Why Is My Eyelid Swollen?

A swollen eyelid can be an unsettling occurrence. It can create a sense of discomfort, and swollen eyes in the morning, for sure, are not the nicest thing to see first thing in the morning.

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why is my eyelid swollen?” know that the answer can be multifaceted. Various potential causes may lead to this condition. In this article, we’ll explore these causes in-depth, which can range from allergies and infections to physical injuries.

So, read on for more knowledge about it today!

Allergies: An Invisible Adversary

In many cases, the cause of an eyelid getting swollen is an allergic reaction. Allergies are a response by our immune system to substances that it views as harmful. These external substances are what we would often call allergens. These allergens are abundant in our environments. Here are some examples:

Airborne Allergens

Airborne allergens are also the more common culprits. These include plant pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and pet dander. All these can come into contact with the eyes in the span of a few seconds.

The entrance of these substances then triggers an allergic reaction. The most common one is eyelid swelling. Aside from this, food allergies can also cause a broad range of reactions.

Man-made Allergens

Man-made substances can also act as allergens for some people who are more sensitive to these. This includes cosmetics and makeup, some types of medication, and even specific materials like latex. When these come into contact with the body, the immune system then swings into action.

It releases histamine in the body, which in turn causes a variety of symptoms that manifest as allergic reactions. This includes itching, redness, and swelling in different areas, including your eyelids. The thin and delicate skin of the eyelids makes this area particularly prone to such swelling.

Infections: The Invisible Invaders

Infections are another common cause of a swollen and puffy eyelid. Infections take place when harmful microorganisms invade different areas of our bodies. This includes bacteria, viruses, and even fungi, all of which are invisible to the naked eye.

When it comes to the eyelids, these can infect the skin, the tissues of the eyelid, or the structures within them. This then leads to inflammation and, later on, swelling. Other symptoms also more or less go with this swelling. This includes redness, a burning sensation, or even a sharp or glaring pain.

Two infections that are often responsible for eyelid swelling are styes and conjunctivitis.


A stye occurs when certain types of bacteria infect the oil glands in the eyelid. This, then, leads to the development of a tender, red lump. This lump can cause the eyelid to swell and can also be quite painful and uncomfortable to live with.


The second one, as mentioned earlier, is conjunctivitis, or “pink eye” as it’s more often referred to. This is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is the thin, transparent tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid.

It is also the part of the eyelid that covers the white part of the eye. Along with causing the white of the eye to turn pink or red, conjunctivitis can result in a gritty feeling in the eyes. It also leads to the overproduction of sticky discharge, and can also lead to eyelid swelling.

Injuries: The Visible Assaults

Physical injuries are another leading cause of swollen eyelids. The eyes and the surrounding area are sensitive. And it doesn’t take much to injure them. You can get a swollen eye from bug bite, accidental poke, a foreign object like dust or sand entering the eye, or even non-stop and harsh eye rubbing.

Exposure to harsh chemicals such as chlorine in a swimming pool or fumes from cleaning products can also cause injuries. Even UV light exposure without the right protection, like sunglasses, can cause photokeratitis. This is often referred to as ‘sunburn of the eye,’ which can trigger swelling.

Also, surgical procedures on or around the eye may cause temporary swelling during post-op. These different kinds of damage will lead to swelling as the body responds to the injury. Following an injury, swelling is part of the body’s natural healing process.

It works to protect the injured area and start healing by delivering added blood and nutrients. Depending on the injury’s nature and severity, other symptoms might also appear. This includes bruising or discoloration, changes in vision, or slight discomfort when blinking.

Blocked Tear Duct: An Internal Roadblock

In some cases, a swollen eyelid may be due to a blocked tear duct. Tear ducts are small channels that carry away tears from your eyes into your nose. If these ducts get blocked, the tears that normally drain away can’t do so. This leads to a buildup that can cause the eyelids to swell.

Blocked tear ducts are quite common in newborns. But, to some people’s surprise, they can also affect adults due to a variety of reasons. This includes infections, injuries, or structural issues with the ducts.

Aside from eyelid swelling, other symptoms of a blocked tear duct can include excessive tearing. Other common symptoms are a certain redness in the corner of the eye or a yellowish discharge from the eye.

Understanding What Causes a Swollen Eyelid

The cause of a swollen eyelid can be traced back to many different potential factors. This includes allergies, infections, injuries, and blocked tear ducts. When you notice eyelid swelling, it’s essential to always keep an eye out for other accompanying symptoms.

Also try to assess if you are experiencing severe pain, changes in vision, or if the swelling persists for a prolonged period. If any of these apply to your experience sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible. These could be signs of a more severe underlying problem.

The health of your eyes is of paramount importance, and they deserve the best care possible for you to continue to see the world better.

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