Swollen eyelids may be caused by allergies, irritation from contact lenses, crying, or infection. In addition to eyelid swelling, this condition may be accompanied by pain, tearing, itching and drainage.
In severe cases, swollen eyelids may impair your vision. If your eyelids are swollen, you may also experience photophobia. Photophobia refers to light sensitivity of the eyes. You need to treat your swollen eyelids or visual deficits may result. There are steps you can take to relieve swollen eyelids.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Doctor's appointment
- Eye medication
- Tea bags
- Ice pack
See a doctor. If you have swollen eyelids with tearing or drainage, you should see your doctor to receive a correct diagnosis. If your primary care doctor can not determine the cause of swelling, she may send you to the ophthalmologist or eye specialist. Blood tests may also be necessary to determine if there is any underlying condition.
Use eye drops or ointment. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops or ointments to relieve your swollen eyelids. Typically, these medications contain steroids that are effective in relieving inflammation.
If your swollen eyelids are caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. These will be either oral antibiotics or drop or ointment antibiotics. Note that viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.
A serious condition called orbital cellulitis may cause eyelid swelling. According to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, antibiotics may need to be given for this condition by mouth, for three weeks. In more serious cases, intravenous antibiotics may be necessary for several days.
If not caused by a bacterial or viral infection, then applying cold teabags to swollen eyelids may be effective in relieving swelling. The combination of cold and the tannic acid that is contained in the tea will reduce your swelling and soothe your eyes.
Ice is very effective in relieving inflammation and swelling. Wrap ice in a clean towel and gently apply it with soft pressure to your eyelids. Never apply ice directly to your eyelids because you may cause tissue damage or ice burns.
Ask about a diuretic. If your swollen eyelids are related to water retention, your doctor may prescribe a diuretic, or water pill. Diuretics will promote fluid loss and relieve your eyelid swelling.
Tips and warnings
- Take an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication. Anti-inflammatory medications relieve pain and swelling, and may relieve your swollen eyelids. Talk to your doctor before taking these medications if you have not taken them before. Anti-inflammatory medications can interact with certain medications such as blood thinners.
- If your swollen eyelids are accompanied by drainage, severe pain or vision loss, notify your doctor immediately. You may have a serious eye infection that will need rapid evaluation and treatment.
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