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10 Causes of Swollen Eyelid & Its Treatment

When Do We Get Swollen Eyelid?

Often we come across people who tend to have Swollen Eyelids. Swelling of the eyelid usually occurs when there is inflammation or accumulation of excess fluid in the connective tissues around the eyes. Swollen Eyelids may or may not cause pain and both the upper and lower eyelids can get affected.

Eye infections are the primary cause for Swollen Eyelids, although injury to the eyes or trauma as a result of a blow to the eye and allergies may also result in Swollen Eyelids. In some cases, Swollen Eyelids may be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition.

Orbital cellulitis is one such condition which may result in Swollen Eyelids which is quite a serious eye condition. Ocular herpes is yet another serious medical condition that may cause Swollen Eyelids. A consultation with an ophthalmologist becomes necessary if the symptoms do not improve or tend to get worse with time to identify a cause and start treatment for Swollen Eyelids.

10 Causes of Swollen Eyelid

10 Causes of Swollen Eyelid

As stated, there are numerous causes for Swollen Eyelids ranging from infections to allergies and to potentially serious medical conditions. Some of the common causes for Swollen Eyelids are:

  1. Allergy

    This is perhaps one of the most common causes of Swollen Eyelids. Allergies of the eye tend to occur when a foreign substance such as a dirt or debris enters the eye and the immune system of the body tries to counteract the foreign substance resulting in Swollen Eyelids. Some of the common allergens which can enter the eyes and cause Swollen Eyelids are pet dander pollen, dust, and even at times contact lenses. An individual, especially females, may also get Swollen Eyelids as a result of applying makeup to the eyes.

  2. Eye Infections

    This is yet another common cause for Swollen Eyelids. There are a host of eye infections that may cause this problem of which the most common is the “Pink Eye” or conjunctivitis. In conjunctivitis, there is inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye. Along with Swollen Eyelids it also causes itchy and watery eyes and causes the eyes to become extremely red.

  3. Stye

    Swollen Eyelids can also be caused due to Stye. This condition usually presents itself as a reddish bump on the edge of the eyelid. Stye are usually caused by bacterial infections and inflammation of the oil producing meibomian gland. Due to blockage of these glands, there is swelling of the eyelids. Swollen Eyelids caused due to stye will be very tender to touch.

  4. Chalazion

    This is something similar to a stye but is not exactly stye. In fact, Chalazion begins as a stye but gradually with time goes to develop into a cyst and causes blockage of the meibomian gland. Another difference between stye and chalazion is that bump due to stye develops on the eyelid whereas bump caused due to chalazion is quite a distance away from the eyelid but both conditions cause Swollen Eyelids.

  5. Injuries

    Any sort of injury or trauma to the eye may result in Swollen Eyelids. Black eye caused by a direct blow to the eye is the most common injury due to which there is development of Swollen Eyelids. Eye injuries may also be caused by injuries during a surgical procedure of the eye such as a blepharoplasty or other cosmetic surgeries done to improve the appearance of the eyes resulting in Swollen Eyelids.

  6. Contact Lenses

    At times, ill fitting or improper wear of the contact lenses can also result in Swollen Eyelids. Not taking care of the lenses is the most common reason for Swollen Eyelids like not cleaning the lens daily or storing them in a dirty case can all result in Swollen Eyelids.

  7. Blepharitis

    This is a medical condition in which there is inflammation of the eyelids which causes Swollen Eyelids. This is caused by malfunctioning oil glands in the eyelids. Blepharitis is a condition which can be controlled by treatment but cannot be completely cured.

  8. Periorbital Cellulitis

    This is quite a common infection which results in Swollen Eyelids. It may be caused due to bacteria, virus, or other pathogens resulting in Swelling of eyelids. There is yet another condition called orbital cellulitis which also causes Swollen Eyelids. This condition is rare but is potentially serious and is caused buy bacterial infection of the tissues surrounding the eyes resulting in Swelling of the Eyelids. Orbital cellulitis is an emergent medical condition and the individual needs to get immediate medical attention to treat this condition to prevent any damage to the optic nerve which may cause temporary or permanent loss of vision.

  9. Ocular Herpes

    This is a condition which is caused by the HSV virus and causes inflammation of the cornea and Swollen Eyelids. In this condition along with Swollen Eyelids the eyes may become red and the vision tends to become blurry.

  10. Graves Disease

    This is a medical condition that arises from an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Graves Disease causes Swollen Eyelids along with bulging eyes and ptosis. If an individual has these symptoms he or she needs to consult with an ophthalmologist immediately for treatment as a delay in treatment may lead to complications some of which may be potentially serious and may impact the vision.

Treatment for Swollen Eyelid

The treatment for Swollen Eyelids depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Once a cause is identified then a treatment is formulated which may consist of medications and over the counter eyedrops.

In cases of allergies being the cause of Swollen Eyelids, then antihistamine eyedrops are recommended for treatment. Artificial Tears may be also recommended for relief of symptoms. In cases of severe allergic reactions then steroids may be utilized to treat swelling of the eyelids.

For Swollen Eyelids caused due to infections like pink eye or ocular herpes then they can be treated with antiinflammatory eyedrops or even antiviral medications for relief of symptoms and treating Swollen Eyelids. Antibiotics may also be used for bacterial infections.

Try and avoid wearing contact lenses till the time there is complete resolution of Swollen Eyelids. Another treatment that is found to be useful for treatment of Swollen Eyelids is application of cool compresses to the affected eye for relief of symptoms.

Despite these treatments, if the swelling of the eyelid continues to get worse, then a more thorough investigation is required to rule out more serious causes of Swollen Eyelids.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Swollen Eyelids. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/swollen-eyelids/basics/definition/sym-20050838
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). What Causes Swollen Eyelids or Puffy Eyes? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/swollen-eyelids

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 22, 2023

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