Read below about swollen eyelid, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen eyelid from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Swollen Eyelid Symptoms

A swollen eyelid can be a baffling symptom. It can be distressing to have such a sensitive part of your body as your eye suddenly seem to go wrong, especially when it is so visible to everyone. But swelling is actually part of the body's attempt to protect a part that may be injured, and when it occurs around the eyes it should always be investigated.

The most common causes of eyelid swelling are allergies. And the delicate structures of the eye are vulnerable to bacterial infections, which is why it's so important to wash your hands before touching or rubbing your eyes.

Injuries can cause swelling of one or both eyelids, either from direct trauma or due to blood and fluid being forced into the eyelid from an impact that occurs near it.

Characteristics:

  • Puffy appearance of one or both eyelids. Usually the upper eyelids are affected, but it can be both upper and lower or just the lower.
  • The swelling may be red and hot, or the skin of the eyelid may be its normal color.
  • There may be small bumps along the inner rim of the eyelid.

Who is most often affected by swollen eyelid symptoms?

  • Hygiene is a factor with eye infections. Cleanliness of hands, face, washcloths, towels, and contact lenses is very important.
  • Children are prone to eye infections since they don't always wash their hands as they should.

Are swollen eyelid symptoms serious?

  • A swollen eyelid from an allergy or insect bite is not serious. The allergy can be treated, and the bite cared for so that it does not become infected.
  • Bacterial infections of the rim of the eyelid are fairly common and can be treated with prescription drops from your medical provider.
  • Deeper infections anywhere around the eye, especially with redness, pain, and fever, should be treated right away before vision is affected.

Swollen Eyelid Causes Overview

Most common swollen eyelid cause types:

  • Allergies, either seasonal allergies, food allergies, or something you touched just before touching your eyes.
  • Bacterial infection of the conjunctiva (the pink rim around the eyes.)
  • Injuries, which can cause swelling and discoloration of the eyelids.
  • Insect bites, usually from a mosquito, can cause one or more red swellings on the eyelid.

Less common swollen eyelid cause types:

  • Bacterial infection at the base of an eyelash, appearing as a small, sore bump with some swelling of the eyelid.
  • Bacterial infection of the tiny oil glands around the eyelashes, appearing as a small, hard lump that is usually not painful.
  • Viral infections of the eyelid, which may appear as clusters of small bumps or scabs on and around the eyelids.
  • Infection following surgery or other treatment, which will appear as red, sore, and swollen eyelids.

Rare & unusual swollen eyelid cause types:

  • Bacterial infection of the skin near the eye. It can begin as a sinus infection and then spread to the eye socket, causing redness and swelling of the deeper tissues around the eyes.
  • Skin cancer of the eyelids, which may first appear as a change in a mole.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Swollen Eyelid

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced swollen eyelid. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Stye and Chalazion

    A stye (or hordeolum) is an infection in the upper or lower eyelid. There are three glands around the eye and one of them is infected.

    If left untreated, the stye generally heals in 1-2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    swelling of one eyelid, redness around the eye, feeling of something in the eye, eyelid lump, eyelid pain
    Symptoms that always occur with stye and chalazion:
    swelling of one eyelid
    Symptoms that never occur with stye and chalazion:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Inflamed Eyelid (Blepharitis)

    Blepharitis is an eyelid issue where the skin, lashes, or glands become inflamed from an irritant or infection.

    Treatment and preventative measures may successfully control blepharitis.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    eye itch, sensitivity to light, eye redness, feeling of something in the eye, dry eyes
    Symptoms that never occur with inflamed eyelid (blepharitis):
    severe eye pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Periorbital Cellulitis

    Periorbital cellulitis is an infection of the eyelid or skin around the eye, which does not extend into the interior of the orbit (bony framework that surrounds the eyeball). Periorbital cellulitis commonly affects children under 18 months old.

    Symptoms should resolve after 7-10 days of antibiotics.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, eye pain, redness around the eye, swollen eyelid, swelling of one eyelid
    Symptoms that always occur with periorbital cellulitis:
    redness around the eye
    Symptoms that never occur with periorbital cellulitis:
    bulging of the eyes
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  4. 4.Orbital Cellulitis

    Orbital cellulitis is a serious infection of the bony cavity (the orbit) which holds the eyeball. This condition affects the eye, eyelids, eyebrows, and cheeks, and causes the eyeball to have a swollen appearance. It can cause blindness if the infection is not treated.

    Antibiotic treatment for 3 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, blurry vision, swelling of one eye, swelling of one eyelid, eye skin changes
    Symptoms that always occur with orbital cellulitis:
    eye skin changes, blurry vision
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

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  5. 5.Acute Allergic Conjunctivitis

    Itchy, red, swelling of the whites of the eyes can be caused by allergies to any number of things (like pollen, hay, etc).

