My eye is swelled up - Top 4 causes

The swelling of the eye is also known as “periorbital puffiness”, which is the existence of excess fluid in the connective tissues surrounding the eye, most commonly in the eyelids. A swollen eye could be a result of infection, trauma, or other injuries to the eye area.

What causes a swollen eye?


Other symptoms that can be associated with swelling of the eye, include watery eyes, eye irritation, dryness, redness, or impaired or obstructed vision, depending on the cause.


Let’s consider the top 4 causes below:


1. Chemosis


Chemosis is a type of eye irritation which occurs when the inner lining of the eyelid swells. The swelling of the conjunctiva means your eye has become irritated.


This is typically caused by allergies including seasonal and allergic reactions. With these allergic reactions, the eyes may also be itchy and red.


Medication can usually help relieve symptoms of allergic reactions.


2. Trauma


Trauma to the eye either caused by a black eye or forms of surgery on the eye can cause your eyes to swell. Prolonged crying is also a common cause of swollen eyes.


You typically find your eyes begin to return to normal once you have recovered from the stress of the trauma experienced.


3. Conjunctivitis


Also known as pink eye, this infection is common during flu and cold season. It’s often caused by bacteria, virus allergens or other irritants and can cause your eye to swell.


4. Eye infection


Infections of the eye can cause your eyes to swell.


Eye infections can be caused by dirty bacteria reaching your eyes, often by your hands. It can also be caused by:

  • Improper care for contact lenses, such as swimming in contact lenses, wearing dirty contact lenses, or storing contact lenses in a dirty lens case.

  • The use of damaged contact lenses can also cause irritation and swelling.

All these things can cause an eye infection and swollen eyes.


How to treat a swollen eye


Typically most swelling in the eye will not occur for longer than 24 hours. However, any swelling that lasts longer than 24 to 48 hours means you should make an appointment with an optician as it could be an indication of something more severe that needs specific treatment.


If you notice any of the following symptoms alongside your swollen eye, then contact your optician right away.

  • Pain in one or both eyes

  • The sensation that something is stuck in your eye

  • Decreased vision

  • Blurry vision

  • Seeing floaters.

My eyelid is swollen


If it is your eyelid that is swollen rather than a puffy under eye, read our blog on the different possible causes of a swollen eyelid and how to treat this.


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