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Swollen eyes or eyelids can be painful and unsightly, but the good news is the swelling usually goes down after a few days. If you are wondering what’s causing your eyes to look puffy, here is a list of common eye conditions:

1. Eye Allergies

Swollen eyelids are often caused by an allergic reaction to something in your environment. If this is the cause, it is usually simple to treat. If you suffer from hay fever, for example, then you’re probably already familiar with the itchy, red, sore eyes you experience when the pollen count is high. Usually, an over-the-counter allergy eye drop will do the trick, but in more severe cases, a prescription drop is necessary.

2. Conjunctivitis

This eye condition can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction to pollen or dust mites or an irritant. Some common features include redness of the whites of the eye, a discharge and sometimes crusts on the lashes after sleeping. Conjunctivitis often starts off in one eye and spreads to the other eye after a few hours.

3. Chalazion

A chalazion is a small, harmless bump that appears on the eyelid. It looks a bit like a stye, and is caused by a blocked oil gland. The swelling can be within or on the eyelid, which can often leave it feeling heavy. Chalazia will usually disappear on their own after a few months.

Swollen Eye

4. Stye

This common eye condition is usually caused by a bacterial infection. The outer part of the eyelid becomes red and swollen and sometimes tiny, raised bumps that are filled with pus appear on the affected area. Styes usually affect one eye, but it’s possible to have them on both eyes at the same time.

5. Eye Injury

When the eye is impacted by a blunt force, it compresses and retracts. This causes blood to collect underneath the damaged area. A common side effect is swelling and discoloration, usually in the form of black eyes.

Black Eye

6. Eyelid Edema

Is caused by excess fluid in the eyelid. In most cases eyelid edema is caused by a reaction to an allergen or something that has been applied to the eye area, like makeup wipes or eye drops.

7. Orbital cellulitis

This condition occurs when the inflammation in your sinuses spreads to the eye area. There is typically redness and swelling of your eyelid and around your eye. Orbital cellulitis is far more common in children than in adults.

8. Blepharitis

This condition usually affects both eyes and is caused when the edges of the eyelids become inflamed. Some common features include sore, itchy eyes that feel like they’re burning. Yellow crusts on the eyelashes are also common.

9. Graves’ Disease

Is an auto-immune condition that causes your eyes to become inflamed. It is due to an overactive thyroid gland producing too much thyroid hormone, which can cause one or both eyes to bulge. Graves’ disease is also known as Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). Those with this condition often develop other eye symptoms like dryness and irritation of the eyes. Also, the eye muscles can become inflamed, affecting eye movement.

10. Eye cancer

This is rarely the cause for swollen eyes, but in some instances, it can be a cause for concern when it is accompanied with other symptoms. If you have been experiencing blurred vision, loss of vision or see floaters — squiggles or spots — moving slowly in your vision field, then it may be a sign of something more serious.

If you have had swelling around your eyes for longer than a few days, be sure to contact our office to schedule an eye exam. If treated early enough, most of these eye conditions can be easily treated.

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45 Responses to “TOP 10 EXPLANATIONS FOR SWOLLEN EYES”
  1. Mike Clemens says:

    I have a swollen, red left eye twords the outside of the eyeball it’s self. Somewhat painful. Noticed at dinner last night but this morning very red and swollen. The white of the eye.

  2. Candis Jiron says:

    I have woken up with swollen eyes the last two mornings, along with an itchy rash on both cheeks. I recently became involved in gardening, and was exposed to an Oleander plant. Could this be the cause?

  3. Sipalo Mate says:

    Question
    i woke up to a swollen left eyelid yesteday?
    the eyelid is puffy and uncomfortable!
    its the second time is happening in 11years, what is the likeky cause of this discomfort

  4. Mary says:

    I am 57 years old and never suffered from puffy eyes. I woke up with puffy eyes 2 months ago and nothing works to relieve them. I have some post nasal drip and my head feels heavy at times. I sleep with my head elevated, use the netipot, steroid nasal spray, ice packs and take pseudoephedrine. Nothing helps. I have been on antibiotics and a 6day steroid pack. Could this be a low grade chronic problem?

  5. Maddie says:

    Hi, I’m 13. My under eyelid on my left eye is swollen. My dad said it was because I a itching it to much, but I think it may be something else. Please notify me if their is anything else it could be.

    • Hi Maddie. You might have an eye allergy … has it gotten any better since you posted your question?

