Swollen Eyelids Causes, Red Itchy, Symptoms Treatments and Remedies

What is the best thing to do if your eyelids become swollen? Eyelid swelling problem can bring about fear or consequently limit one’s visual acuity or ability to clearly focus on objects. Swelling of the eyelid may affect or occur on upper or lower or both eyelids.

Swollen eyelid causes

red swollen upper eyelid

red swollen upper eyelid

What causes swollen eyelids? Read for more on swelling eyelid symptoms and remedy.

Eyelid inflammation

One of the possible causes of swollen eyelids is inflammation on the eyelid skin or in the eyelids. This can cause general discomforts in eyes and swelling among other symptoms. Here is what leads to eyelid inflammation that are also associated with swelling of the eyelid

Eyelid dermatitis

Eyelid dermatitis is very common since the area is surrounded by a thin skin thus hypersensitivity susceptible. Many of the cases dermatitis originate from products like eye creams, makeup or lotions. Fragrance is also another cause of eyelid dermatitis.

Symptoms of an eyelid dermatitis could vary depending on the type you are suffering from. Common signs/symptoms include itching, redness, swelling, pain, scaly skin or thickening.

Treating eyelid dermatitis can pose a challenge if you have not sampled out your more likely triggers. Therefore before you begin any form of treatment be keen on how you started to get the symptoms or alterations you made to your facial self-care regimen.

See your physician if you there is not noticeable change in symptoms.

Ocular herpes

Ocular herpes or eye herpes is a herpes simplex viral infection. The virus can enter the body after making contact with another person with the active virus.

Ocular herpes primarily targets the delicate parts of the eyes including the epithelial lining of the cornea. When affected inner parts are inflamed such as the eyelids (iridocyclitis) your eye becomes sensitive to eyes. Other signs of ocular herpes include sores on eyelid or under eyelids, tearing or eye watering and general swelling appearance around eyes.

It is known to be problematic since it is often a recurrent problem and can cause blindness. Diagnosis is key to successful treatment of ocular herpes.


Going on with causes of eye inflammation, blepharitis is a culprit. It may be caused by a bacterial infection or condition. It typical of eye pain or inflammation. Other symptoms of blepharitis include gritty sensation (something “scratchy”) while making eyelid movements, blurry vision, and eye discharge.

Contaminated contact lens

If pollen grains and dust land on your contact lens accidentally, allergic reactions can be produced which can lead to eyelid swelling.

Orbital cellulitis

This is one of the dangerous and pain causing condition that affects the eyebrows and eyelids. Children get this condition if they have a sinus infection. It is also caused by staph infection, for instance, Staphylococcus aureus.

Symptoms become acute with infection. These include:

  • Swelling of either eyelids
  • Painful eyelid movements
  • General poor vision
  • Bulging eyes

In addition to the above fever and feeling ill are complained of. In case of serious infections abscesses may develop in eyelid skin.

Treatment options

Treatment will depend on general symptoms. Antibiotics are used in acute cases but if the infected individuals show serious infection symptoms or are children, a clinical examination and tests are sometimes necessary.

Eye surgery is another treatment for orbital cellulitis.

After treatment, patients are encouraged to make regular follow-up and check with doctor concerned if the infection is under control. Remember that sinusitis could lead to this infection so patients should present their medical treatment records if asked to (or in that respect).

Graves’ disease

If you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) you are likely to suffer or get this eye disease. “Graves’s disease is an autoimmune disease caused by antibodies directed against receptors present in the thyroid cells and on surface of the cells behind the eyes.” [www.thyroid.org]

As a risk factor, there are several symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Therefore there treatment or therapy for this condition is indispensable.

Eye allergies

Do you experience a sudden swelling in lower eyelid or upper eyelid or both? Allergies is a common culprit for

An eye allergy is basically an immune response to an otherwise harmless substance with a potentially adverse effect to the eyes. You have an eye allergy when your immune system produces antibodies that results to a cellular reaction. The common eye allergy is allergic conjunctivitis and suspects include

  • Pollen grains
  • Eye makeup
  • Fragrance in perfumes
  • Dust particles

NOTE: People with seasonal allergies like hay fever suffer more when exposed to these substances.

Common symptoms to look out for include

  • Red and irritated eyes that cause pain
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Soreness or burning in eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Itching that may cause eye discomfort

If allergic reaction is adverse you can expect anything worse from watery eyes, runny nose (in babies), clogged nose passages, difficulty in breathing to scaling around eyes. Symptoms of eye allergies can really lower quality of life.

How to treat eye allergy

Most methods used in treating eye allergies provide relief or cure the symptoms. These include antihistamines and eye drops. You can use over the counter medicines such as decongestants or corticosteroid creams, if your allergy symptoms do not last for long. Again, if you have very serious symptoms or bad triggers see your eye physician for medication on prescription.

