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Swollen eyes

Swelling of the eye refers to the presence of excess fluid or oedema in the connective tissues around the eye, especially the eyelids. Eyelid problems are not usually serious, but if you have concerns, seek medical advice.

A swollen eye can result from trauma, infections or other injuries to the eye area.

Almost any cause of inflammation to the eye area may appear as eyelid swelling.

Rarely, systemic conditions which affect the entire body may result in fluid retention, including fluid retention in the tissues around the eyes.

Swollen eyelids have different symptoms to the normal gradual change in position or drooping of the eyelids which can happen as people get older.

Causes of swollen eyes include:

  • Chalazion or meibomian cyst
  • Allergies
  • Blepharitis or inflammation of the eyelids.
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Burns, trauma, injury or foreign body in the eye
  • Cellulitis - bacterial infection below the surface of the skin
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Stye - tender, painful red bump at the base of an eyelash or under the eyelid
  • Angioedema
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Prolonged crying
  • Tumours
  • Viral Infection

Swollen eye treatment

Depending on the cause of the swelling, over the counter or prescription eye drops, steroid or antibiotic eye drops, or creams or ointments may help reduce the swelling around the eye, depending on the cause. Seek medical advice.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 22, 2012

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