      • Ash says:

        Hello, I woak up 1 day with a sore bottom eyelid i didnt think much if it but it was sore then it started to swell and the next day I woak up with swollen bottom eyelid and the inside was red and bigger i still dont know what this is. Can you please help? Thank you

        • erika says:

          Exactly the same thing happening to me right now. I was lying on my carpet using my phone and i went to my bathroom and saw the under eyelid of my left eye swollen. I didnt even notice until I looked into the mirror. Should i be worried?

      • Brenda says:

        My name is Brenda, I got up at 4:00 am. because I couldn’t sleep, I look at my eyes it was swollen and my face. so that morning at 9:00 am that morning I call a friend to take me to a doctor, I went and they look at my eyes and face, so they give me some Benadryl, and the wait a hour see will it help, then they call the hospital to send some one to get me to hospital. But my eyes has closed and I could not see. Could some one tell me why is happen,

    • Rebeca says:

      I’m also 13, yesterday after school I noticed that my left lower waterline has a bump that is pretty much surrounding my lower part of my eye, like where my eye bags usually are my it seems to be only outlining my lower part of my eye and not my whole eye bag area, at first I thought it was just irritated as I usually wear eyeliner and rub it off with lotion, but this morning, I noticed that it’s gotten bigger and it’s watering a lot, what should I do?

  6. Ammara says:

    Hi
    My 2 year old daughter woke up with left under eyelid swollen, i gave her anti allergy medicine 8 hours ago but it is still there.
    Eye isnt pink but i think she is uncomfortable.

    • Chey says:

      My son has the same thing but on his right eye woke up swollen but no pink eye or crust or anything and it doesn’t seem to bother him but the outer part around his eye is red and swollen and puffy

  7. Hoiying Wong says:

    Hi, I’m 18, I just woke up with my right bottom eyelid swollen, I don’t know how I got it or why, I have no allergies whatsoever as far as I know, I’m able to feel a tiny bit of pain in it whenever I blink but I know for sure it’s not a stye cos there’s no lump, this is the first time that one of my eye became swollen after just waking up and I’m worried

    • Hoiying Wong says:

      It’s okay, my swollen eye faded away so my eye is back to normal now

    • Valerie says:

      Hi. I’m 18 and when I woke up this morning both of my top eyelids were swollen and it is very uncomfortable. There’s no pus or itching. I took an antihistamine and applied a cold compress but they have barely gotten better. I can’t think of anything that could’ve caused an allergic reaction. Should I see a doctor or wait it out?

  8. Saikishore says:

    My daughter woke up with swollen righteye for first timeit wasnt pink what was the reason

  9. Ariyanna says:

    Hey Im 13 and I woke up and went to school an day friends said my eye was swollen and it has been itching my eye isn’t red but my bottom lid is what is wrong???

    • Hi Ariyanna — it’s tough for us to know what’s wrong without seeing you, however, spring allergies could certainly cause the swelling and itchiness you’ve described. Probably best to have your parents schedule an appointment for an eye exam. We’d be happy to see you at the clinic and give you a proper diagnosis. Thanks!

  10. Ryan Cowan says:

    The upper inside portion of my eye lid close to my nose swells up at random. It happens to me once every 1-2 months right after I wake up for no apparent reason. I’ve tried to up my water intake, reduce sodium intake and even started taking vitamins to build up my immune system. Have no idea what’s going on. I do have a scratchy throat could that be part of the issue?

  11. Noor says:

    My right eyelid swollen after high punch from feet.

  12. Tracey J says:

    I’m 35 and tend to have very puffy eyes (genetics and two little kids), and dermalmd under eye is the only serum that I’ve felt made any real difference. Not a miracle, but maybe a half miracle?! Will absolutely continue to use which very rarely happens with any beauty products, usually, they don’t live up to this promise – this one does!

  13. Camilla says:

    Hello, it’s the second day I wake up with a really swollen left eye, it’s really swollen in the mornings but after 3-4hours it starts fading, and the same today, for the second day, it is kind of red, not a stye and as far as I know I don’t have any allergies. I feel uncomfortable, what do I do?

  14. Alyssa Vieira says:

    I am 18 and one morning I woke up with puffy swollen I lids. It has been like this for 5 days and hasn’t gone away. It does not hurt and it’s not red either. I am sick on the other side with a bad cough and my nose not the best. I was wondering what are the best solutions to make it go away?

