Do you have swollen and painful eyelid? What might be the cause of this eye condition? In this post, we have insights on the causes of inflamed eyelid gland and contacts in both adults and toddlers. You will also learn more about how to get rid of this condition using various home remedies and treatment.
Eyelid inflammation is also known as Blepharitis. It is a common condition that mainly affects eyelid margins. This condition can occur either on upper or lower eyelid [or both]. Blepharitis can be symptomatic to other skin conditions such as ocular rosacea, psoriasis, and Seborrheic dermatitis.
Eyelid inflammation and the pink eye can also occur at the same time. Unfortunately, most of us have to deal with Blepharitis at some point in our lives. Inflamed, painful, swollen and puffy eyelids can cause low self-esteem, impaired vision, and discomfort, especially when applying eye makeup. Blepharitis is characterized by:
- Burning sensation
- Painful or stinging eyes
- Itchy eyelids
- Abnormalities of the eyelid that include in-turning
- Grittiness and
- Watery eyes
When not treated, this condition can also cause loss of eyelashes. In case of an infection, the affected eye may become puffy, tender, swollen, and red. Some discharge can also come from the corners of your eyes. If the eyelid is swollen and painful, you can use over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen to alleviate the pain.
There are two types of blepharitis i.e. anterior eyelid inflammation and posterior eyelid inflammation. Anterior blepharitis occurs at the outside of eyelid from the edge where eyelashes attach while posterior blepharitis affects the inner part of the eyelid that touches the eyeball.
Why do I Have an Inflamed Eyelid?
There are several conditions that can cause your eyelid to become inflamed. Here are the common causes of blepharitis:
Bacterial Eyelid Infection
Touching your eyelids with dirty hands or staying in the dirty environment can transfer bacteria to the eyelids. Poorly stored or misused cosmetics can also harbor bacteria that can cause an infection. When the eyelash follicles are infected, they become inflamed, swollen, tender, painful, blurred vision, and gritty sensation when blinking.
You may also notice yellow or green discharge from the corners of your eyes. The germ that causes this condition is known as staphylococcus. A low number of this bacterium is commonly found on our skin without causing harm. Unfortunately, they can penetrate into the hair follicles of your eyelashes, feed on the oil, multiply, increase in number, and cause an eyelid infection.
Bacterial infections are treated using antibiotics. However, you can use some of the remedies like warm or cold compress to control an swollen eyelid. Some of the remedies are effective on how to make a swollen eyelid go down.
Fungal Eyelid Infection
There an increased risk of fungal eyelid infections among contact lenses wearers as compared to those who don’t wear. The chances of developing fungal eyelid infection are higher when you wear contact lenses when using public facilities such as swimming pool or hot tub. It is important to remove the contact lenses and clean them thoroughly after using such facilities.
Trachoma is related to chlamydia trachomatis, although it is rare in the United States, is it common in under-developed countries and is the major cause of blindness. It causes the inner part of the eyelid to scar. Fungal keratitis is also linked to prolonged wearing of contact lenses. The eyelid infection treatment depends on the causative agent.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian gland dysfunction on the eyelid causes a condition known as Meibomian Blepharitis. Your eyelid contains several meibomian glands that lie behind the eyelashes. The upper and lower eyelid contains an approximate of about 30 meibomian glands.
Meibomian glands play an important role in secreting a few oily fluids on the inner part of the eyelids that are next to the eyeball. These oily substance helps to lubricate the front part of the eyeball.
If your meibomian glands are not functioning properly or are not producing enough oily substances, then you are suffering from meibomian blepharitis. This condition is characterized by inflammation of the eyelid and dry eyes. It can affect one or both of your eyelid at the same time. It means that these type of glands are not producing enough fluids to lubricate the eye.
Dry Eyes Syndrome
Dry eyes syndrome or dry eyes is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Dry eyes cause inflamed eyelids among other symptoms that include: grittiness, soreness, burning sensation, red eyes, sticky eyelid in the morning, and blurred vision among others.
