May 30, 2018
Puffy eyes and swollen eyelids are common conditions. Often, these conditions go away in a day or so. Swollen eyelids and puffy eyes often easily treatable, even if they are irritating. If your symptoms and discomfort do not go away within a few days, make an appointment with your eye doctor to make sure it’s not a sign of any severe eye conditions.
Occasionally, swollen and puffy eyes are most often accompanied by similar symptoms, and include at least one of the following:
Although rare, swollen eyes and/or puffy eyelids can also be a symptom of more serious health conditions, including cancer of the eye and Grave’s disease.
Puffy eyes or swollen eyelids often occur as a result of the immune system’s “overreaction” to a perceived foreign or dangerous substances. Some of these substances include pollen, pet dander, and/or dust mites. Upon sensing an allergen, your eyes will release chemicals, known as “mediators”, as a way of keeping your eyes safe from harm. Among the most common of the mediators is histamine, which protects the eye by causing the blood vessels to dilate and the eye becoming itchy and red, while also creating excess tears.
Infection caused by bacteria and viruses can also result in inflammation of the eyelids and eyes, the most common form of both being conjunctivitis, or “pink eye”.
For unknown reasons, some people tend to have higher concentrations of bacteria in and around the eyes. It’s common for this excess bacteria to cause painful inflammation and irritation of the eyelids; the condition, known as blepharitis, is also often accompanied by loss of eyelashes and “dandruff-like” flaking of the skin around the eyelid.
Styes are red, swollen bumps located on the edges or corners of an eyelid, and are caused by inflammation of oil-producing glands and/or a bacterial infection. The inflammation causes the glands to become blocked, resulting in swelling of a portion of the eyelid; in severe cases, the whole eyelid will experience swelling and be painful to the touch.
A chalazion also causes eyelids to become irritated and swollen and occurs as a result of a blocked meibomian gland . A chalazion initially looks like a stye, but soon transforms into a hard cyst.
Orbital cellulitis is a serious and painful infection occurring in the deep tissue of the eyelid. This infection spreads quickly and often requires medical care; in severe cases, it may even require antibiotics to be administered intravenously .
Swollen eyelids, especially those caused by stress, fatigue, or fluid retention can be treated at home; common treatments include:
Flushing the eye(s) with saline solution.
Covering the affected area with a cold compress or cloth.
Remove contact lens for a few days.
Certain conditions causing swollen eyelids require long-term treatment; others require medical care and prescription medication. Common long-term treatments for conditions causing swollen eyelids include: