What to do for swollen eyes from allergies

There are numerous causes of swollen eyelids — ranging from mild to potentially sight-threatening conditions.

Allergies: Eye allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. Pollen, dust, pet dander, certain eye drops and contact lens solutions are some of the most common eye allergens. An allergic reaction to makeup also is a known culprit of swollen eyes.

Eye allergies develop when your eyes release chemical "mediators" to protect your eyes from allergens to which you are sensitive.

The most common is histamine, which causes blood vessels in your eyes to dilate and swell, mucous membranes to itch and your eye to become red and watery.

Conjunctivitis: Also called "pink eye

Posted on September 4th, 2019 in Blog, Eye Health | No Comments »

Waking up to a swollen eyelid can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but thankfully there are some quick remedies that can resolve most symptoms in less than a week.

There are several factors that can cause eyelid inflammation, but some of the most common causes are not threatening to your vision if treated properly.

Common Causes of Swollen Eyelids


Blepharitis is a recurring eyelid inflammation in which the eyelids become red, itchy and flake love scales can develop on the base of the eyelashes. You can lessen the likelihood of blepharitis with excellent hygiene. Frequently washing your face, using warm compresses and gently massaging the eyelids to loosen any blocked oil glands can assist reduce irritation and prevent it from recurring.


A chalazion is a swollen lump on the eyelid caused by a clogged oil gland but isn’t generally painful love a traditional stye might be.

Warm compresses can assist, but a chalazion might need to be treated by a doctor with medications. It’s always best to consult your doctor if a swollen eyelid does not improve after a few days.


A stye is an infection located in the eyelid that causes redness, swelling, and slight pain or tenderness and is caused by a bacteria that can live in the base of an eyelash or in oil glands within the eyelids. Styes are contagious, but most people own stye causing bacteria in their body already. The main risk is generally limited to passing it from one eye to the other. Styes will typically heal on their own in a few days.

What to do for swollen eyes from allergies

Using a warm compress can assist speed up the healing process.


The skin around your eyes is super sensitive. If you are experiencing eye irritation or swelling, consider what products you are using or what allergens might be causing a reaction. Certain cosmetics, facial wipes or eye drops can cause inflammation. Airborne allergens love pollen and dust can also lead to puffy eyes as well. Consult your doctor if these symptoms worsen or become unmanageable, anti-histamine eye drops or steroid-based medications might assist lessen those allergic reactions.

Quick remedies for a swollen eyelid

For eyelid inflammations, these quick tips can assist prevent infection and improve most symptoms.

  1. Avoid lotion or other cosmetics near the swollen eyelid
  2. Wash bedding and towels often and when you notice symptoms.
  3. Wash hands regularly and avoid touching the affected eye.

    Conditions love styes are contagious, and you risk it spreading to the other eye with excessive touching or rubbing.

  4. Apply a warm compress multiple times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time.
  5. Eye drops can assist combat eye dryness or flush out any irritants

If conditions don’t improve over a few days, consult your doctor for recommended treatment options.

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, develops when the blood vessels in the transparent membrane, or conjunctiva, that line the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball get inflamed.

The inflammation causes blood vessels to become more visible and gives the whites of the eyes a distinct pink or red tint, which is where the condition gets its name.


Pink eye is one of the most common ailments to affect both children and adults, according to theNational Eye Institute (NEI). There are four main factors that can cause pink eye: an allergic reaction, a foreign substance in the eye, a viral infection or a bacterial infection.

When it is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, pink eye can be extremely contagious.

«It is spread when a person touches his or her own eye and then touches the eye of another person; or it is spread to the individual by touching the infection in one’s own nose or sinus,» said Dr.

Jill Swartz, practicing physician at GoHealth Urgent Care.

Viral conjunctivitis is the most common form of pink eye and it is most commonly caused by a freezing virus, according to theAmerican Academy of Ophthalmology. It can also be caused by the herpes simplex virus.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the eye. This bacteria is sometimes the same that causes strep throat.

On the other hand, allergic and foreign-substance-caused conjunctivitis aren’t contagious. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites or mold.

On the other hand, irritant-caused pink eye can result from a foreign object in the eye, contact with chemicals, fumes, cosmetics or from wearing contact lenses for too endless or without cleaning them properly.

Newborns can also get a form of pink eye known as «neonatal conjunctivitis,» from an infection, irritation or blocked tear duct, according to the NEI.


Pink eye can often be treated at home, according to the NEI. But you should see a doctor if you own moderate to severe pain in the eye, vision problems that don’t improve when the discharge is wiped from the eyes and extreme redness in the eyes. If you own a weakened immune system or ponder you own viral pink eye and the symptoms worsen or don’t get any better with time, it’s also significant to see a doctor, according to the NEI.

Newborns with symptoms of conjunctivitis should see a healthcare provider correct away, according to the CDC.