Dry eyes occur when a normal tear production is disturbed. This can happen as a result of being in the hot and windy environment, wearing contact lenses, hormonal changes especially in women, side effects of certain medication, and due to underlying body conditions.
This condition can affect both children and adults although the risk increases as you get older. This condition is common among individuals who are above the age of 65 years. This condition can be managed by using artificial tears, medications to relieve the inflammation, and if necessary surgery.
Parasites [Demodex Eyelash Mites]
Eyelash mites are also known as Demodex folliculitis. Parasites can invade your facial hair, particularly in the eyelashes. These parasites are usually innocuous and it may be difficult to notice them. There are various species of Demodex but only two of them attack people i.e. Demodex folliculorum and Demodex braves.
The eyelash mites belong to demote folliculorum species. They are usually found on hair follicles. These mites are tiny and you cannot be able to see them with naked eyes. They crawl out of the hair follicles to the skin surface during the night and hide back in daytime. Although anyone can get this type of parasites, they are common in older people than children.
They can result in skin disorders such as inflammation and itching, especially in the morning. The other symptoms include swelling, crusty eyes, redness, burning sensation, and itchiness. Heavy infestation can lead to eyelashes falling off.
Inflamed Eyelid Gland
There are small glands in your eyelid known as meibomian glands. They play an important role in secreting oil substance that lubricates and moisten the eye in order to function properly. Malfunction of these glands can cause them to become inflamed or produce excessive oil. This condition is referred to as meibomianitis.
The excessive oil produced can accumulate on the eyelid or block the eyelashes follicles. The accumulated oil and other debris attract bacteria that multiply to cause an infection. Bacterial eyelid infection is characterized by swollen eyelid glands among other symptoms.
Excessive production of oil by meibomian glands can be triggered by various factors that include:
- Hormonal changes during adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Allergic reactions to pollen, certain foods, skin care product, and side effects of certain medications.
- Different skin conditions such as rosacea or acne.
- Prolonged use of contact lens.
- Sleeping without removing eye makeup.
- Certain medications that increase the growth of bacteria on eyelid such as isotretinoin.
Apart from inflammation, meibomianitis is characterized by other symptoms that include watery eyes, redness, swelling, grittiness, itchiness, burning sensation, skin flaking around the eyelid, dry eyes, blurred vision, excessive blinking, and abnormal growth or loss of eyelashes.
You may experience some or all of the above symptoms at the same time. It is important to visit your ophthalmologist when you exhibit the above symptoms. The doctor will be able to diagnose and treat this condition.
Treatment of swollen eyelid glands includes regular cleaning of the eyelids, warm compress, prescribed antibiotics or steroids, and using artificial tears. If you are wearing contact lenses, you may be required to stop using them during the treatment period.
Inflamed Eyelid Contacts
Eye contact lenses can cause eyelid inflammations when you don’t follow manufacturer’s instruction. They may cause irritations that are characterized by grittiness, blurred vision and dry eyes. Inflammation of eyelid contacts results from the following causes:
- Improper care of the lenses
You are supposed to handle eye contact lenses with great care as instructed by the manufacturer. Improper handling of your lenses that include failing to wash hands before putting them in, failing to clean them regularly, and allowing them to dry can cause irritations and inflammations.
Other practices that can cause inflammation of eyelid contacts include sharing them with another person and allowing them to come into contact with eyelid makeups and other skin care products. This can transfer and harbor bacteria that cause infections.
- Prolonged use of contact lenses
Prolonged use of contact lenses is what causes blepharitis. There are various makes of contact lenses, some are designed to be worn for less than 12 hours whiles others for over 24 hours. Prolonged use of contact lenses against manufacturer’s instruction can also lead to irritations and inflammations.
Wearing expired lenses can also cause various problems that include bacterial infection. You are not supposed to use the contact lenses past the expiry date indicated by the manufacturer. It is recommended to replace your contact lenses as recommended to avoid this problem.
- Infections from the contact lenses
Bacterial eye infections are common among contact lenses wearers as compared to those who do not wear them. Bacterial infections normally result from poor care of the lenses and sharing with other people. You should seek immediate treatment when having eye infections as it can be sight-threatening.
