Palpebral Edema: Upper Eyelid, Lower Eyelid, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

It is a condition where one or both eyelids (upper and lower) experience enlargement due to inflammation of the ocular tissue.

When the body is fighting an infection or suffering an injury or allergy, the result can be eyelid edema.

The symptoms accompanying eyelid edema include eye irritation, obstruction of vision due to swelling and redness, and inflammation of the eyelid and the conjunctiva.

Excessive water production or tears in the eyes can also cause eyelid edema. The dryness of the eye and pain in the eyes can also be accompanying symptoms.

Upper eyelid

The upper eyelid maintains moisture on the surface of the eyes and evades the lesions of this sensitive organ.

Blinking is a reflex, and this can cause the secretions of the lacrimal gland or external particles to enter the eye.

If there is a swelling in the upper eyelid, this can cause pain and discomfort. What is the general cause of palpebral edema? It could be anything from infections to allergic reactions and the use of cosmetic products.


Lower eyelid

These play a vital role in protecting the eyes. They help prevent dust and other external objects from entering the eye. Tears and water are usually released to keep the eye lubricated.

Swollen lower eyelids are usually the result of factors such as infection, inflammation, obstruction of the eye’s moisturizing glands, allergies, etc.

Causes of palpebral edema

Eyelid edema can be caused by several conditions, including:

Conjunctivitis: This is one of the main conditions of inflammation of the eyelids. This condition is also called pink eye.

It occurs when an infection in the conjunctiva can be transferred from one person to another.

Conjunctivitis that leads to swollen eyelids is usually accompanied by itching. The conjunctiva is the transparent coating of the surface of the eye. The eye appears dyed red, too and the factors that cause this condition include:

  • Allergies
  • Environmental irritants.
  • Chemical products in eye medications.
  • Viral or bacterial infections.

Blepharitis: This is a condition in which there is inflammation around the eyelids as the glands located near the bottom of the eyelashes swell.

This is characterized by pain and swelling. The skin becomes scaly, and the loss of eyelashes can also occur.

Orbital cellulitis: This is a rare and severe condition in which the eye tissues become infected. A more common cause of this is the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.

Inflammation and pain result when this infection reaches the eye cavity.

Stye: Medically, it is known as Hordeolum. This is an infection of the sebaceous glands. Bacteria enter these glands located near the eyelashes. This causes swelling of the eyelid accompanied by pus formation, lumps, and pain.

Chalazion: When an infection blocks the Meibomian gland, the eyelids become swollen and soft. Due to obstructions, the gland’s secretion can not find an outlet resulting in an inflammation of the eyelids.

Although it looks like a style in the initial stages, it then becomes a sebaceous cyst that would form far from the edge of the eyelid.

Eye Herpes / Cold sores: This is an infection caused by herpes. It leads to scarring of the cornea and inflammation of the eyelids.

Herpes is from a virus family that includes cold sores, chickenpox, shingles, and genital herpes. Additional problems occur along with swollen eyelids, such as painful sores, blurred vision, and eyelid swelling.

Allergies: The allergens are the leading cause of eyelid edema. When they come into play, the immune system reacts, and the condition that develops can even take life.

Allergens include:

  • Environmental particles.
  • Pet dander
  • Mites of dust.
  • Poland.
  • Cosmetic and ocular products.
  • Eye drops.
  • Contact lens solutions.
  • Drugs
  • Insect bites.
  • Medical complications

Medical conditions associated with eyelid edema include:

  • Graves’ disease
  • The pregnancy.
  • Failure of an organ.
  • Eye shroud.

When a person suffers from Graves ‘ disease or thyroid disease, palpebral edema is common.

In pregnancy, certain conditions, such as fluid retention or preeclampsia during pregnancy can also cause swelling in the eyes and body.

Organic failure is associated with fluid retention and eyelid inflammation.

Environmental factors: Without protection, going out in the sun can also cause swollen eyelids. Sunburn may be accompanied by eyelid swelling due to prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Having eye surgery or an eye injury can also be a factor.

Sinus and renal problems: Sinus and kidney problems are also associated with palpebral edema.


Palpebral edema may be accompanied by:

  • Pain in the eye
  • Headache.
  • Reddish skin.
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurry vision.
  • Fever.
  • Loss of eyelashes.
  • Swelling and irritation
  • Inflammation.
  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty moving the eyeball.
  • Bleeding of the eye
  • Fallen eyelids.
  • Increase in the production of tears.
  • Facial pain

Once you experience head trauma, you may also feel tightness in the throat and a severe headache.

Treatment of palpebral edema

Depending on what is causing palpebral edema, treatment may be prescribed. For example, if an allergen is a trigger, the doctor will prescribe antihistamines. Eye drops or oral medications may be used together with mild steroid drops.

Lubrication can also be recommended in the form of artificial tears. Do not use makeup, as this can irritate the eyes even more.

For viral conditions or diseases caused by an infection, medications should be administered to kill the pathogen. Antibiotics or antiviral drugs may be used.

Another critical point is to avoid rubbing the eyes and use gauze soaked in milk to soothe the eyes.

A cold or hot compress or slices of potatoes can also be beneficial. Cucumber slices work well because they are rich in silicon, water, caffeic acid, and ascorbic acid. This can reduce water retention too.

Home remedies for eyelid edema include a cold tea bag, which may consist of green or black tea leaves that contain caffeine and tannic acid that reduces fluid retention.

Sleep with your head elevated to reduce the fluid accumulated in your eyes during the night.

Ice water is also an excellent cure for eyelid edema because it contracts blood vessels and reduces swelling.

Another point is your diet; consume less salt because the high sodium diet increases fluid retention.