Swollen eyelids

Swollen eyelids occur when the tissue around your eyes contains excess fluid, inflaming the skin and sometimes causing pain.

What causes swollen eyelids?

Swollen eyelids are a common symptom of allergies and can either be a painful condition or painless. Allergens such as pollen and dust can lead to swollen eyelids, while a new healthcare or make-up product can sometimes trigger a reaction. In particular, make-up is known as a common cause.

These allergies result when your eyes release histamines to combat the allergens, causing swelling and inflammation of eyes and eyelids.

Eyelids can often swell as a result of common eye infections such as conjunctivitis and pink eye. Other symptoms of these infections include red eyes, dry eyes and/or itchy eyes. However, swollen eyelids can also be a symptom of a more serious condition, which is why its highly advisable to visit your GP or optician if the swelling doesn’t go down after a few days.

How can I treat swollen eyelids?

As it depends on the cause behind your swollen eyelids, the type of treatment you should use can vary. That’s why it’s always best to discuss your symptoms with your doctor or optician to find out the right steps to take.

Some helpful things you can do at home include using a cool compress to reduce the swelling, and to gently splash your face with cool water. If you’re a contact lens wearer, you should take a break from wearing your lenses until the swelling has come down. It’s also very important at this time to refrain from rubbing your eyes as it will only aggravate the symptoms.

In most cases using over-the-counter eye drops are a highly effective method to reduce inflammation and re-hydrate your eyes, particularly if your swollen eyelids are caused by allergies. Your GP might prescribe you some anti-histamine drops or medicine to help bring down the swelling.

Or, if you’re suffering from an eye infection that’s caused your eyelids to swell, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral eye drops could be the answer.