Virus conjunctivitis infections are typically mild and will resolve on its own within a week or two, according to the NEI.

Mild bacteria-caused pink eye most often also resolves on its own, but antibiotic ointments or eye drops can hasten the process.

For allergic and irritant-caused pink eye, the inflammation will go away on its own once the allergen or irritant is eliminated or greatly reduced.

There are several at-home treatments that can provide some relief. Swartz suggested that it’s best to wipe away the discharge with a warm cloth several times a day.

A freezing compress can also be used to sooth allergic conjunctivitis and a warm compress can be used to sooth viral or bacterial pink eye.

What to do for swollen eyes from allergies

Eye drops may also assist alleviate dryness and assist with swelling. Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with an over-the-counter antihistamine.

Contact lens wearers with pink eye should stop wearing their contact lenses until their eyes heal. They should also throw away any used contacts.

Pink eye is generally contagious until the tearing, discharge and matting of the eyes goes away. This can final up to two weeks.

Symptoms of swollen eyes

Swelling of the eyelids is a symptom of an underlying cause, such as allergy or infection.

Swollen eyes generally are accompanied by one or more of the following:

A swollen eyelid may be a symptom of allergies or a sign of a serious eye infection.

  1. Eyelid dryness or flaking
  2. Red eyes and inflammation of the conjunctiva
  3. Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  4. Obstructed vision (depending on the extent of the swelling)
  5. Eye discharge
  6. Excess tear production, resulting in watering eyes
  7. Redness of the eyelid
  8. Eye irritation, such as an itchy or scratchy sensation
  9. Pain, particularly when swollen eyelids are caused by infection

Puffy vs.

swollen eyes. The term "puffy eyes" often is interchangeable with "swollen eyes." Swollen eyes is generally used to describe an immune response to allergy, infection or injury, whereas "puffy eyes" is more likely used to refer to the external physical characteristic of swollen eyes from water retention, lack of sleep, or genetic traits love dark circles under the eyes.


Pink eye can be highly contagious, especially in children, so it is significant to take steps to prevent infection.

What to do for swollen eyes from allergies

Dr. John Soud, owner and co-founder of Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Centers, provided these tips for preventing the spread of pink eye:

  1. Be certain to discard ancient cosmetics and anything that comes in contact with your eyes during an infection.
  2. Never touch your eyes or the area around your eyes without washing your hands first.
  3. Never share makeup products.

Weston added that surfaces should be wiped below with disinfectant, and towels should be laundered after use to assist prevent the spread of infection.

Additional resources

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.

This article was updated on Oct. 9, 2018, by Live Science Staff Author, Yasemin Saplakoglu.

What to do if you own a lump on your eyelid, or an eyelid that’s swollen, sticky, itchy, drooping or twitching.

How to avoid swollen eyelids

By Aimee Rodrigues; reviewed by Gary Heiting, OD

A swollen eyelid occurs when there is inflammation or excess fluid (edema) in the connective tissues surrounding the eye. Swollen eyes may or may not be painful, and the condition can affect both the upper and lower eyelids.

There are numerous causes of a swollen eye, including eye infections, eye injuries or trauma, and (most commonly)



Swelling of the eyelids can be a sign of a more serious, potentially sight-threatening health problem, such as

orbital cellulitis


Graves' disease


ocular herpes


It's significant that you visit your eye doctor for a thorough eye exam if your symptoms persist, worsen or change.

FIND A DOCTOR: If you own just moved or it's been a while since your final exam, find an eye doctor near you.

What to do for swollen eyes from allergies


Symptoms can happen in one or both eyes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Pink eye is generally extremely simple to detect. When the membrane becomes inflamed, it produces mucus and tears to protect the eye.

«It generally starts in a single eye with goopy, thick crusted discharge — you wake up and the eye feels sealed love glue,» said Cindy Weston, an assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Middle College of Nursing.

The other most obvious symptom is reddened whites of the eye.

What to do for swollen eyes from allergies

Inflammation or swelling from pink eye makes blood vessels more visible, causing the redness.

Pink eye can also cause itchy and watery eyes, a grainy feeling in the eye, swelling of the eyelids, cloudy vision, a burning sensation and light sensitivity. Sometimes the lymph node in front of the ear can magnify or become tender or contact lenses may not stay in put or feel uncomfortable because of bumps that may form under the eyelids, according to the NEI.

The symptoms can vary depending on the cause.

What to do for swollen eyes from allergies

Viral conjunctivitis generally comes on quickly and can be associated with «cold» pink-eye-symptoms love runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever, congestion, said Weston.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is often marked by thick, yellow-green discharge and can also exhibit cold-like symptoms. It can also sometimes accompany an ear infection, according to the NEI.

Allergic conjunctivitis generally affects both eyes. The eyes will often feel watery, itchy and scratchy. The discharge is clear and may be accompanied by other allergy symptoms including itchy nose, sneezing and clear nasal drainage.