What to put on allergy 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. Eye discharge
  2. Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  3. Red eyes and inflammation of the conjunctiva
  4. Eyelid dryness or flaking
  5. Obstructed vision (depending on the extent of the swelling)
  6. Redness of the eyelid
  7. Excess tear production, resulting in watering eyes
  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.

Treatment Tips

  1. some eye drops can cause temporary stinging, if this continues, talk to your pharmacist
  2. do not wear contact lenses with some eye drops; check with your pharmacist
  3. protect your eyes from wind and sun by wearing sunglasses
  4. if you are using more than one type of eye drops, leave 10 minutes between applications
  5. throw eye drop bottles away one month after opening; mark the date you open them on the bottle (check product details as some eye drops can only be used for shorter periods)
  6. do not wear contact lenses if you own an eye infection, such as conjunctivitis
  7. simple analgesics such as paracetamol may help in relieving the pain associated with viral conjunctivitis

Tips for applying eye drops

  1. wait 10 minutes before adding other eye products
  2. pull your lower eyelid below gently with your index finger to form a pocket; tilt your head back slightly and glance up
  3. close your eye and press gently over the corner, near your nose, to stop the drops draining through your tear duct
  4. apply only one drop at a time into the affected eye(s) unless the first drop was incorrectly istered
  5. do not touch your eye with the dropper tip
  6. try not to blink straightaway, as this draws eye drops into the tear duct and out of the eye
  7. hold the bottle between your thumb and index finger and squeeze gently to release one drop into your eye pocket
  8. always wash your hands first
  9. use eye drops before eye ointment

Tips for applying eye ointment

  1. apply a little blob of ointment into your lower eyelid pocket
  2. hold the tube between your thumb and index finger and relax your hand against the base of your nose, to position the tube tip
  3. do not touch the eye with the tube tip

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.

What to put on allergy swollen eyes

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.

Causes of swollen eyes

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

General Information

Redness and inflammation of the eye has been reported as being the most common eye problem in Australia.

A major cause of eye problems is conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the ‘conjunctiva’ (the thin clear tissue that lines that inner eyelids and covers the white part of the eyeball).

There are 3 main types of conjunctivitis: allergic, bacterial and viral. They can be hard to tell apart, and each is treated differently.

What to put on allergy swollen eyes

Irritant conjunctivitis can also happen due to dryness and/or foreign matter in the eye. Always seek medical advice if you own red or painful eyes, loss of vision, irregular shaped pupils or there is unusual discharge.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria and is extremely contagious, commonly infecting other family members.

What to put on allergy swollen eyes

Symptoms, which may start suddenly and may affect one eye before the other, include:

  1. eyelids may be stuck together when you wake up, or there may be yellow discharge coming from your eyes.
  2. swelling of the eyelid
  3. red, burning, sore or gritty eyes with puffy eyelids
  4. there are generally no other symptoms associated with bacterial conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is generally caused by triggers, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander (hair and dead skin cells from animals), cosmetics or preservatives in eye drops.

Symptoms include:

  1. sensitivity to light
  2. itchy, burning, sore, red eyes with puffy eyelids
  3. watery eyes
  4. dark pouches under eyes
  5. other symptoms of allergy, such as sneezing and a blocked or runny nose

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus and is contagious. Sometimes it is accompanied by freezing or flu symptoms. Symptoms include:

  1. itchy and swollen eyes
  2. red, sore, watery or gritty eyes
  3. crusty eyelids

Treatment Options

Bacterial conjunctivitis

  1. do not use decongestant eye drops as they can mask redness and infection
  2. bathe eyelids with warm water or saline, and use warm face cloths
  3. dispose of tissues carefully
  4. do not share face cloths, towels or eye drops
  5. children should be excluded from school until the infection subsides

Oral antihistamines (tablets and syrups)

  • when you own an allergic reaction your body releases histamine, which leads to hay fever.

    Antihistamines block this reaction. There are two types:

    1. older sedating antihistamines that cause drowsiness
    2. newer, less sedating antihistamines, which do not typically cause drowsiness
    3. antihistamines are excellent for treating hay fever symptoms as they happen, especially if you own a lot of diverse symptoms.

      What to put on allergy swollen eyes

      You can also take them in advance if you know you are going to be exposed to allergens or triggers

    Other eye drops, to prevent allergy symptoms

    e.g. cromoglycate (Cromolux Eye Drops, Opticrom), lodoxamide (Lomide Eye Drops 0.1%)

    1. these prevent allergic reactions in the eyes and need to be used 4 to 6 times per day, depending on the ingredient, for the entire time you are exposed to triggers, such as during spring

    Antibacterial eye drops and ointment


    propamidine (Brolene Eye Drops)


    e.g. chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin Eye Ointment and Drops, Chlorsig Eye Ointment and Drops, Minims Chloramphenicol 0.5% Eye Drops), sulphacetamide (Bleph-10 Eye Drops)

    1. some people may be allergic to the contents of eye drops, so check with your pharmacist before taking
    2. continue using treatment until 24 hours after your conjunctivitis has cleared
    3. if conjunctivitis persists, see your doctor for further treatment
    4. for the best effect use drops or ointment every few hours, according to instructions, and clean away discharge before applying
    5. eye ointment may temporarily blur vision, so it may be better to use it in the evening
    6. bacterial conjunctivitis can resolve without treatment; however, antibacterial eye drops or ointments may speed your recovery
    7. some of these drops or ointments should be avoided in pregnancy

    Antihistamine eye drops


    azelastine (Eyezep Eye Drops), levocabastine (Livostin Eye Drops, Zyrtec Levocabastine Eye Drops)

