Swollen Eye Causes, Treatments & More

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By shirley
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. Lowth, Dr Mary. 'Swollen Eyelid: Causes, Treatment and Pictures.' Patient.info, 7 Mar. 2018, patient.info/eye-care/swollen-eyelid.
  • 2. Christopher J. Brady, et al. 'Eyelid Swelling - Eye Disorders.' Merck Manuals Consumer Version, Merck Manuals, www.merckmanuals.com/home/eye-disorders/symptoms-of-eye-disorders/eyelid-swelling.
  • 3. Russa. 'Puffy Eyes: What Causes Them and What To Do About It.' Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 13 Oct. 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/puffy-eyes-what-causes-them-and-what-to-do-about-it/.
  • 4. 'Eye Swelling.' Seattle Childrens Hospital, www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/eye-swelling/.
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  • 6. Turbert, David. 'Eye Allergy Diagnosis and Treatment.' American Academy of Ophthalmology, 10 Sept. 2019, www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/allergies-diagnosis.
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  • 11. Lowth, Dr Mary. 'Blepharitis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.' Patient.info, 2 May 2018, patient.info/eye-care/swollen-eyelid/blepharitis.
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Medical Expert Medical Expert

Composed of loose, stretchy skin less than 1 millimeter thick, eyelids protect the eyes from dust, dirt, irritants and injury. The Meibomian glands are located in the eyelids, producing an oily substance that lubricates the eyes and eyelids.1Lowth, Dr Mary. ‘Swollen Eyelid: Causes, Treatment and Pictures.’ Patient.info, 7 Mar. 2018, patient.info/eye-care/swollen-eyelid. If fluid accumulates in eyelid tissues, swelling may develop in the eyelids, sometimes accompanied by pain or itching.2Christopher J. Brady, et al. ‘Eyelid Swelling - Eye Disorders.’ Merck Manuals Consumer Version, Merck Manuals, www.merckmanuals.com/home/eye-disorders/symptoms-of-eye-disorders/eyelid-swelling.

In some cases, swelling dissipates on its own in a day or two. To alleviate discomfort and reduce swelling, a person with a swollen eye should remove contact lenses, rinse the eye with cool water and apply a cool compress to the eye.3Russa. ‘Puffy Eyes: What Causes Them and What To Do About It.’ Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 13 Oct. 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/puffy-eyes-what-causes-them-and-what-to-do-about-it/.

1. When to See a Doctor

If swollen eyes don't return to normal within 48 hours, it's best to seek medical care. People should also see a health care provider if they experience moderate or severe swelling in one eye and if the eyelid is red or painful. Swollen eyelids accompanied by fever, swollen feet or ankles or sinus pain also require medical evaluation.

Immediate emergency medical attention is necessary if a person experiences severe swelling of both eyelids or if a fever accompanies severe swelling and redness of a single eyelid. People should also obtain immediate medical care if they experience vision loss or double vision.4‘Eye Swelling.’ Seattle Childrens Hospital, www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/eye-swelling/.

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