Inflamed Eyelid Allergy
An eye allergy is also known as allergic conjunctivitis. It occurs when your immune system releases antibodies to fight things that aren’t really harmful. Eye allergic reaction can be triggered by the following allergens:
- Pollen grains from plants such as grass, weeds, and trees. These are referred to as outdoor allergens.
- Dust, pet dander, and mold. They are referred to as indoor allergens.
- Eyelid makeups, perfumes, and other skin care products.
- Contact lenses can also trigger eye allergic reaction
As soon as your eyes come in contact an allergen, it may start to develop various symptoms that include:
- Burning sensation
- Sensitivity to light
- Swollen eyelids
- Watery eyes
- Pain and
An eye allergy can be treated with same medication used for nasal allergies. Some of these medicines are found over-the-counter without a prescription. They include antihistamine pills and eye drops. They work by blocking histamine that causes the various symptoms.
Swollen Eyelid and Pain
The swollen and painful eyelid is always accompanied by other symptoms like sensitivity to light, irritations, watery eyes, redness around the eyelid, red eyes, eyelid dryness, blurred vision and eye discharge.
There are a number of things that can result in painful and swollen eyes. Some of them are an allergy, conjunctivitis, styes, eye injuries, prolonged wearing of contact lenses, blepharitis, periorbital cellulitis, orbital cellulitis, and ocular herpes, Grave’s disease and chalazion.
Treatment of swollen and painful eyes depends on the cause or underlying condition. Visit your ophthalmologist for diagnosis and treatment. He or she may prescribe or recommend the use of antibiotics, artificial eye drops and other over-the-counter medications to control the symptoms.
Inflamed Eyelid Home Remedies
When not treated eyelid inflammation can lead to serious complications that include blurred vision. Fortunately, there is various home remedy treatment that you can use to alleviate the symptoms, treat the problem and speed up the healing process. These remedies include:
- Apply a Warm Compress
Warm compress is the most effective remedy on how to get rid of a swollen eye fast. It helps to loosen scales and debris around the eyelash follicles, improves blood circulation on the affected eyelid and dilutes the oily fluids from the glands. This helps to reduce swelling, inflammation, and other symptoms caused by blepharitis as well as speeding up the healing process. The procedure below explains how to use:
- Dip a clean towel in warm water.
- Wring it out to get rid of excess water and place it over a closed eyelid.
- Allow the towel to stay on the eyelid until it cools.
- Repeat the procedure for 4 times by rewetting the towel as it cools.
- Apply this remedy 3 times a day until when the condition improves.
- Keep your Eyelid Clean
Maintaining good eyelid hygiene is an important treatment for inflammations. Clean oily secretions, scales and other debris collection that may form on the eyelids. Good hygiene also helps to provide relief for eyelid inflammations. Parasites like mites also survive well in dirty conditions, cleanliness can keep them at bay.
- Before cleaning swollen eyelid, ensure that your hands are clean. Wash thoroughly using anti-bacterial soap with warm water.
- Use a clean and damp washcloth to debris and scales collection around the affected eyelid.
- You can also use a cleansing solution to clean your eyelids.
- Exfoliate your Eyelids
Exfoliation helps to get rid of dead skin cells, excessive oil and other debris that may be clogging the hair follicles of the eyelashes. Scrubbing also helps to remove and prevent crusting on your eyelids that may be interfering with the healing process.
- Add 3 drops of baby shampoo into a cup of warm water to make a solution.
- Soak a cotton ball in that solution.
- Use the cotton to scrub gently at the base of your eyelid.
- Rinse off the residue using cool water and pat dry using a paper towel.
- Repeat this remedy daily until when your condition improves.
- Use Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an effective blepharitis treatment. It contains antibacterial properties that kill bacteria that causes inflammation of your eyelids. It also helps to alleviate inflammation and irritation caused by blepharitis.
According to the study published in the Journal of Korea, Medical Science indicates that tea tree oil can be used treat blepharitis caused parasites. It kills Demodex mites as well as healing the damage.
