Swollen eyes – causes, treatment

Swollen eyes

Swollen eyes are a common everyday problem that can have various causes. Not every one has disease value. You can also have swollen eyes due to natural causes – for example, due to age or hereditary factors.

What are swollen eyes?

The definition of swollen eyes is that edema or swelling has formed around the eyes. The swelling may affect only one eyelid of the eye or the general environment of the entire eye.

Swollen eyes can occur acutely and chronically. Whether the swelling is normal or due to allergies or medical conditions must be checked by the doctor.

However, swollen eyes can also be caused by bags under the eyes or advanced age and then have no disease value. The same goes for swollen eyes in the morning.


The causes of swollen eyes can be many. Sometimes the predisposition to bags under the eyes is inherited familial. Allergies to cosmetics more often cause swollen eyes. These are usually accompanied by redness and itching. Under certain circumstances, even the whole face can swell.

It is well known that you have swollen eyes after a blow to the eye. Usually the eye then turns blue and one speaks of a violet. Morning swollen eyes can occur due to impaired lymph flow. This has to do with the flat position in bed. However, it is also possible that certain foods eaten the night before cause swollen eyes. Alcohol, salt nibbles or a too high-protein meal can also cause swollen eyes.

In women, swollen eyes may occur during menstruation or before ovulation. In addition, a house dust allergy can trigger swollen eyes. Dry heating air, pollen or duvets with feathers can trigger swollen eyes as well as high blood pressure, kidney or thyroid disorders. Swollen eyes can often occur with a cold — especially if the sinuses are affected.

Also, swollen eyes may occur after palladium fillings or other dental problems. Computer workstations also often result in dry and swollen eyes. If you notice swollen eyes after wearing contact lenses, the eye is too dry or you do not tolerate the lenses. Conjunctivitisstye, eyelid inflammation and bacterial infections of the eye also result in swollen eyes.

Diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & course

Although swollen eyes do not have to have a disease value at first, they should be diagnosed in certain cases. This is especially true if you notice swollen eyes associated with redness, itching or pain sensations.

If swollen eyes occur in old age, this is usually due to declining organ functions or chronic diseases. Some lead to more water in the tissues, hence edema, thick legs and swollen eyes. In acute swelling of the eye, the course of the disease can be slightly alleviated.

In the case of chronic complaints, the course depends on the underlying disease. Depending on the situation, the diagnosis of “swollen eyes” may require a visit to an ophthalmologist, an internist or allergist.


The term “medical complication” refers to a side effect that occurs in the course of an exacerbation of the original disease or by another disease of another organ. Such complications can also be caused by preparations that are used because of the original disease. Swollen eyes are a symptom that occurs due to various eye conditions such as eye flu.

If swollen eyes are not treated shortly, a possible infection can permanently damage the eye. Swollen eyes sometimes occur even after nights of drinking. Ergo, the cause of the swollen eyes should be determined, as they can be harmless, but also dangerous. Complications of eye diseases Eye diseases should be detected by the doctor as well as the eye diseases themselves. Medicines can cause diseases of the eyes.

Therefore, various eye diseases can also be caused by drugs. Then these are omitted or changed. Otherwise, medical remedies against the side effects of the medicine will have to be taken again. Therefore, the treatment of eye diseases must be carefully selected, and preferably involve only one drug. Swollen eyes can also occur in the form of allergies to a particular preparation. A health-promoting food intake as well as the renunciation of smoking can prevent many eye diseases and their complications. A number of eye diseases flare up, especially in chronically ill and aging clients.

When to go to the doctor?

Swollen eyes can run in the family or at advanced age. In particular, the areas of the eyelids and the eye areas under the eyes, which are also known as bags under the eyes, tend to water retention in the tissue due to the condition or disease.

Occasionally, swollen eyes may occur as a result of unfavorable habits, for example, after eating certain foods or a short night. Those who attribute their swollen eyes to such causes can probably do without a doctor’s visit. To be on the safe side, however, it is advisable to ask the family doctor for his opinion on the swollen eyes, at least at the next visit.

Causes of swollen eyes can lie directly in the eye area. These include conjunctivitis, stye, hailstone and a tumour. Various allergies also have a significant influence on the development of swollen eyes, especially those to house dust, mites and pollen. Swollen eyes are also not uncommon as a side effect of colds.

Particularly important is the medical clarification of swollen eyes with regard to possibly even life-threatening diseases of the heart and kidneys. Thyroid disorders and a disturbed lymph flow are also possible triggers for swollen eyes.

Treatment & Therapy

Swollen eyes as a result of a cold are treated with cold remedies, light food and bed rest. If swollen eyes occur with high blood pressure or as a result of kidney or thyroid disorders, causal treatment must be carried out by a specialist.

In acute allergies, the triggering allergen must be determined. The therapy against swollen eyes then consists of omitting the trigger, if necessary also treated with or cortisone. At the ophthalmologist, various eye drops and eye ointments are available against swollen eyes.

Cold compresses help against swollen eyes in the morning or swollen eyes after a night of drinking. You can also treat swollen eyes with cucumber slices or cold tea bags.

However, this should be avoided if the swollen eyes are irritated or inflamed. Anti-allergic bedding and air filters help against swollen eyes caused by bed mites, pollen or down allergies.

Outlook & Forecast

At first glance, swollen eyes are not a worrying clinical picture in which an unexpected course of the disease can occur. Many sufferers suffer from swollen eyes, especially in the morning hours. However, these disappear after several hours when the liquid flows back again.

However, if the swollen eyes are caused by an underlying disease, no timely improvement is to be expected if not treated. If, for example, there is an allergy to pollen or dust mites, the eyes remain permanently swollen. However, with appropriate treatment and the right medication, the swollen eyes can be treated very effectively.

Under certain circumstances, swollen eyes can also lead to other cold symptoms. This includes, for example, a strong cough , a stuffy nose or an Elevated temperature . Without any treatment, the individual symptoms can also worsen significantly. For this reason, appropriate treatment by a doctor is highly advisable. A significant improvement can be expected after just a few days.

Full recovery is the norm for puffy eyes. There are no permanent consequential damages and the permanent intake of medication can be dispensed with.


As a preventive measure against swollen eyes, you should drink enough water so that the lymph flow is good. Salt should be used sparingly, alcohol as well. In general, a healthy lifestyle is the tried and tested remedy for swollen eyes.

What you can do yourself

Various measures relieve swollen eyes. It is important to have sufficient . It helps to get the lymphatic transport going and thus avoid swollen eyes. Cooling glasses or spoons stored in the freezer at night should be placed on the eye for about ten minutes early in the morning to relieve morning swelling on the eye. Freshly cut cucumber slices on the eyes are proven. They cool the eyes and moisturize the skin.

A gentle massage of the eyelids is often helpful against swollen eyes. The skin around the eyes is massaged with gentle circular movements and/or gently tapped from the bridge of the nose along the lower eyelid. For swollen eyes, hemorrhoidal ointment can help. A thin layer of the ointment is applied to the eyelids. Attention should be paid to the ingredients. Cortisone and local anesthetics are not recommended, as they anesthetize and weaken the skin. For example, horse extracts are recommended. They have a natural decongestant effect. Direct eye contact should be avoided at all costs. Eye care products with ingredients such as caffeine or green tea often help relieve eye swelling.

If a bacterial infection is the cause of the swollen eyes, the contact lenses should be changed to avoid re-infection. In addition, your own hands should be kept clean.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.