Why do I have the swollen eyelid? Find out the causes, symptoms and effective treatments of eyelid swelling in this informative article.

Why do I have swollen eyelids? Discover the causes, symptoms, and effective treatments for swollen eyelids in this informative article.

Waking up one morning with a swollen eyelid can be quite alarming. There are several possible causes of this problem, from minor irritations to more serious conditions. Identifying the underlying cause of your swollen eyelid is crucial to determine the proper treatment.

An important factor to consider is whether the swelling is unilateral (it affects a single eyelid) or bilateral (it affects both eyelids). Unilateral swelling is usually caused by infections or localized injuries, while bilateral is usually associated with systemic conditions.

In most cases, a swollen eyelid is a consequence of an allergic reaction. Common allergens such as pollen, animals dandruff or certain cosmetics can cause inflammation and swelling. If you have a history of allergies, it is very likely that this is the cause.

Another possible cause is the presence of an orzuelo, which is a red and painful lump that is formed in the eyelid. Orzuelos are usually caused by bacterial infections in the sebaceous glands of the eyelids. The lack of hygiene, excessive eye rubbing or the use of expired makeup can contribute to the development of an ohzuelo.

In addition, conditions such as blepharitis, chronic inflammation of the eyelids, can also cause eyelid swelling. This condition is usually characterized by symptoms such as itching, burning and redness of the eyelids. Blefaritis can be caused by bacterial infections, seborrheic dermatitis or certain underlying health problems.

Causes of Swollen Eyelids

  1. Allergies: allergic reactions to substances such as pollen, domestic animals dandruff or certain medications can cause swelling of the eyelids. These reactions trigger an immune response that causes inflammation and accumulation of fluid in the eyelids.
  2. Ocular infections: bacterial, viral or fungal infections that affect the eye can cause swollen eyelids. The most common ocular infections are conjunctivitis, blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) and cellulite (bacterial infection of the skin that surrounds the eyes).
  3. Injuries: Trauma or eye or eyelid injuries, such as a blow to the face or entry of a strange object into the eye, can cause swelling and bruises. In some cases, the injury can cause a blood clot or hematoma, which further aggravates swelling.

It is important to seek medical attention if the swelling is accompanied by intense pain, difficulty seeing or a sudden change in vision.

In addition to the above, other possible causes of the swollen eyelids are:

  • Inflammation of the Meibomio glands (meibomianitis)
  • Thyroid ocular disease
  • Orbital cellulite
  • Systemic conditions such as lupus or kidney disease
  • Fluid retention due to hormonal changes, pregnancy or certain medications
Possible causes of swollen eyelids
Eye infections
Inflammation of the Meibomio glands
Thyroid ocular disease
Orbital cellulite
Systemic conditions
Fluid retention

These are just some examples of the possible causes of the swollen eyelids. If you experience a persistent or recurring swelling of the eyelids, it is essential that you consult a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.

Allergies as a Possible Explanation

There are several types of allergies that can affect the eyelids, such as seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis. Seasonal allergies occur at certain times of the year, when certain plants release pollen. This type of allergy can cause swelling in both eyelids, along with other symptoms such as nasal secretion, sneezing and congestion. Allergic conjunctivitis, meanwhile, is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the fine membrane that covers the eye and covers the internal surface of the eyelids. The symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis may include swollen eyelids, redness, excessive tearing and sandworthy sensation in the eyes.

It is important that people suffering from eyelids identify the underlying cause to receive proper treatment. Allergies can be diagnosed through various methods, such as cutaneous puncture tests, blood analysis or an examination by an allergologist. Once the specific allergens that cause allergic reaction are identified, a treatment plan can be developed. This may consist of avoiding allergens, taking antihistamines or other antiallergic medications, using eyelets to relieve symptoms or, in some cases, immunotherapy to desensitize the immune system to allergens.

Inflammation and Infections that Can Lead to Eyelid Swelling


  • Blefaritis: This condition refers to the inflammation of the edge of the eyelid, which can be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, bacteria or mites. Symptoms may include redness, itching and formation of scabs or scales in the eyelid.
  • Conjunctivitis: Also known as conjunctivitis, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the fine membrane that covers the anterior surface of the eye and covers the internal surface of the eyelids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens or irritants such as smoke or chemicals.


