Swelling of Eyes

Eyes | Ophthalmology | Swelling of Eyes (Symptom)


Swelling around the eyes is a common symptom of allergy, infection, inflammation, or even physical irritation. The medical term for swelling around the eyes is periorbital edema. Eye swelling results from excess fluid (edema) in the soft tissues surrounding the eyes. It may occur in conditions affecting the eye area itself or in association with more generalized conditions, such as colds or hay fever. Only in rare situations do the eyeballs themselves enlarge or swell.

A swollen eye can result from trauma, infections, or other injuries to the eye area. Virtually any cause of inflammation to the eye area may manifest as eyelid swelling, although allergic reactions are likely the most common cause. Rarely, systemic conditions (affecting the entire body) may result in fluid retention, including fluid retention in the tissues around the eyes.

Inflammation of the surface of the eye (conjunctivitis) and inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis) are common causes of swollen eyes. Other common causes include crying, lack of sleep, or excessive rubbing of the eyes. Wearing contact lenses can also result in eye swelling. Depending on the cause, swelling may occur in one or both eyes, and it may be accompanied by redness, pain, itching, excessive tear production, or other types of discharge from the affected eyes.