Swollen Eyes: Causes, Treatment, Complications and Prevention

We refer to the skin surrounding them, not the eyes themselves in this condition. The skin around the eyes is the most fragile and thin of our bodies.

What causes the swelling of the eyes?

Swollen eyes are familiar. The causes can vary from fluid retention to a severe infection. In most cases, the inflammation disappears in 24 hours. You can reduce swelling with compresses, but treating a swollen eyelid depends on the cause.

Several reasons causing swollen eyes:

  • Allergies
  • Insect bite.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Pink eye ( conjunctivitis ).
  • A stye, a tender red lump.
  • A cyst (chalazion), a blocked sebaceous gland.
  • Orbital or orbital cellulitis inflammation that extends to the skin around the eyes.
  • Trauma or injury is often accompanied by discoloration.

Some medical conditions can also cause symptoms of an eye or swollen eyelid. This includes Graves’ disease and eye cancer, although it is rare. Consult a visual health professional if the inflammation lasts more than 24 to 48 hours to avoid complications.


Things you can do immediately:

You can treat swollen eyes at home, mainly if they are caused by fluid retention, stress, allergies, or lack of sleep. If those are possible causes, the swelling will often be in both eyes. For it:

  • Use a saline solution to rinse your eyes if there is a discharge.
  • Use a cold compress on your eyes. This can be a cold washcloth.
  • Delete contacts if you have them.
  • Place bags of cold black tea over your eyes. Caffeine helps reduce swelling.
  • Elevate your head at night to decrease fluid retention.
  • If your swollen eyes are due to allergies, you can use antihistamine drops.

How to treat swollen eyes?

If your swollen eyes are painful or sensitive to touch, the cause is likely an infection, a cyst, or a style. It is essential to determine the cause of swollen eyes since the treatment options depend on what caused it.


If your upper or lower eyelid is swollen, it could be from a cyst or a chalazion. A chalazion usually boasts in the middle part of the lid. These cysts may take a few weeks to clear, and some become a hard blow.


Treatment: Hold a wet and warm cloth over your eye for relief. The heat can help with the secretion and blocking of the oil. You can do this four to five times per day. If the cyst continues, consult your doctor. They can help drain it for you.


A stye is formed due to a minor infection at the base of the eyelid near the eyelash. It can be internal or external, but it is often shown as a well-defined red bump. Your eye will usually improve once the pus is released from the style.

Treatment:  You can use a warm compress to soothe and promote healing. It usually takes a few weeks before it is cleared up. Avoid using makeup while you have a style, which may cause reinfection.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Pink eye is due to a bacterial, viral, or allergic infection that causes inflammation on the surface of your eye. It can start from one eye and extend to both. Often, the pus or a sticky layer will appear visible on the eyelashes and at the corners of the eyes.

Treatment: you can clean the sticky and crispy eyelids with warm water and cotton. The eye can improve on its own without treatment. During this time, avoid touching your eyes and keep your pillowcases clean. You will also want to stop using eye cosmetics and contact lenses.

What to do if it is an infection?

A skin infection is called cellulitis. The skin around your eye will turn red and may hurt. You will need antibiotics to relieve this swelling. Cellulite usually affects the legs but can occur anywhere.

Symptoms that indicate the need for emergency treatment include:

  • High temperature.
  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Shake.
  • Confusion.
  • Changes in vision or double vision.
  • Unable to move the eye.

What can you expect after the treatment?

Depending on the cause, swollen eyes take a few days to several weeks to clear up.

Be sure to stay indoors when you can if allergies are the cause. If your swollen eyelids are due to a cry, wash your face before bed.

When to see a doctor?

You should see a doctor immediately if these symptoms accompany your swollen eyes:

  • Pain in your eye
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • The vision gets worse.
  • Floats in your image.
  • Feeling something is stuck inside your eye.
  • Inability to move the muscle of your eye.

Certain conditions that cause a swollen eye require medical attention. Eye cancers are rare, but they can cause the eye to advance, making it appear that the eyelid is swollen when it is the pressure of cancer in reality.

Only a doctor can diagnose what is causing your eyelid to swell. But it can be helpful if you notice any difference between:

  • Symptoms that came before or after.
  • Presence or absence of pain.
  • An identifiable lump or general swelling.
  • Inability to move changes in vision or eye muscles.

Some people prefer to seek medical treatment immediately to get an accurate diagnosis and antibiotics. Always consult a doctor if your cyst, blocked tear duct, or other cause of swelling does not disappear after a few weeks.

Possible complications for swollen eyes

The loss of eyelashes is a possible complication of the inflammation of the eyelids. This is caused by scarring of the hair follicles, which can cause the eyelashes to grow incorrectly. Extensive scars can also prevent eyelash growth.

Common short-term complications of eyelid inflammation include dry eyes and pink eyes. Long-term complications may include:

  • Scars on the eyelid.
  • A stye (an infected lump that appears at the base of the eyelashes).
  • Chronic pink eye.

The sebaceous glands in the eyelids can also become infected and blocked. This can cause an infection under your eyelids. An untreated eye infection can cause permanent eye damage and loss of vision.

Scars under the eyelids can scratch the delicate surface of the eye. It can also cause ulcers on the cornea, your eye’s transparent and protective outer layer.


Having swollen eyes can be very uncomfortable, painful, and unsightly. Unfortunately, this condition can not always be prevented, but you can take steps to reduce the risk of inflammation.

Make sure you wash your face regularly. This includes removing your eyes and facial makeup before going to bed. Do not touch your eyes with dirty hands, and do not rub your eyelids with itching.

Rubbing the eyes can spread an existing infection. Also, check your eyelids if you notice pain, redness, or swelling. Controlling dandruff also helps reduce inflammation. If you have severe dandruff, talk to your doctor. You may need a prescription shampoo.