    This typically occurs every season

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    eye itch, eye redness, watery eye discharge, itch in both eyes, eye redness
    Symptoms that always occur with acute allergic conjunctivitis:
    eye itch, eye redness
    Symptoms that never occur with acute allergic conjunctivitis:
    lump in front of the ear, vision changes
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  6. 6.Irritant Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore, or inflamed after direct contact with a substance. This condition most often affects skin of the hands, and may occur after repeated and prolonged exposure to substances such as water, detergents (soaps, bleach), solvents (such as gasoline), acids, powders, dust, and soil. The onset of the skin reaction is usually within 48 hours of coming in contact with the substance.

    1-2 days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash with well-defined border, itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, painful rash, red rash
    Symptoms that always occur with irritant contact dermatitis:
    rash with well-defined border
    Symptoms that never occur with irritant contact dermatitis:
    fever, black-colored skin changes, brown-colored skin changes, blue-colored skin changes
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

    Eczema is a form of skin inflammation that causes skin to be dry, itchy, red, and irritated.

    This is a long-term, recurring condition but symptoms are manageable with care.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    trouble sleeping, feeling itchy or tingling all over, dry skin, scalp itchiness, flexor surface rash
    Symptoms that never occur with eczema (atopic dermatitis):
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  8. 8.Angioedema

    Angioedema is a condition which can cause swelling and puffiness of the face, mouth, tongue, hand or genitals. It is often related to an allergic reaction to food, medicines or insect bites.

    With treatment, this usually resolves in a few days.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), diarrhea, swollen face, hand swelling
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Swollen Eyelid Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if:

  • You have a swollen eyelid along symptoms of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) such as difficulty breathing with swelling of the face, tongue, and hands.
  • You have redness and swelling of the eyelid along with body pain, high fever, and rash.
  • You have swelling of the eyelid, but especially notice pain and/or vision changes when you try to move the eyeball to look around.
  • You discover a foreign body somewhere in or underneath the eyelid.

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Swelling that does not go away on its own within about 24 hours.
  • Swelling that is accompanied by blurred vision, partial loss of vision, or the feeling that something is inside the eye.
  • Swelling along with red, itchy, watery eyes that have a sticky discharge.
  • Swelling with dry, inflamed eyes that tends to be worse after you wake up from sleep.

Swollen eyelid remedies that you can try at home:

  • Removing contact lenses.
  • Cold compresses for allergic reactions and general irritation.
  • Warm compresses for bumps along the rim of the eyelid, which are bacterial infections of the eyelash follicles.
  • Over-the-counter eyedrops for allergies.

FAQs About Swollen Eyelid

Here are some frequently asked questions about swollen eyelid.

Can allergies cause swollen eyelids?

Yes, allergies can cause swelling of the eyelids. This is often caused by the contact of allergens like dust, pollen, or pet dander within the eye, eyelid, or eyelashes. The swelling can be accompanied by itching, but is not usually painful. It often occurs in conjunction with a red eye (conjunctivitis) which may also be triggered by the same allergen. An over-the-counter allergy medication might help.

Why is my eyelid swollen in the morning?

Eyelid swelling is most commonly associated with normal, age-related changes to the blood flow in the eye as well as diet, salt consumption, amount of sleep, and circadian rhythm. If you eat a large amount of salt, your body can and will retain fluid. Sometimes this retention takes place in the hands, making it more difficult to squeeze one's hand, and other times it occurs in the eyelids, causing swelling.

Why is my eyelid swollen and drooping?

Your eyelid may be swollen because of an infection or blockage of an oil-secreting gland. This condition is called a chalazion. It usually looks like a red pimple-like area along the top or bottom of the eyelid. You may also have a more dangerous diagnosis, called orbital cellulitis, which can occur when an infection of the eye migrates into the eye socket. Pain, eyelid discoloration, and swelling along with fever, the eye bulging out or protruding, and difficulty moving the eye are common with this type of infection.

Are swollen eyelids contagious?

This depends on the cause. The most common causes of swollen eyelids are allergies and swelling related to allergies. If this is the cause of your eyelid swelling, it is not contagious. However, you may also have eyelid swelling caused by an infection, which can be contagious. Infections such as pink eye are very contagious, but do not commonly cause eyelid swelling.

Can the weather cause swollen eyelids?

Yes, weather or a change of seasons can trigger local allergic reactions (reactions in one part of the body), or systemic reactions throughout the body. If during pollen season you walk through an area with a heavy pollen burden, it may trigger eye swelling, eye congestion, or eye redness as well as a number of other allergic symptoms. At the same time, exposure to allergens that cause an allergic reaction throughout the body, like dust and pet dander, may also cause puffy eyes in the morning.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Eyelid

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Is it one eyelid that is swollen or both eyelids?
  • Q.Do you feel like there is something in your eye?
  • Q.Are you experiencing chills?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our swollen eyelid symptom checker to find out more.

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Swollen Eyelid Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen eyelid have also experienced:

    • 12% Eye Pain
    • 6% Headache
    • 5% Eye Itch
  • People who have experienced swollen eyelid had symptoms persist for:

    • 43% Less Than a Day
    • 38% Less Than a Week
    • 8% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen eyelid were most often matched with:

    • 75% Periorbital Cellulitis
    • 12% Stye and Chalazion
    • 12% Inflamed Eyelid (Blepharitis)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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