Swollen Eyelid, Symptoms, Causes, upper, lower Red, Itchy Puffy Eyes Treatment

What does it mean to have a swollen eyelid? Eye swelling can be painful affecting both the upper and lower eyelids. There are numerous causes of a swollen eyelid including eye infection, injuries and most common eye allergies. Find out more as we provide you an in- depth information.

Swollen or puffy eyelids can impair vision affecting your general outlook.  It is embarrassing and uncomfortable to have either the upper or the lower eyelid puffy. Eyelid inflammation can be serous if you don’t treat it properly and quick. In most cases the puffiness, tenderness, itchy feeling, redness of your eyelids are a signal of infection. This can be accompanies by a discharge in your eye.

A picure of Swollen Eyelid

A picure of Swollen Eyelid

Swollen eyelid meaning

What does it mean to have a puffy eyelid? If you have your eyelids swollen, it could mean a number of reasons. Inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), infections (bacterial or viral), shingles, allergies, trauma, and stye among other causes can be the reason for the swelling. The swelling can be as a result of excess edema in the tissues that surrounds the eye.

Eyelid swelling can be accompanied by a discharge. This is worrying, it may lead to vision impairment. Depending on the cause, the swelling can be itchy causing eye redness. In some instances, the swelling can be painful or no pain at all. You need to visit your ophthalmologist for checkup just in case the swelling doesn’t go way or gets worse.

Swollen eyelid symptoms

What are the likely symptoms of puffy eyelids? Swelling of the eyelids is a symptom for an underlying cause such as eyelid edema, allergy or an infection. When you have inflamed eyelids, you are likely to have symptoms such as:

  • eye redness
  • watery eyes as a result of excess tear production
  • eye irritation, itchy
  • sensitivity to light
  • oily eyelids
  • burning sensation in the eyes
  • obstructed vision depending on the severity of the swelling
  • dryness or flaking of the eyelid
  • painful eyelids, owing to infection
  • a crust on your eyelashes or in the corner of your eyes
  • feeling like there’s something stuck in your eye
  • blurry or decreased vision

    Swollen Eyelids Symptoms

    Swollen Eyelids Symptoms

Any of these symptoms has an underlying cause. It could be mild or potentially sight threatening cause. Avoid touching or rubbing your puffy eyelids at all times. You risk introducing a foreign object or bacteria by doing so. You should instead visit your healthcare provider to determine the cause.

What causes swollen eyelids?

Eyelid swelling can be due to a number of reasons. Most of which may not be critical or serious to your overall health. However, some cases of puffy eyelids may also indicate a more critical or sight threatening condition.

1. Swollen eyelid allergies

Allergies on the eye occurs when your immune systems reacts to a foreign substances or allergens. They include pollen, dust, pest dander, eye makeups, certain eye drops and contact lens solutions. These allergens tend to overreact with your body immune causing either a mild or a severe reaction. Allergies can cause the eyes to become swollen, itchy, red and watery.

According to Dr. Ogbogu, MD, assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in the division of pulmonary, allergy, critical care, and sleep  medicine, when allergies hit your eyes, they sort of dissolve in your tears. They come in contact with the lignin of the eye and they react with antibodies to release histamine. As a result, you develop nasal congestion and swollen eyes.

2. Conjunctivitis

Also known as “pink” eye, conjunctivitis could be the reason you’re having swollen eyelids. This is an inflammation of the clear lining of the surface of the eye. Pink eye may affect one or both eyes. Bacterial or viral infection or an allergic reaction are the common cause of a pink eye. The inflammation can be irritating although in rare cases is your vision affected. Treating pink can help ease the discomfort of this inflammation causing eyes swelling.

Pink eye can be contagious, seeking early diagnosis and cure can help reduce its spread. The signs and symptoms of pink eye include:

  • Eye redness
  • Itchiness
  • A discharge that tend to form a crust during the night and can prevent your eyes from opening in the morning.
  • Tearing
  • A gritty feeling

3. Stye

Swollen eyelid on the eyelids could simply be styes. Appearing as a red bump on different location on the eyelid, stye is rarely a serious health condition. It can be irritating, pain and cause you discomfort. A bacterial infection with staphylococcus bacteria is the common cause of stye. You are prone to get a stye when the oil gland of the eyelid is blocked or plugged.

Eyelid swelling is a typical symptom of a stye. Other symptoms include:

  • Eyelid pain
  • Discomfort when bleeding
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Red bump

A stye will resolve on its own without necessarily treating. However, you can apply a warm compress on the affected eyelid to heal the bump even faster. Over- the-counter painkillers can help relief the stye symptoms.

