Eye wellness

How to get rid of a swollen eye: the complete guide

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The eyelid is a complex, fully functioning skin tissue with glands. When these tissues become inflamed, the eyelid becomes swollen.

While eyelid swelling cannot entirely be avoided, there are steps you can take to lessen the likelihood that it will happen.

Always wash your hands before touching your eyes to reduce germs or allergens coming into contact with your eyes. Keep from rubbing your eyes as much as you can to reduce the risk of infection or irritation.
Remove your makeup before going to bed because this can cause irritation and even puffiness.

If your eyes are already swollen, read our guide on how to cure swollen eyes.

What causes eye swelling?

Typically, a swollen eyelid is a symptom rather than a disease. Depending on the cause, finding the problem may take some sleuthing. Eyelids are complex tissues composed of eyelashes, lacrimal glands (which produce tears), Zeis and Moll glands (which produce sweat), and sebaceous glands (which produce oil). A swollen or inflamed eyelid can be an inflammatory reaction resulting in swelling in one or both eyelids from allergies to infections.

A bulging eyelid could signal a medical problem such as:

  • Trauma or injury around the eye socket
  • Allergies
  • Clogged oil glands in your eyelid (called a chalazion)
  • Infected eyelids (called a stye)
  • Infection in your eye socket
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Shingles
  • Thyroid disorders like Graves' disease

Most of these ailments are easily treated. If your eyelid is swollen, take extra care since a swollen eyelid can impact your vision and eye health if left untreated. See what remedies to use to reduce swelling and improve your eyesight.

How long does a swollen eye last?

How long your eye remains swollen depends on the reason for the swelling. Typically, it goes away on its own in a day or two. If it lasts more than 24 to 48 hours, call your primary care doctor, or schedule an appointment with an eye doctor.

Swollen eye remedy: which one is the most effective?

The cause of the swelling will determine the remedy. If you have an eye infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotic eye drops, ointment, or other topical medications as treatment. If the topical treatment doesn't work, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or steroids.

Do you have swollen eyes from allergies? Puffy eyelids are usually the result of allergies. Keep your eyes comfortable with a cold pack wrapped in a clean cloth. You can also try using over-the-counter artificial tears. Antihistamine drops can aid with allergies and may be helpful if an allergen causes your eyes to swell.

Home remedies for swollen eyelid

Try these home remedies for swollen eyes to give relief while maintaining the health and clarity of your eyes:

  • Use a warm compress: hold a clean handkerchief over your eyes while running warm water over it. This can help remove crusty discharge and any oil clogging your glands. Perform this twice daily for 15 minutes at a time.
  • Gently clean the area: after using a compress, use a cotton swab or washcloth to gently clean your eyelids. Make sure to rinse your eye area well afterward. You can also use a saline solution to flush away any discharge or crust around your eye or on your eyelashes.
  • Place clean, chilled black tea bags on your eyes. Black tea and even green tea contain caffeine, flavonoids, and tannins, which have antioxidant effects and are anti-inflammatory.

If you have any questions, consult your medical doctor or eye care professional to keep your eyes healthy and happy.