  15. Felicity says:

    Hey
    I woke up this morning with a swollen lower lid on my left eye. Its been in the process of swelling for the last few weeks. I get floaters all the time and blurred vision. My eye feels really heavy and annoying

  16. Nina Zabec says:

    A couple days ago I woke up with a slightly swollen bottom eyelid. It is still there after a few days have passed and has not gotten any worse or any better. It does not hurt unless I scratch it. It is very itchy. When I do scratch it, it feels like if someone pressed a bruise area. I have not been in any accidents. I have also never gotten pink eye or styes in my life and this is not making my eye red and it is not like a boil/pimple. When I tried to wash my eye out and look inside my lower lid, I only saw a small brown speck on the inside of my bottom eyelid and mild redness of the lid from irritation. I don’t know what this could be. Does anyone have any ideas?

  17. Maddy says:

    Hi, I am 12 and I woke up to my under eye a light pink. I’ve never had it before and do not have any allergies as far as I know. Two days later it switched to my right eye but my left is all fine. My right eye stings, I am really confused so I was wondering if you could help?

  18. Anna Coates says:

    Hi there, Let’s see…eye background. I’m 36 years young. Ha. At 19, I was diagnosed with histoplasmosis in my right eye. At that time, it just had one ‘spot’ now it has 3-4 ‘spots’ that are being watched. I’ve always been watched for glaucoma, as it runs in my family history. At 32 years old, I had the sudden onset of cataracts in both eyes. Since then, with eye dr visits every 6 months- farsightedness was ‘gone’ in my right eye, have had eye ball pain in my right eye and left eye twitching. At my last visit in December of 2019, the nearsightedness was ‘gone’ in my left eye. My eye dr can’t explain these changes. Why I’m writing to see if you can help is I’ve woken up off and on since November 2019 with a swollen bottom right eye lid(eye with histoplasmosis). I told my eye dr about the swollen lid that happens and at that time I had intermittent eye ball pain in right eye but no current swollen lid. He said my eye pain was caused by me having to strain to see due to my cataracts getting worse, told me to wear my glasses now (previously haven’t had to wear them) to cause less strain on them and gave me hydrating eye drops to use in my eyes. I’ve woken up with a swollen bottom right eye lid again today. Should I be concerned this is my histoplasmosis becoming ‘active’ or maybe an auto immune disease that’s not diagnosed?
    I have stage 4 Endometriosis affecting my bowels and bladder. It’s everywhere. Some drs consider it an auto immune disease. My appt with my eye dr is not until June 24th. Should I get in sooner? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
    Sincerely,
    Anna

  19. John Wilson says:

    Hello, my eyes are a bit red in the morning then fine during the day, then again at night they turn red. I originally thought I had pinkeye because I met some of the symptoms but I don’t have it. I wake up with crust on my eyes not too much that I have to pry them apart but sometimes I have to force them open. This has been going on for a week. Do you think it could be allergies?

  20. Joe says:

    I’m 14 and I woke up with my left eye hurting then as the day went on it started swelling at the bottom any clue what that is?

  21. Pacer Robertson says:

    For the last 6 weeks. Both my eyes kind burn when awake. Have to wash them out 4 or 5 times a day. When I wake up after a few hours of sleep the is a bit of matting all around. Never have had this issue. Any thoughts . 45 year old male work a in ship years. In good health I think.

  22. Sam Wells says:

    Over the last year and a half I’ve had six bouts of random eye swelling. *nothing with the eye ball itself. It’s fine! Starts in one eye with a little hive and within 4-6 hours, both eyes are very swollen and the triangular part of my face gets red and itchy. Lasts for 4 days followed by alligator-like dryness for 3 days (if I don’t get a steroid shot). If I do get a shot within first 8 hours, then I just have giant red circle circles around my eyes for 3 days followed by bad dryness. No new things in my life. I know better. Two of the times, I know I was outside within an half hour of the issue starting but completely different places. Being told by ER doctors and nurses it’s absolutely an allergic reaction and they believe it’s environmental. Where do I even begin?! Anyone experience anything like this? Any help is appreciated.

    • DEE says:

      I had a tiny itch on my left eyelid…never thought anything of it. Next morning, I work up with a very swollen top eyelid. Two days later and now my left eye is swollen like it’s never been before. I’m terrified and embarrassed to go outside without sunglasses on.

  23. Samantha Seamans says:

    Hello im 29byears old i woke up at 5am and my eyes were both normal and fine i went back to sleep and when i woke up the 2nd time underneithe. My left eye it swollen this is the first time? Its all swollen and it looks like i was beaten…. It all under my eyelid on the left eye one….

  24. kelly McCarthy says:

    I have woken up with puffy eyes and bulging eyes 4 times in thr past 6 months. They do not hurt but they do have discharge.

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