another reason, especially if you hadn’t had a good night’s rest.

Gently apply a cold compress over your eyes. Lie with the head elevated on a pillow for more comfort and support. You could also drink a glass of water to help reduce fluid retention and swelling.


It can cause the rupture of tiny blood vessels in your eyes and eyelids, especially if it is a forceful one.

Moreover, because of the increase in blood flow to the area around the eyes, swollen eyelids can also be the result of fluid retention.

All you can do is apply cool compresses, elevate the head, rest, and drink water.

Common cosmetics and skincare products

Makeup and skincare products irritate the eyes and the surrounding tissue.

makeup image

This can be quite a painful experience. Also, you may even have an allergic reaction to one or more of the substances that are found in these cosmetic products.

If you feel a burning sensation accompanied by swollen eyes, use eye drops to stop the discomfort.

However, avoid using eye-whitening drops or other products that relieve pain. Together with makeup and skincare products, they can trigger unexpected chemical reactions.

You should see an eye doctor if the burning doesn’t stop or if it gets worse.

Orbital cellulitis

It is an infection deep in the tissue of the eyelid.

This infection spreads fast and is most of the times, very painful. Only a tiny cut is able to give entrance to enough bacteria in order to trigger orbital cellulitis.

You should seek immediate medical care if the eyelid is:

  • very painful
  • red
  • streaked
  • swollen

Graves’ disease

Because of an overactive thyroid that mistakenly releases cells to fight a nonexistent infection in the eye, you are left with swollen and inflamed eyes.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Exophthalmos (proptosis or bulging)
  • Blurred vision
  • Tearing
  • Grittiness
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Double vision (diplopia)
  • Staring appearance

If you think you have this disease, you should consult an eye doctor. Also, in order to prevent it, it has been

Ocular herpes

It’s a herpes infection that affects in and around the eye.

It is a condition most common in children. This type of infection is similar in appearance with pink eye, but it rarely produces distinct lesions.

To be diagnosed, a doctor must take an eye culture and check for the presence of the herpes virus. Although it remains in the body, antiviral medications and a strong immunity are enough to manage the symptoms.


It is a chronic, incurable condition that affects people who have more than usual bacteria in and around their eyelids.

Symptoms of blepharitis:

  • oily and swollen eyelids
  • dandruff-like flakes around eyelashes
  • painful, inflamed eyelids

To prevent this disease, you should always remove makeup properly.

Also, if you already suffer from it, warm compresses and an eyelid scrub could help.

If not treated, this condition can lead to severe complications. If the outbreak is worse than the previous ones or if you feel intense pain, then you should consult your eye doctor.

Blocked tear duct

This results in painful and red eyelid.

If you suffer from this condition, you may also notice a crusty drainage and upon waking your eyes may be sealed shut.

Especially newborns and infants are inflicted with this condition. But they usually recover by the time they are one-year-old.  

A blocked tear duct is mostly not harmful, only annoying. You can use warm compresses to ease the swelling and to help boost the drainage of the tear duct. Also, try to massage the area gently to reduce pressure. This also helps drain the duct.

If the tear duct gets infected, as in you notice the eyelid is very painful or if you develop a fever, then you should seek prompt care.

If the blocked tear duct does not clear up, a doctor may need to perform a medical procedure to open it. But this is very rare.

Pink eye (conjuctivitis)

It’s when the eye’s conjunctiva (the clear, thin tissue that lines the eyelid and eyeball) gets inflamed.


  • pink or red eyeballs
  • painful, itching, and swollen eyelids

Causes of conjunctivitis:

  • viral infection – most common, clears up on its own after a week
  • bacterial infection
  • allergies or irritants like perfume

To ease the pain, apply warm compresses. In addition, you must:

  • keep the eye clean and free of makeup.
  • avoid rubbing or touching the eye.
  • wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of the infection.

Visit the doctor if the symptoms get worse.

Although for some of them it’s really hard to distinguish the real cause of the issue, it’s important for you to know the basics.

If it doesn’t go away in 24 hours and the symptoms get worse, you try to apply compresses and if that doesn’t work either, visit your doctor.

Don’t play with your health and always keep a very good eye hygiene. Moreover, if you want to find out how to keep your eyes in excellent shape, read my article entitled Simple Steps to Keep Your Eyes in Excellent Shape.

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