What Are The Possible Causes Of Swollen Eyes?

By Larese De Guzman / August 7, 2020
causes of swollen eyes

You probably notice little causes of swollen eyes when, in the morning, you look at yourself in the mirror first thing. Often, though, the swelling isn’t going anywhere when the body wakes up from sleep. Sometime in our lives, most of us will experience swollen eyelids, but what are the possible causes?

Swollen eyelids usually induce a bit of anxiety as the effect is often unclear and can be seen by those around us. The majority of cases involving swollen eyelids are not dangerous. It can be because of allergies, fluid retention, pink eye, or a tender red bump. Moreover, a blocked oil gland, inflammation, and trauma may also cause swollen eyes. 

On the other hand, it could be as simple as a big bite. To get a better understanding, here are some possible causes of swollen eyes. You must understand these reasons so that you know how to treat them right.

What Happens When You Have Swollen Eye?

Some eye conditions may also be causing puffy or swollen eyes. For example, conjunctivitis is usually the result of an infection, but it can also be because of an allergy or contact lens. Other symptoms you may notice are itching, redness, and sticky discharge alongside puffy eyes. Let’s know more causes of swollen eyes.

6 Possible Causes Of Swollen Eyes

Waking up to a swollen eyelid can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but thankfully some quick remedies can resolve most causes of swollen eyes in less than a week. Several factors can cause eyelid inflammation, but some of the most common causes are not threatening your vision if appropriately treated.

Cause #1 – Eye Allergies

Eye allergies are the most common cause of eye swelling.1 Eye allergies can cause severe pain, sometimes interrupting everyday activities with unpleasant symptoms such as eyelid irritation and swelling. Allergies to the eyes arise as the immune system overreacts to an allergen. 

Cells in the eyes release histamines and other chemicals when exposed to the allergens to protect the eyes, causing blood vessels to swell inside the eyes, and eyes to become itchy, red, and watery. Prescription medications are highly effective in helping to alleviate symptoms. Antihistamines often rather quickly reduce swelling of the eyelids caused by allergies.

Cause #2 – Eye Styes Or Chalazion

A stye happens due to the inflammation of the oil-producing glands in the eyelid and bacterial infection. Sometimes the styes are itchy and tender to the touch. Styes usually show up on the eyelid as a reddish bump. The eye may feel swollen when a stye first forms, and may feel sensitive to light.

When one of those glands becomes blocked, a chalazion develops. The gland produces into a hard lump and can cause redness and eyelid swelling.2 If you develop a style, apply warm, wet compresses a few times a day for five to 10 minutes. It will usually make your eye feel more comfortable and help open any blocked pores so that drainage can occur, and the style starts healing.

Cause #3 – Pink Eye

Pink eye or conjunctivitis is a conjunctive inflammation that causes swollen eyes. The conjunctiva is a transparent mucus membrane lining the eyelid’s inside and covering the white part of the eye. Allergies, bacteria, or viruses typically cause conjunctivitis. Patients may wake up when they wake up in the morning to find their eyes stuck together with the mucus. The eyelids may get swollen, and the eyes may turn red, itchy, and irritating.

Cause #4 – Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a more severe cause of swelling in the eyelid. Two main types of cellulite are concerned by eye doctors when a patient comes in with eyelid swelling: Preseptal Cellulitis and Orbital Cellulitis.

Infection usually causes Preseptal Cellulitis with the bacteria. In addition to the swelling, patients generally suffer from redness and pain. It usually takes place in only one eye. On the other hand, bacteria can also cause Orbital Cellulitis in the form of a sinus infection that invades the area around the bones that make up the eye socket.4 People with orbital cellulitis may have a bulging eye and pain when they move their eyes back and forth.

Cause #5 – Graves’ Disease

People with Graves’ disease or other problems with thyroid often suffer from swelling of the eyelid. It can cause proptosis or eye bulging. While it can have more effect on one eye, it usually affects both eyes. Graves’ disease can also cause impaired eye movements or double vision. Hypothyroidism may also cause somewhat swollen or puffy eyes to both.

