Eye disorders are difficult to self-diagnose and treat. At times, symptoms of eye disorders like redness and inflammation can get frustrating and uncomfortable. And, popping a pill in these situations might be comforting.
However, inflammation need not be addressed with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs every single time. Sometimes, simple home remedies can ease the swelling. All it takes is an understanding of what caused it.
What Causes Eyelid Swelling?
A swollen eyelid is painful and sore, often accompanied by watery eyes. At times, you might experience pain while blinking. The swelling itself could appear suddenly or develop over time. Common causes of eyelid swelling include:
- Allergic reactions
- Eye Injury
If the eyelid is red, feels hot to the touch, is swollen, and painful, the cause could be cellulitis, which is a localized infection of the cells. Cellulitis, conjunctivitis, and blepharitis need medical intervention and treatment with antibiotics. However, as long as they aren’t chronic and extremely uncomfortable, all of the other disorders can be treated at home.1 2 3
Ways To Treat Eyelid Swelling Naturally
The easiest way to treat a swollen eyelid is to use a compress. Warm compresses drain pus-filled eyelids caused by a stye or blepharitis. In order to use this method, dip a clean cloth in warm water. Ensure that the water isn’t too hot because that might burn the eyelids. Hold this cloth against the swollen area for relief.4
Cold compresses could be used to reduce swelling and relieve pain in eyelids. If there’s pus formation or discharge, opt for a warm compress instead.5 However, it is important to not use too cold a compress as the eyelid skin is quite sensitive and extremely cold compresses can cause a frostbite.6
Additionally, you could dip a green tea bag in warm water for several minutes and apply it on your eyelids. Its anti-inflammatory properties might relieve both pain and swelling. You can apply this for 5 minutes every day. This method works with black tea bags, as well.7
2. Frequent Washing
For an eye swelling that has been caused by allergies, washing frequently with clean water could help get rid of the allergen, thus reducing the swelling in time.
Additionally, for swelling caused due to viral conjunctivitis, it is advised that you wash your eyes (and any discharge from it) regularly to get rid of the infection. If the discharge is dry or sticky, clean it using a soft cotton ball dipped in warm water.8
Apart from regular cleaning, a gentle massage of the eyelids can ease the swelling caused by blepharitis. It’s also a good way to ease any blocked glands. To massage your eyelids, place your index finger against the edge of the eyelid and massage in a circular motion. Repeat this process for 5 minutes each day. To make the massage more effective, try the warm compress method first.9
4. Tea Tree Oil
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil might relieve eyelid swelling. Research indicates that an eyelid “scrub” with the essential oil reduces the symptoms of blepharitis.
To try this method, dilute tea tree oil with mineral oil. Using a cotton bud, massage your eyelid margins and the roots of your eyelashes. Do this for 10 minutes before washing it off. Try this treatment every day until the symptoms subside. However, be sure to do a patch test first to rule out the possibility of an allergic reaction that might worsen symptoms.10
Most cases of eyelid swelling are harmless and can be treated either with home treatments or a simple antibiotic course. However, if the swelling is accompanied by pain in the head, double vision, or unbearable eye pain, it is a medical emergency. Similarly, if swollen eyelids caused by an allergy are accompanied by symptoms such as swelling of the lips and breathlessness, you must contact emergency services.11
|↑1||Eyelid problems. National Health Service, UK.|
|↑2||Facts About Blepharitis. National Eye Institute.|
|↑3||Kozarsky, A. L. A. N. “Eye Pain.” (1990).|
|↑4||Stye. National Health Services, UK.|
|↑5||Pult, Heiko, Britta H. Riede-Pult, and Christine Purslow. “A comparison of an eyelid-warming device to traditional compress therapy.” Optometry and Vision Science 89, no. 7 (2012): E1035-E1041.|
|↑6||Quist, Lawrence H., George Peltier, and Kipton JV Lundquist. “Frostbite of the eyelids following inappropriate application of ice compresses.” Archives of Ophthalmology 114, no. 2 (1996): 226-226.|
|↑7||Arita, Reiko, Naoyuki Morishige, Ichiro Sakamoto, Natsuko Imai, Yuko Shimada, Michihito Igaki, Atsushi Suzuki, Kouzo Itoh, and Kazuo Tsubota. “Effects of a warm compress containing menthol on the tear film in healthy subjects and dry eye patients.” Scientific Reports 7 (2017).|
|↑8||Facts About Pink Eye. National Eye Institute.|
|↑9||Benitez-del-Castillo, Jose M. “How to promote and preserve eyelid health.” Clinical Ophthalmology (Auckland, NZ) 6 (2012): 1689.|
|↑10||Koo, Hyun, Tae Hyung Kim, Kyoung Woo Kim, Sung Wook Wee, Yeoun Sook Chun, and Jae Chan Kim. “Ocular surface discomfort and Demodex: effect of tea tree oil eyelid scrub in Demodex blepharitis.” Journal of Korean medical science 27, no. 12 (2012): 1574-1579.|
|↑11||Eyelid problems. National Health Services, UK.|