A swollen eyelid makes an appearance when an inflammation has taken place or there is excess fluid or edema in the connective tissues which are surrounded by the eye. Swollen eyelid can be both painful and not painful, but it affects the upper and lower eyelids too. It can be caused by eye infections, eye injuries, trauma or allergies. Read on for more.

Symptoms

  • Eye irritation, like it becomes itchy or scratchy
  • Sensitivity to light or photophobia
  • Excess tear production, resulting in watering eyes
  • Obstructed vision (depending on the degree of the swelling)
  • Redness of the eyelid
  • Red eyes and inflammation of the conjunctiva
  • Eye discharge, or “mattering”
  • Eyelid dryness or flaking
  • Pain, particularly when swollen eyelids are caused by infection

Causes

  • Allergies

Eye allergies happen when your immune system is subjected to a foreign substance which is called an allergen. The examples of most common eye allergens are pollen, dust, pet dander, certain eye drops and contact lens.

  • Conjunctivitis

It is also called “pink eye.” It is inflammation of the clear lining of your eye which is called the conjunctiva. Allergic, bacterial and viral types of pink eye can all result in swollen eyelids, among other symptoms like watery, red and itchy eyes.

  • Styes

It usually looks like a swollen, reddish bump on the edge of an eyelid. These are caused by bacterial infection and inflammation of a meibomian gland. When these oil-producing glands get blocked, the eyelid swells.

Treatment

Your optometrist or ophthalmologist may prescribe medicines which help in reducing the swelling. If it is caused by allergies, antihistamine eye drops or oral allergy medication, as well as lubricating “artificial tears” will help relieve symptoms. The doctor also may prescribe mild steroid drops for more severe allergic reactions.

If it is caused by conjunctivitis or ocular herpes, go for anti-viral or anti-inflammatory eye drops or ointments, or antibiotics.

If it is minor, swollen eyelids can be eased with home remedies. Firstly avoid rubbing your eyes or else it will make the conditions worse. If you have photophobia associated with chronic eyelid inflammation, photochromic lenses can help reduce light sensitivity.

If you wear contact lenses, remove them until the eyelid swelling resolves. Go for a cool compress to reduce eyelid swelling, splash some cold water to your closed lids. If symptoms worsen, or it causes any pain in your eye, see your eye doctor immediately.