What Are the Treatments for Swollen Eyelids?

Updated April 17, 2017

Swollen eyelids can be a symptom of various ailments including allergies, toxins in the body, eye strain, physical trauma, conjunctivitis, and in rare cases, can be a sign of kidney problems that restrict the processing and expelling of urine correctly. The most important thing about eyelid swelling is that you know what it is from. If you are not sure why your eyelids are swelling, seek medical attention.


Eyelids are exposed to a variety of chemicals, dust and microscopic irritants on a daily basis. Hairspray, make-up and pollution can all take their toll on the eyelids. When eyes are irritated, eyelids can become puffy and swollen. To help this kind of irritation, rinse with a saline solution. Once you have rinsed out the eyes, use an over-the-counter oral antihistamine to help further reduce the swelling.

Built-up Toxins

Toxins can build up in the body and manifest in puffy eyelids. To help flush out toxins in the body, drink plenty of water. Water is essential for all of the body's functions, but especially for keeping toxins flushed from our systems. Keeping the body well hydrated will also reduce swelling all over the body, which in turn will help keep the eyelids from swelling.

Eye Strain

Eyes can get tired and irritated when overused or used in poor lighting conditions. Eye strain can cause pain, dryness in the eyes and swelling in the eyelids. To reduce this kind of swelling, use eye drops to hydrate the eyes, then place sliced cucumbers or cold, wet tea bags on closed eyelids and sit back for about 20 minutes.

Physical Trauma

Swelling of the eyelid due to a physical trauma is most often referred to as "black eye" since the condition almost always presents itself with bruising around the eyelid as well. In these cases, the swelling can be decreased by applying a cold compress such as an ice pack to the affected areas for 20 minutes every hour for the first 24 hours.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Conjunctivitis, otherwise known as "Pink Eye" is an inflammation of the innermost lining of the eyelid and part of the eyeball. Pink Eye is most commonly caused by a highly contagious viral or bacterial infection. Those who suspect that they have Pink Eye should consult a physician for prescription treatment and should avoid contact with other people. Treating this kind of swelling requires determining if it is viral or bacterial. If it is bacterial, an antibiotic ointment or drops can be administered by prescription to the affected area. If it is viral, the illness must simply run its course; ointments and drops will not have an effect on the virus. If it is decided that the conjunctivitis is caused by an allergic reaction, eye drops can be given to flush out the area and relieve irritation.

Nephrotic Syndrome (Kidney Damage)

Nephrotic syndrome, when it occurs in children, is 80 per cent reversible once the underlying cause is determined. In these cases, the cause is "Minimal Change Disease," which can be cured with the prescription prednisone. In adults, however, the cause could be a kidney disease. In this case, treatment may involve corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs or cytotoxic agents. Nephrotic syndrome is identified by blood and urine samples that look for a marked increase of protein in the urine and a decrease of protein in the blood. Swelling in the eyelids as well as the hands and feet are symptoms of this condition. If you have swelling that persists for several days, check with your doctor to be certain that your kidneys are functioning properly.

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About the Author

Robin Lewis is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the Web. Lewis specializes in gardening articles, publishing frequently on a variety of websites.