Cause #6 – Herpes Infection

Eye herpes is a corneal inflammation, the clear dome which covers the front of your eye. Eye herpes or ocular herpes can cause painful sores on the surface of the eyelid or eye and cause corneal inflammation as well as swelling of the eyelid. While a slight amount of facial swelling is reasonable when we wake up in the morning, there is no severe swelling in the eyelid. Herpes becoming an eye disease isn’t uncommon.

Do Causes Of Swollen Eyes A Sign Of Illness?

Your undereye bags may appear to say a lot about your health. We all know that a lack of sleep might cause dark circles, but there’s a chance they may be warning signs of other ailments. If you experience puffiness under your eyes frequently, you might be suffering from the conditions below.

Nasal Congestion

Having a blocked nose can cause a puff up on the face. Breathing poorly causes swelling of the blood vessels, which can manifest in changes around the area of the eye. You can buy a nasal congestant from your nearest pharmacy if you are feeling stuffed up. It will help clear your sinuses, lightening up the tissue around your visual organs.


If you don’t drink enough water all day long, the dehydration effects may appear on your face. Failure to consume sufficient fluids can shrink the skin cells and make dark circles more prominent. If that wasn’t enough to keep you hydrated, doing so can help detoxify the body and maintain weight loss.


Itchy eyes are one typical symptom of allergic reactions. Many rub around this area to alleviate this irritation, but it may lead to dark circles. If you’re having hayfever or other intolerances, try taking antihistamine over-the-counter medication to reduce these side effects.


Anemia can affect blood circulation, which causes your skin to swell and dull. You may also note that during your cycle of pregnancy, your bags get worse, which are both periods when the body is likely to suffer iron deficiency.

How to Reduce Swelling Fast?

When you have swollen eyes, remember this term – R.I.C.E. It means Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. How could these four simple methods help? Does it work? Let’s find out.

R For Rest

It sounds like common sense, but several people seek to work through the accident too fast to get back to a healthy life. Using the wounded portion of the body right after an initial injury often results in additional swelling of what has already begun to develop and does not help minimize swelling. Continuing activities as usual with no rest will bring more swelling to the area because the stress you put on the injury will cause the body to produce more fluid to heal the damaged tissues. Taking a few days of rest will help keep the swelling to a reasonable amount, and in the long run, the swelling reduction will be quicker.

I For Ice

Cold treatment tends to reduce pain and swelling down. It increases the blood supply to the region and can help to reduce swelling. Any form of cold therapy, such as ice packs, ice baths, and ice machines that deliver cold water to wraps, can be beneficial. Ice can be used for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time, several times a day, to minimize swelling effectively.

C For Compression

Pressure on an injury helps to curb blood flow and excess fluid from getting to the damage. There are a few ways to treat an injury with compression, but be careful not to apply too much to avoid cutting off circulation. The elastic bandages, compression sleeves for different body parts, and cold compresses are common ways to apply compression.

As time goes on, you can reduce the swelling to adjust the tightness of the compression form that you are using to prevent the fluid return. So, the moment when you see inflammation on your face or other causes of swollen eyes, make sure to apply some compression.

E For Elevation

The trick to reducing elevated swelling is bringing the injury above the heart level. It increases blood flow to the region, causing less swelling. Sometimes you may need to adjust how you sit or lie down and recline in need. If it is like an ankle with a lower leg injury, keeping your feet up will reduce the fluid from pooling into your ankles. Find out more ways to heal swollen eyes.

How Long Do Swollen Eyes Last?

The causes of swollen eyes usually goes away in a day or so by itself. If in 24 to 48 hours this doesn’t get better, see your eye doctor. They are going to inquire about your symptoms and look at your eye and your eyelid. They can also look for information about the swelling, such as changes in the skin or pain.

Physical therapy can be instrumental in reducing swelling within the body. Modalities such as ice, electrical stimulation, heat, laser, and soft tissue mobilization may be used by therapists to help you get rid of swelling within your body.

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