What causes tense eyes

Puffy Eyelids - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Swollen eyelids can have a variety of causes, including allergies, infections, injuries or illnesses. Since treatment is highly dependent on the cause, it is important to see an ophthalmologist. In some cases, treatment with home remedies is sufficient.


Swollen eyelids can be very uncomfortable, cause eye irritation, and even affect vision. Whether they pose a threat to the eyes depends on the cause. It is therefore important to find out why you have puffy eyelids, because only then will you know whether home remedies are sufficient for treatment or whether medication is needed.

Possible causes of puffy eyelids

The possible reasons for puffy eyelids are many. The following are common causes:

  • Allergic reaction
    Swollen eyelids are often the result of an allergic reaction. When the allergens get into the eyes, substances are produced to protect the eyes. One of these substances is, for example, histamine. This dilates the blood vessels and the eye swells.
    Typical allergens are found in pollen, dust, and pet hair. But also preservatives, which are found in eye drops, for example, and make-up can trigger allergic reactions.
  • Eye infections
    Conjunctivitis is a very common eye infection. Inflammation of the meibomian gland is also quite common. This clogs the oil-producing gland and causes swelling in the eye. There are also other oil glands in the eyelid, the blockage of which can cause the eyelids to swell, the skin of the eyelids to become flaky and the eyelashes to fall out.
  • Irritation from contact lenses
    If you wear contact lenses, they can be the cause of puffy eyelids. Improper use or dirty lenses can cause eye irritation, inflammation or even swelling.
  • Eye injuries
    The best known cause of swollen eyelids due to an injury is what is known as "blue eye". But injuries, for example due to cosmetic surgery, can also cause the eyelids to swell.

Diseases as a cause of puffy eyelids

In rarer cases, sometimes serious illnesses can be the reason why you have swollen eyelids. These include:

    • Orbital cellulitis
      This infection of the eye and the surrounding tissue causes painful swellings, some of which can even spread to the cheek and / or eyebrow. Other signs include decreased vision and a fever. Orbital cellulite is a medical emergency that must be treated immediately, otherwise there is a risk of optic nerve damage.
    • Graves disease
      In this case, an overactive thyroid causes swelling in the eye. Aside from your eyelids being puffy, you may also notice droopy eyelids and double vision.
    • Ocular herpes
      The herpes simplex virus causes inflammation of the cornea, which can be accompanied by blurred vision and sores on the eyelid. This inflammation can permanently damage the cornea and must therefore be treated.

These complaints accompany swollen eyelids

The swelling of the eyelids may only affect one or both eyes and may not be associated with pain. The symptoms are there highly dependent on the cause. Typical complaints with swollen eyelids are:

  • Eye irritation (itching, scratchy sensation)
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Watery eyes
  • Visual impairments
  • Redness of the eye or eyelid
  • Dry eyelids, flaking
  • Pain (especially with inflammation)


Depending on where the swollen eyelids come from, you can either treat the symptoms yourself or seek medical help.

What helps against puffy eyelids?

There are some actions you should take right away if your eyelids are puffy. First, remove contact lensesif you wear any. Besides, you should do without eye make-up and no eye drops with preservatives use. Also, try not to rub your eyes - this tends to cause even more irritation.

You can also see small swellings in the eye cooling compresses to treat. This should give you relief. However, if it doesn't, or if the swelling gets worse, it's time to see an ophthalmologist. Only they can determine the cause with the help of a thorough examination and suggest an appropriate treatment.

Treating swollen eyelids

If the cause of the swollen eyelids is known, the ophthalmologist may be able to Medication for treatment deploy. In the case of allergic reactions, antihistamines and other allergy medications are particularly suitable. So-called "artificial tears" can also provide relief from swollen eyelids.

On the other hand, if the eyelids are swollen due to inflammation, antiviral or anti-inflammatory drugs such as eye drops, ointments or antibiotics are usually used. If the swelling is caused by a disease, this must of course be treated first.

If you have been suffering from swollen eyelids for a long time and treatments at home have not brought any relief, you should definitely make an appointment with an ophthalmologist and have your eyes examined.