What do I do when my eyelid is swollen?

Swollen or puffy eyelid is one of the common health problems and is generally caused by several factors. These factors can range from problems with fluid retention in the body to infections. Mostly, this swelling reduces within 24 hours but, this also depends on the cause of the swelling. If this swelling lasts for more than 24 hours, you should seek medical advice from an eye care professional to avoid any complications. Some of the causes of the swollen eyelid are:

– Allergic reaction

– Stress

– Lack of sleep

– Fluid retention in the body

– Conjunctivitis/pink eye

– Insect bite

– Stye

– Chalazion/cyst

– Trauma or injury

– Inflammation (orbital or pre-orbital cellulitis)

– Grave’s disease

Eye cancer (rare cause)

Although, the treatment of a swollen eyelid should be cause-based but, here are some steps that you can do at home as initial at-home management:

– Usually, if the cause of swollen eyelid is stress, fluid retention, allergy, or lack of sleep then both eyes will be affected. For this, you can use the method of cold compressions. Take a cold, sterile washcloth and gently compress it over your eyelids. Repeat this procedure throughout the day and notice any difference.

– If you notice any discharge from your eyes then rinse your eyes with a saline solution frequently.

– If you wear contact lenses, remove them.

– It is said that caffeine helps in reducing swelling. You can soak black or green tea bags in water and then chill them. Place these chilled tea bags on your eyes and notice any difference.

– If the swelling is caused by fluid retention then make sure to elevate your head when sleeping.

– If the cause of your swelling is an allergic reaction then use anti-histamine drops or oral anti-histamine.

If your eyelids are swollen and painful or tender to touch then the cause of your swelling is a most likely infection, cyst, stye or chalazion. Mostly, one eye is affected in this case. Some selective treatment options for swollen eyelids are described below:

– A chalazion or cyst presents with swelling in the middle portion of the eyelid. For these use the hot compression method. Compress your eyelid with a sterile, warm washcloth. This will help clear any oil secretion or blockage.

– A stye occurs due to infection at the base of the eyelid near your eyelashes and presents as a well-defined red bump. It is often filled with pus and the warm compression method helps to release the pus from the stye.

– Pink eye/conjunctivitis can occur due to many factors. It usually presents with crusty eyelids in the morning. Good hygiene and gentle cleansing of the eye with warm water and sterile cotton can be helpful.

– Swelling caused by an infection will present with other symptoms too like fever, nausea, pain, etc. In this case, antibiotics will be prescribed by the doctor.

If your symptoms persist for more than 24 hours after doing this at-home management then seek help from an eye care professional as soon as possible. You should seek a doctor if you notice other symptoms like:

– Painful sensation in eyes

– Blurring of vision

– Visual impairment

– Foreign body sensation in eyes

– Inability to move eye muscles properly

– Floaters in vision

– Identifiable lump or swelling on the eye

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