The upper or lower eyelid can become swollen, and sometimes even both. This can affect an eye or both eyes. There are many causes of swollen eyelids, and the treatment depends on the origin of the problem. For example, one of the most frequent causes is seasonal allergies, for which the infection is benign, albeit uncomfortable. In any case, the right thing to do is to ensure you get the cause accurately determined. Depending on the extent and reasons for your swollen eyelids, your eyes may require medical attention.

Why do eyelids become swollen?

The upper or lower eyelids can swell due to a buildup of fluids or inflammation of the eye’s connective tissues. The swelling may or may not be painful and can sometimes be itchy.

One or both eyes can become swollen, depending on the origin of the problem. A swollen and painful eyelid can be a symptom of underlying health conditions. Doctors, optometrists and ophthalmologists can quickly diagnose the causes of swollen eyelids. Make an appointment for a check-up if you’re in pain or unable to manage symptoms at home.

What are the causes of swollen eyelids?

There are many causes, but rest assured that most cases of swollen eyelids have no consequences on your ocular health. Do you wake up with swollen eyelids? It can be due to water retention or fatigue. It’s not uncommon to get swollen eyelids simply from being in a state of fatigue. And in this case, the best remedy is rest.

To help you see more clearly, we suggest you learn about these causes. Which ones are more frequent, and which ones are less frequent?

Common causes of eyelid swelling

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Contact allergies from foreign bodies like make-up, perfume, animal hair, etc.
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Water retention
  • Chalazion (obstruction of a sebaceous gland)
  • A stye (bacterial infection of a hair follicle)
  • The presence of a foreign body
  • Skin diseases, such as rosacea, eczema, etc.

Less common causes of eyelid swelling

  • Shock or injury
  • Surgery
  • Generalized swelling of the body as with nephrotic syndrome
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the edge of the eyelids)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland)
  • Pre-septal or periorbital cellulitis
  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Cavernous sinus thrombosis

What’s the treatment for swollen eyelids?

As you will have understood, since there are different causes of swollen eyelids, there’s no specific treatment. Each treatment will depend on the origin of the problem.

However, there are simple things you can do at home to try to relieve the swelling:

  • Remove your contact lenses, if you wear them
  • Clean your eyes with saline solution to remove any foreign bodies
  • Apply cold and preferably sterile compresses to the swelling
  • Rest your eyes while lying down
  • Use over-the-counter antihistamines for seasonal allergies

Don’t hesitate to consult or contact us if your eyelid swelling doesn’t diminish after a few hours. In addition, if the swelling affects only one eyelid, or if you have a fever or experience impaired vision, consult a health professional immediately.