Stye on Eyelid with Pus

Stye on Eyelid with Pus

4. Swollen eyelid due to trauma

Any physical injury to the eye can lead to eyelid swelling. This can include eyelid contusion commonly known as a black eye and other trauma caused by surgery due to cosmetics can trigger eyelid swelling. Other forms of trauma include:

  • Eyelid swelling due to burns on the face
  • Foreign object entering the eye
  • Swelling of the eye after surgery
  • Swollen eyelid after sunburn

5. Chalazion

A chalazion resemble a stye. It appear as a cyst on the eyelid caused by inflammation of a blocked Meibomian gland usually appearing on the upper eyelid. A chalazion differs from styes in that unlike styes, they are painless nodules. Chalazion sits on the inside of the eyelid rather than the on the margin. The signs and symptoms include:

  • Swelling on the eyelid
  • Tenderness of the eyelid
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Increased tearing
  • Eyelid feeling heavy

    Swollen Eyelid from Chalazion

    Swollen Eyelid from Chalazion

A stye is sometimes mistaken for chalazion cyst. Chalazion causing swelling on the eyelid can be treated by topical antibiotics eye drops or ointments such as chloramphenicol or fusidic acid. Treatment of chalazion varies among patients. In many cases, it will go away on its own. However, you can apply home care measures such as warm compress to help reduce the swelling by softening the oils in the blocked glands.

6. Blepharitis

Puffy, swollen eyelids can be a symptom of blepharitis. This is an inflammation of the eyelids caused by excessively growth of bacteria found on the skin. It can also be caused by blockage of the oil glands of the eyelids and allergies. This eye condition can cause your eyelids to be reddened, itchy and a scaly swelling appearing at the base of the eyelashes. Here are the symptoms to check for blepharitis:

  • a feeling like there is something in your eye
  • burning, itching of the eye
  • redness and swollen of the eyelids
  • dry eyes
  • blurry vision
  • eyelashes crusting

Although you cannot treat blepharitis, you can control it. Proper eyelid hygiene can reduce the severity of the inflammation of the eyelid. If left untreated, it can cause more complicated conditions such as scarring or injury to the eye’s tissue.

7. Eyelid eczema

Eyelid swelling can occur as result of eyelid contact dermatitis also known as eczema. This is an inflammatory reaction that occur on the eyelid skin caused by contact to substances. It may occur from allergic reaction or irritation.  Both the upper or lower on one or both eyes can be affected. Some of the symptoms include itching, stinging or burning and eyelids can turn to red and scaly.

The thin skin of the eyelids is usually sensitive to irritants and allergens therefore prone to develop eyelid eczema. The allergens that may cause eyelid contact dermatitis include:

  • eye creams
  • make-ups
  • cleansers
  • jewelry containing nickel and gold
  • sunscreens
  • artificial eyelashes
  • contact lens solution
  • eye tweezers

It is important to avoid contact with irritants known to be causing contact dermatitis on your eyelid.

8. Hives

Also known as urticarial, hives is an outbreak usually on the skin forming swollen, pale red bumps. These bumps are sudden occurring either as a result of allergic reaction or for some unknown reasons. Swelling on the eyelids due to hives can be itchy, burning or stinging. Hives tend to vary in size and grow increasing in size forming plaques on the affected skin including the eyelids.

  • Swollen eyelids from crying
  • swollen eyelid after swimming
  • swollen eyelid bug bite
  • swollen eyelid from cold
  • swollen eyelid leukemia

Itchy swollen lower eyelid

Itchy swollen lower eyelid can be caused by a number of causes discussed above. The lower eyelid can be itchy and flaky as a result of an inflamed eyelid edge caused by blepharitis or dry eye. Your eyelids may also stick together making it difficult to open especially when you wake up in the morning. Itchy eyelid can be irritating but rarely serious. Keeping your eyelids clean and using artificial tears can be helpful.

Another possible cause of itchy eyelids is through contact dermatitis. It is type of eczema that gets triggered when skin of the eyelid comes into contact with chemical irritants or allergens such as make-up.

Identify the underlying cause of itchy or flaky eyelids to get treatment. The condition usually clears up if you stop using the make-ups causing your skin reacting to.

Red, painful swollen upper eyelid

It is quite common for the upper eyelid to become swollen and red. This can be as a result of a Meibomian cyst also called chalazion. It occurs when the glands in the upper eyelid become blocked. The cyst tend to vary in size taking weeks to develop. Although the bumps on the eyelid are usually painful, they can become red and painful if infected.

Red Swollen Upper Eyelid

Red Swollen Upper Eyelid

Red upper eyelid can be a symptom of conjunctivitis. This occurs when an infection, allergy or irritant causes the eye to be inflamed. Conjunctivitis can get better on its own, although you may require to visit your doctor for prescription to cure the underlying cause.

Swollen eyelid treatment, how to cure, home remedies

Treatment of swollen eyelids depends entirely on the underlying cause. Here are the possible ways on how you can treat eyelid swelling.


If your eyelids are swollen due to bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics. Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotic medication either in pill, ointment, or in liquid drops. Usually doctors often prescribe drops when an infection tend to spread beyond the infected eyelid.

Steroid treatment

If the eyelid doesn’t have an infection, your doctor may prescribe steroids, eye drops or ointment to reduce inflammation. In case the eyelid is irritating, your doctor will prescribe lubricating eye drops to reduce irritation caused by dry eyes.

Antihistamines for treating eye allergy

Eyelid swelling as a result of allergic reaction can be treated with antihistamines. The first step to treat allergy causing eyelid swelling is stop using make-ups, cosmetics and any other beauty products such as mascara on your eyelids. Take an antihistamine designed to reduce the reaction and reduce the symptoms.

Home remedy to treat swollen eyelid video


 Further references