- Mix 3 drops of tea tree oil with 1 table of coconut oil.
- Soak a cotton ball in the solution.
- Use it to wipe across your eyelid while the eyes are closed.
- Keep the eyes closed for 5 minutes to allow it penetrate the eyelid.
- Repeat the methodology twice daily until it heals.
- Castor Oil
Many people including myself have used castor oil for blepharitis and found a great relief. It contains ricinoleic acid that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. This helps to alleviate itching, burning sensation, irritations, and other symptoms associated with the inflamed eyelid.
- Start by cleaning the affected eyelid with warm water.
- Soak a cotton ball in castor oil and apply it directly to the affected eyelid.
- Allow it to stay on the affected eyelid for an overnight.
- Rinse your eyes the following morning with warm water.
- Repeat once daily until you get relief.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has proven to be an effective remedy for eyelid inflammation. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and other ingredients that help to alleviate inflammation, itching, redness, burning sensation and pain among other symptoms caused by this condition. The procedure below shows how to use coconut oil for blepharitis.
- Place a cotton ball in coconut oil.
- Apply it directly to the affected eyelid.
- Repeat 3 times a day.
- Repeat the procedure daily until you get relief.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has a moisturizing effect that prevents the formation of crust and flakes on the affected eyelid. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to alleviate irritation, itching, swelling, and other symptoms associated with blepharitis.
- Pluck an Aloe Vera leaf and obtain gel from it.
- Apply the gel directly to the affected eyelid.
- Allow it to stay for 10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
- Repeat 3 time a day.
- Black Tea Bags
Black tea bag contains tannin that has anti-inflammatory properties. This helps to reduce puffiness and swelling of the eyelids. It also enhances blood circulation in the affected area as well as speeding up the healing process.
- Place black tea bag into a cup of hot water.
- Place the warm black tea bags over closed eyes.
- Allow it to stay for 5 minutes.
- Repeat 2 times daily.
Inflamed Eyelid Treatment
There is no specific treatment for this condition since it is caused by different agents. The inflammation may also recur even after using some of the treatment. However, it is important to seek treatment in order to minimize the symptoms. The main purpose of treatment is to control or manage this condition and not to treat it.
The main treatment for blepharitis is using a warm compress, maintaining a good hygiene and massaging among other remedies that we discussed above. However, you can visit an ophthalmologist for diagnosis and treatment. The doctor may recommend either of the treatment below:
- Artificial Tear Drops Treatment
Blepharitis that is caused by dry eyes syndrome can be controlled by the use of artificial tear drops. Meibomian glands produce oily fluids that lubricate the inner part of the eyelid and the front part of the eye. Dysfunction of these glands means that the eye will not be well lubricated. Therefore, you may require artificial tears as you look for a long-term solution for your problem.
You can obtain artificial tears from pharmacies or through prescription. It can be in a form of eye drops or gel. It is applied to the affected eye 2 to 3 times a day. There are different types of artificial tear drops, if it causes irritation then you can change to a different type.
- Antibiotic Treatment
You can treat swollen eyelid that results from bacterial infections using antibiotics. They are in different forms that include ointments, drops, and tablet. The ointments are placed at the age of the eyelid after cleaning. Blepharitis can also be treated using antibiotic tablets for a course of three months.
More Sources and References:
- Swollen Eyelids: http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/swollen-eyelids.htm
- Blepharitis: http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/blepharitis.htm
- Swollen eyelid: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318219.php
- Eyelid Inflammation: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/eyelid_inflammation_blepharitis/article_em.htm
- Eyelid Inflammation: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eyelid-inflammation-blepharitis#1
- How to treat a swollen eyelid: https://www.livestrong.com/article/22653-treat-swollen-eyelid/
- Blepharitis: https://patient.info/health/blepharitis-leaflet
- What are eyelash mites? https://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/eyes-contacts-lasik/what-are-eyelash-mites/
- Home Remedies for blepharitis: https://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-blepharitis-eyelid-inflammation.html/3
- Meibomianitis: https://www.healthline.com/health/meibomianitis#outlook7