Swelling of the eyelid is relatively common. There are numerous causes for this, which must be clarified, especially if the symptoms do not improve relatively quickly.
Causes of eyelid swelling
There are numerous causes of swelling in the area of the upper or lower eyelids. In most cases it is harmless causes that lead to swelling in the area of the eye. But more serious causes should also be clarified.
This is especially true if there is no rapid improvement of the symptoms. Common and harmless causes of upper and lower eyelid swelling are blood pressure fluctuations. If the blood pressure drops physiologically during the night, there is a leakage of fluid into the tissue, which can lead to swelling, especially in the face and around the eyelid.
However, the swelling of the eyelids is usually not so severe that the field of vision is restricted. It also subsides within a few minutes or an hour at most. However, the swelling of the eyelids is always symmetrical in this case.
Likewise, a bilateral swelling of the upper or lower eyelid can be caused by an albumin deficiency. The body has a certain concentration of proteins. These are found in the blood on the one hand and in the soft tissue and cell tissue on the other.
When the albumin concentration drops, fluid will flow out in the direction that is denser. If there is a low albumin concentration in the blood, fluid will leak out into the tissues, which will cause swelling, especially of the face and eyelids. Protein deficiency symptoms occur, for example, with malnutrition, but also with severe renal insufficiency.
For this reason, the body is always given protein supplements to prevent swelling of the kidneys. Other causes of unilateral swelling of the upper or lower eyelids are barley or hailstones. These are inflammations of the hair or sebaceous glands, which then swell.
The reason is often bacteria (in this case mostly staphylococci), which are found on the skin and migrate into the hair cell channels. The barleycorn is a mostly painful and coarse swelling of the upper or lower eyelid, which can lead to swelling in addition to pain. The barleycorn is almost always found on one side.
Other causes of swelling of the upper or lower eyelid are trauma, i.e. blows to the eye or accidents (for example falls). In these cases, a mostly dull impact causes a haematoma and swelling in the area of the eyelid. Immediate cooling of the affected eye can reduce the swelling or make it less severe.
Swelling on one or both sides of the eyelid can also often be the expression of a severe allergic reaction of the body. Especially when eating foods to which the body is allergic, complex and severe allergic reactions can occur, which often lead to swelling of the eyelids. In this case, immediate treatment is usually necessary, because at this stage it is not clear how far the allergy is still progressing.
Relatively often a skin change of the eyelids causes swelling of the eye. Especially pimples or so-called barley grains can lead to an inflammatory event with simultaneous swelling of the eyelid. Pimples are small, inflamed changes with immigration of white blood cells as an immune reaction of the body.
The pimple on the skin level is caused by the purulent filling of small blisters. Usually such a pimple heals very quickly. Under no circumstances should affected persons manipulate the pimple in the eye area and try to push it open, as the hands are never sterile and further bacteria can be rubbed into the skin.
An inflammation in the area of the pimple can lead to an inflammatory swelling of the upper or lower eyelid. This is relatively seldom the case but nevertheless not without danger. Because if bacteria have penetrated the skin area of the eyelid, they can also spread further and thus lead to a systemic infection.
In this case, rapid antibiotic treatment should be initiated immediately. Sometimes antibiotic eye drops are sufficient, but often treatment with an antibiotic tablet is also necessary. A barleycorn is an inflammation of sweat or sebaceous glands in the area of the eyelid margins.
It causes a swelling of a coarse and often painful small knot, which can make the upper or lower eyelid swell considerably and can lead to a foreign body sensation when blinking. The treatment of such a barleycorn can sometimes be omitted altogether because it usually limits itself. In some cases, however, it may be necessary to use an antibiotic eye ointment or even antibiotic eye drops.
If there is no improvement here either, the barleycorn must be pricked with sterile tweezers. At the same time, antibiotic eye drops or an eye ointment should be administered to the affected eye. The swelling of the inner side of the eyelid is often caused mechanically.
In most cases a foreign body, such as a grain of dust, has gotten under the eyelid and causes a rubbing effect by closing the eye and blinking. As a result, the cornea of the eye becomes irritated, which leads to severe irritation with an unpleasant feeling. This can result in a swelling of the inside of the eyelid if no countermeasures are taken.
Countermeasures include the rapid removal of the foreign body causing the irritation. This can be done by so-called ectropionating (in which the eyelid is raised), or by flushing the eye. Sometimes anti-inflammatory ointments or eye drops can be used to achieve faster healing.