While swollen eyelids are generally brought on by minor problems and shouldn't be a cause for immediate concern, always see your eye doctor or family doctor to rule out more serious conditions. Check out the most frequent causes of swollen eyelids and learn how to prevent this health problem.
Common Causes of Swollen Eyelids
Allergies are the most common causes of swollen eyelids and can be brought on by a wide range of factors: pollen, dust, pet dander, certain types of eye drops or makeup.
Conjunctivitis (also called “pink eye”) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the clear lining of the surface of the eye), which can be brought about by allergens, bacteria or viruses.
If you've got a red swollen eyelid, a likely culprit is a stye caused by bacterial infection and inflammation of a tarsal gland. A stye can cause the whole eyelid to swell and is usually sore.
4. Eye Injuries
Swollen eyelids can also be caused by a trauma to the eye area, such as an eyelid contusion or trauma caused by cosmetic surgery.
5. Contact Lenses
Improper care for contact lenses — such as failing to clean them thoroughly or storing them in a dirty case — can also cause swollen eyelids.
6. Graves' Disease
Swollen eyelids can also be brought about by Graves' disease or other thyroid problems. Graves' disease can cause bulging of the eyes. Hypothyroidism can also make your eyes look swollen or puffy.
Swollen Eyelid Treatment
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause.
If the problem is caused by allergies, treatment may include antihistamine eye drops, oral allergy medication or lubricating "artificial tears". If the swollen eyelid problem is caused by an infection, you may need to take anti-viral or anti-inflammatory eye drops and antibiotics.
Whatever the cause, if you wear contact lenses, you should stop wearing them until the swelling subsides.
How to Prevent Swollen Eyelids
1. Get tested for allergies.
If you often experience swollen eyelids and other allergy symptoms, get tested for allergies. By tracing the causes that bring about the allergy, you can minimize exposure to the respective allergens.
2. Choose hypoallergenic cosmetics.
To avoid allergic reactions to makeup or other beauty products, always look for the “hypoallergenic” label. You should always do a patch test before you start using a makeup product.