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Learn about your 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.

Swollen Eyelid Checker

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Your Swollen Eyelid May Also be Known as:
Eyelid feels puffy
Eyelid feels swollen
Eyelid is puffy
Eyelid is swollen
Eyelid puffiness
Eyelid swelling
Puffy eyelid

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.


  • 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.

Top 6 Swollen Eyelid Causes

  1. 1.Chronic Allergic Conjunctivitis

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

    You can safely treat this condition on your own by using artificial tears, cold compress, and/or an antihistamine (only if over 3 years of age). Importantly, rubbing the eyes makes things worse!

    Top Symptoms:
    watery eye discharge, eye redness, itch in both eyes, severe eye itch, swollen eyelid
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic allergic conjunctivitis:
    itch in both eyes, eye redness, severe eye itch
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic allergic conjunctivitis:
    vision changes, lump in front of the ear
  2. 2.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).

    Seek basic advice at a retail clinic, via telemedicine or at your primary care physician. This condition is usually treated by using artificial tears, cold compress, and/or an antihistamine (only if over 3 years of age). Additional tests might be ordered to look for the specific allergen. Try to avoid rubbing the eyes, this will only make the symptoms worse!

    Top Symptoms:
    eye itch, eye redness, watery eye discharge, eye redness, itch in both eyes
    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
    Phone call or in-person visit
  3. 3.Viral Conjunctivitis

    Pink eye conjunctivitis is an infection of the whites of the eyes by a virus. It is extremely infectious and can spread from person-to-person easily.

    You do not need treatment. Viral conjunctivitis does not require any antibiotics. What you can do is have a clean cloth soaked in warm water held up to the eyes to soothe the itching. Some people get relief from over the counter medicines. If your symptoms do not start getting better within a week, seek advice from your primary care physician.

    Top Symptoms:
    eye redness, eye itch, sensitivity to light, watery eye discharge, feeling of something in the eye
    Symptoms that always occur with viral conjunctivitis:
    eye redness

    Swollen Eyelid Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen eyelid.

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  4. 4.Nephrotic Syndrome

    Nephrotic syndrome is caused by different disorders that damage the kidneys. This damage leads to the release of too much protein in the urine, causing the body to swell.

    In general, the evaluation of nephrotic syndrome should be done in the next 24-48 hours, but it is not a medical emergency and can generally be done by your primary care doctor. Diagnosis is done by blood tests, and treatment involves medications that reduce your fluid retention and stabilize your blood pressure.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, weight gain, bilateral leg swelling
    Symptoms that never occur with nephrotic syndrome:
    cut on the foot, recent cut or wound, swollen ankle, swelling of one leg
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.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.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an urgent care clinic or ER. Antibiotics will be prescribed if bacterial infection is suspected, and immediate evaluation is recommended to make sure that the infection does not spread into the eye.

    Top Symptoms:
    redness around the eye, eye pain, swollen eyelid, swelling of one eyelid, bulging of the eyes
    Symptoms that always occur with periorbital cellulitis:
    redness around the eye
    Symptoms that never occur with periorbital cellulitis:
    bulging of the eyes
    Hospital emergency room
  6. 6.Relapsing Polychondritis

    Relapsing polychondritis is an episodic, inflammatory and destructive disorder involving primarily cartilage of the ear and nose. It can also potentially affect the eyes, tracheobronchial tree, heart valves, kidneys, joints, skin, and blood vessels.

    You should visit your primary care physician for mild severity of relapsing polychondritis. Medications such as NSAIDs and steroids are generally prescribed.

    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, joint pain, congestion, wheezing, runny nose
    Primary care doctor

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.Is your eye swelling getting better or worse?
  • Q.Is your eye swelling come-and-go?
  • Q.How swollen is your eye?
  • Q.How long has your eye been swollen?

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

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Swollen Eyelid Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen eyelid have also experienced:

    • 9% Swelling of the Eye Area
    • 5% Headache
    • 5% Eye Pain
  • People who have experienced swollen eyelid had symptoms persist for:

    • 42% Less Than a Week
    • 33% Less Than a Day
    • 11% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen eyelid were most often matched with:

    • 3% Viral Conjunctivitis
    • 1% Acute Allergic Conjunctivitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Swollen Eyelid Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen eyelid.

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