The best way to treat eyelid swelling due to allergies is to avoid using or just stay away from substances or areas with potential allergy triggers. Physicians can opt for eye drops for swollen eyelids.

Blocked Meibomian gland

Meibomian glands are tiny oil-secreting glands which line either edges of eyelids which touch when you close your eyes. These glands may become blocked or develop a dysfunction. For instance, a chalazion. When a chalazion forms in the eyelid it simply refers to the enlargement of Meibomian glands.

Other causes

The following are other causes of upper or swollen lower eyelids make your eye look swollen.

  • A build-up of fluid in eyelid tissue
  • Stye or hordeolum
  • Trauma to eye due to repeated injuries, eye operations, etc.
  • Blepharochalasis (eye condition occurring affecting children)
  • Some people get swollen eyelids after crying
  • A genetic predisposition

Red or itchy swollen eyelids

Scratching is the last thing you wish to do when any part of your body gets itchy. There are a number of thing causing or resulting to swollen itchy eyelids some of which we have highlighted under signs and symptoms. These include eye allergy or eyelid dermatitis.

What causes red swollen eyelids? Besides your eyes becoming irritated, the skin around eyes can turn red if you insist on rubbing and scratching. If not treated, itchy eyes or inflammation in the eye with rubbing can lead to swollen red eyelids.

Other treatments for swollen eyelid

Following all instructions and directions as given by your eye doctor is the best way to treat swelling of eyelids.

Eye drops for swollen eyelids

Common eye drops fall into various categories such as corticosteroid eye drops, allergy eye drops, etc. The best eye drops for the eye allergy are the ones your doctor prescribes. For example, if your allergies produce long-term effects see your doctor for the best medicines.

Generally, to avoid after-use side effects or developing eye-related conditions, make sure you check with your eye specialist. Patients are discouraged to use eye drops co-currently with lens more so if you have started using or want to replace your current contact lens.

Swollen eyelid medicine

After examination and tests, your doctor will give prescription medicines (oral tablets, pills, liquids, etc.) to help fight infections that cause or associated with eyelid swelling. These include

  • antibacterial medicines
  • antiviral medicines

Sometimes a vaccine may be administered to prevent infections from recurring.


These form of treatment may be given to allergy patients after a careful consultation and examination. Antihistamine injections will counter adverse allergic reactions by inhibiting production of body chemicals.

Swollen eyelid remedy

Besides medications for treating eyelid swelling, a few home remedies may be of help. As you strive to figure out what has caused swelling of eyelids, these remedies can help you ease pain or reduce the swelling. You may not treat the underlying cause of swollen eyelids with most (if not all of the remedies).

  • Applying ice packs wrapped in face cloth for at least 10 minutes
  • Follow rules of medication and take all medicines as instructed
  • Avoid touching eyes repeatedly
  • Avoid rubbing eyes after crying to avoid redness or too much swelling
  • Apply a fragrant-free, deep moisturizer for dry scaly or red eyelids (eyelid eczema)

Measures for swelling eyelids or how to avoid it

Do you occasionally suffer from eyelid swelling? The highlighted tips below can help you prevent infection, sustain pain or otherwise avert serious eye complications.

  1. NEVER use your hands or other objects to remove speckles and solid particles from eyes. Report it immediately or call an eye doctor nearest to you if your eye gets injured.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes if you have been diagnosed of a bacterial or viral eye infection.
  3. Do not share face towels, sunglasses or eye glasses with an infected person
  4. Always seek medical help when you do not understand causes or reasons why your eyelid get swollen
  5. Avoid going to places with eye allergy triggers identified (if any)
  6. Resist applying eye-drops without consulting an eye physician especially if you are prone to nasal allergies

When you need a medical attention

See your optometrist or eye surgeon if;

  • You have swelling on the eyelids and cannot focus objects at the same time
  • Have a blurry vision or eye floaters i.e. slowly-moving spots in viewing space
  • The swollen eyes get watery often
  • Your eye starts swelling or gets larger in size after an injury whether minor or serious.
  • You get sudden swollen eyelids and lips
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Reference and Quoted Sources
  1. Saving face: Dermatologists helping patients identify source of facial allergic contact dermatitis
  2. Causes, Treatment, and Home Remedies for Swollen eyelids: eyehealthweb.com/swolen-eyelid
  3. Orbital Cellulitis: https://medlineplus.org/ency/article/001012.htm
  4. Grave’s Eye Disease: thyroid.org/graves-eye-disease/

One Response

  1. EyeSoothe Oct 14, 2017

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