    Combination eye drops including decongestant


    What to put on allergy swollen eyes

    naphazoline + antazoline (Antistine-Privine, Albalon-A), pheniramine + naphazoline (Visine Allergy with Antihistamine, Naphcon-A)

    1. some eye drops cause temporary stinging
    2. some eye drops contain an antihistamine (such as pheniramine, antazoline) to stop itching, and a decongestant (such as naphazoline) to take away redness
    3. limit use of combination eye drops to no more than 5 to 7 days to avoid a ‘rebound’ redness from overuse

    Viral conjunctivitis

    1. dispose of tissues carefully
    2. don’t share face cloths, towels or eye drops
    3. apply a freezing face cloth or lubricating eye drops to soothe eyes

    Newer, less-sedating antihistamines


    cetirizine (ZepAllergy, Zilarex, Zyrtec), desloratadine (Aerius), fexofenadine (Fexotabs, Telfast), loratadine (Claratyne, Lorano)

    1. cetirizine and loratadine are available as syrups for children; check correct doses for diverse age groups
    2. newer antihistamines may rarely cause drowsiness; do not drive or operate machinery if you are affected.

      What to put on allergy swollen eyes

      Cetirizine is more likely to cause drowsiness than other less sedating antihistamines

    e.g. fexofenadine + pseudoephedrine (Telfast Decongestant)

    Allergic conjunctivitis

    1. avoid triggers (e.g. pollen, animal dander) where possible
    2. apply a freezing flannel or lubricating eye drops to soothe eyes

    Antihistamine and mast cell stabiliser eye drops

    1. histamine is released from mast cells when you own an allergic reaction, which leads to hayfever.

      Mast cell stabiliser medicines assist reduce this histamine release, and so reduce allergic reactions and hayfever



    What to put on allergy swollen eyes

    ketotifen (Zaditen)

    Older, sedating antihistamines

    e.g. chlorpheniramine + pseudoephedrine (Demazin 6 Hour Relief Tablets), dexchlorpheniramine (Polaramine), loratadine + pseudoephedrine (Claratyne-D with Decongestant Repetabs), promethazine (Phenergan, Sandoz Fenezal)

    1. sedating antihistamines are not suitable for everyone; check with your pharmacist.
    2. not available without a prescription for children under 2 years old
    3. do not drink alcohol with medicines that make you drowsy
    4. these medicines can cause drowsiness, sometimes the next day; it is significant you do not drive or operate machinery
    5. if you own other medical conditions, such as glaucoma, epilepsy or prostate problems, or you take antidepressants, check with your pharmacist before taking these medicines

    Antihistamines (to treat and prevent symptoms)

    1. when you own an allergic reaction your body releases histamine, which leads to ‘allergic’ symptoms
    2. allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with antihistamine tablets or eye drops.
    3. you can prevent and/or treat the allergic reaction by taking antihistamines when you are around triggers, such as pollen or pet dander

    Lubricant eye drops and gels


    Albalon Relief, Bion Tears, Blink Intensive Tears, Cellufresh, Celluvisc, GelTears, Genteal Gel, Genteal Lubricant Eye Drops, HPMC PAA, Hylo-Forte, In A Wink Moisturising Eye Drops, Liquifilm Forte, Liquifilm Tears, Lux Clean, Luxyal, Luxyal Monodose, Methopt, Murine Eye Drops, Murine Revital Eyes, Murine Tears, Optifresh, Optive, Optrex Eye Drops, PAA, Poly Gel Lubricating Eye Gel, Poly-Tears, PVA Forte, PVA Tears, Refresh, Refresh Contacts, Refresh Liquigel, Refresh Plus, Refresh Tears Plus, Rohto Zi Contact Eye Drops, Rohto Zi Unused Eye Drops, Systane, Tears Again, Tears Naturale, TheraTears, Viscotears, Visine Professional, Vistil, Vistil Forte

    1. lubricating eye drops and bathing of the eyes can be soothing
    2. viral conjunctivitis generally resolves by itself
    3. topical decongestant eye drops may help

    More Information

    Availability of medicines

    1. GENERAL SALE available through pharmacies and possibly other retail outlets.
    2. PHARMACY ONLY available for sale through pharmacies only.
    3. PHARMACIST ONLY may only be sold by a pharmacist.

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    Last Reviewed: 16/04/2016

    At some point, almost everyone experiences swollen eyelids from allergies, irritation, inflammation, or infections. (Learn More) It is significant to know the symptoms so you know how to manage the problem, but treatment can start at home for the first day or two.

    Puffy eyes are often mistaken for swollen eyes, but puffiness can happen for several reasons. (Learn More) Common causes of swollen eyes, not puffy eyes, start with allergies, but include serious infections that need medical treatment. (Learn More) Less common causes of swollen or inflamed eyes are often chronic conditions that require medications and ongoing doctors’ appointments. (Learn More)

    The health of your eyes is closely associated with the health of the relax of your body, so understanding swollen eyelids can assist you get the treatment you need. (Learn More)

    See Your Pharmacist or Medical Professional

    1. if only one eye is affected
    2. if you own allergies to any medicines
    3. if you own other medical conditions or use other medicines
    4. if your eyes own a discharge, such as pus
    5. if you own a freezing sore, herpes or shingles
    6. if the person with the eye problem is a baby, young kid, or elderly
    7. if your eyes are painful, sensitive to light, you see colour around lights, or your sight is affected
    8. if you own had the problem before
    9. if you own strangely shaped pupils or cloudy eyes
    10. if you ponder the problem was caused by something stuck in your eye
    11. if your eyes do not reply to treatment, or do not improve in 2 days
    12. if you own other symptoms, such as headache, vomiting or a rash
    13. if you are pregnant or breastfeeding; some medicines may not be suitable
    14. if you own significant swelling of the eyes
    15. if you wear contact lenses