Read below about swollen whites of eyes, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen whites of eyes 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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6 Potential Swollen Whites of Eyes Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  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).

    Seasonal

    Rarity:
    Common
    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
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.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.

    Sometimes eye irritation and discharge may get worse for a few days before getting better, but usually symptoms resolve within a week.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    eye redness, eye itch, sensitivity to light, feeling of something in the eye, watery eye discharge
    Symptoms that always occur with viral conjunctivitis:
    eye redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.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

    Swollen Whites of Eyes Checker

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  4. 4.Irritated Eye Causing Swelling

    Chemosis is a sign of eye irritation. The outer surface of the eye can look like a blister, filled with water or fluid. It can occur from infection or allergies, or as in this case, from rubbing the eye.

    Within a day

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    swelling of the eye area, eye itch, eye redness, swollen whites of eyes
    Symptoms that always occur with irritated eye causing swelling:
    swelling of the eye area
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  5. 5.Cerebral Venous Thrombosis

    Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a blood clot in an area at the base of the brain that contains a vein, which carries blood from the brain to the heart. This area is called the cavernous sinus.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, being severely ill
    Symptoms that always occur with cerebral venous thrombosis:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  6. 6.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:
    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

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Whites of Eyes

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Is there any fluid or discharge coming from your eye(s)?
  • Q.Where in your eye area is this swelling?
  • Q.Are you experiencing chills?

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

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Swollen Whites of Eyes Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen whites of eyes have also experienced:

    • 10% Eye Itch
    • 9% Eye Redness in One Eye
    • 6% Swelling of the Eye Area
  • People who have experienced swollen whites of eyes had symptoms persist for:

    • 44% Less Than a Day
    • 39% Less Than a Week
    • 8% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen whites of eyes were most often matched with:

    • 44% Viral Conjunctivitis
    • 16% Acute Allergic Conjunctivitis
  • 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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