  1. Orzuelo: Orzuelo is a common infection that develops inside the eyelid. It is usually caused by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus. Orzuelos usually appear as a protuberance or red and painful spot at the base of the eyelashes.
  2. Cellulite: cellulite is a bacterial infection that can affect the skin that surrounds the eye and cause swelling of the eyelids. It is usually caused by bacteria that penetrate through a scratch, an insect bite or a gap in the skin. Symptoms may include redness, heat and pain in the affected area.

It is important to note that the persistent or severe swelling of the eyelids must be evaluated by a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and provide proper treatment.

Understanding the causes of swelling of the eyelids due to inflammations or infections can help people identify the most appropriate course of action to relieve it. These are simple home remedies, sales medications without recipe or medical intervention, addressing the underlying cause is essential to treat this annoying condition.

Eyelid trauma and its effects

Palpebral trauma is understood as any injury or damage suffered by the eyelid, which can have various effects according to the severity and nature of the injury. Whether caused by direct trauma or underlying medical conditions, eyelid trauma can cause important discomfort and visual alterations.

The most common causes of palpebral trauma are

  • Accidental injuries, such as beaten by an object or being involved in a car accident.
  • Trauma by forceful object, such as a punch or a fall
  • Lacerations or cuts with sharp objects
  • Chemical or thermal burns
  • Infections, such as cellulite or abscesses
  • Inflammatory conditions such as blepharitis or orzuelos

Depending on the specific cause, trauma in the eyelids can have various effects, including:

Medical conditions associated with swollen eyelids

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions are a frequent cause of swollen eyelids. These reactions may be triggered by various allergens, such as domestic animals, pollen, dust mites or certain foods. When the body recognizes these substances as harmful, it releases chemical substances such as histamine, which causes inflammation in the eyelids. In addition to swelling, allergic reactions can also cause itching, redness and crying eyes.

Key symptoms:

  1. Swollen eyelids
  2. Itching
  3. Redness
  4. Crying eyes


Blepharitis is a common condition characterized by inflammation of the margins of the eyelids. It may be caused by bacteria, seborrheic dermatitis, or other skin conditions. The inflammation causes swelling, redness and itching of the eyelids. In some cases, the eyelids may crust or flake. This condition can also cause discomfort and a gritty feeling in the eyes.

Key symptoms:

  1. Swollen and red eyelids
  2. Itching or burning sensation
  3. Crusting or flaking on the eyelids
  4. Discomfort or grittiness in the eyes


Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that can affect the eyelids, among other areas of the body. When bacteria enter through a cut or insect bite, they can cause redness, heat, swelling and pain in the affected area. In the case of eyelid cellulitis, the eyelid may appear swollen, red and tender to the touch. It is crucial to quickly seek medical attention for cellulitis, as the infection can spread and lead to serious complications.

Key symptoms:

  1. Swollen and red eyelid
  2. Tenderness or pain
  3. Heat and redness of the affected area
  4. Fever (in some cases)

When to seek medical attention for a swollen eyelid

1. Persistent swelling: If the eyelid remains swollen for more than a few days or if the swelling progressively worsens, it is advisable to see a healthcare professional. Persistent swelling may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical intervention, such as an infection or allergic reaction.

It is important to seek medical attention if the eyelid remains swollen for a prolonged period, as it could be a sign of an underlying infection or other serious condition.

2. Pain and discomfort: When swollen eyelid is accompanied by significant pain, discomfort or changes in vision, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms may suggest a more serious underlying condition, such as an infection or inflammation of the cornea, and prompt medical evaluation is crucial to prevent possible vision loss.

3. Injury or trauma: If eyelid swelling is the result of trauma or injury to the eye, it is important to seek medical attention to evaluate possible fractures, foreign bodies or other serious complications. Even if the swelling appears minor initially, it is best to have it evaluated to rule out any hidden injuries that may require medical intervention.

  1. In case of persistent swelling, it is important to see a healthcare professional.
  2. If a swollen eyelid is accompanied by pain, discomfort, or changes in vision, immediate medical attention is necessary.
  3. In case of injury or trauma, seek medical attention to evaluate possible underlying complications.

Author of the article
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Medical oncologist at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, MD, at the University of Vermont

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