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Why Is My Eye Swollen And Red? Know the Potential Causes

Gina Walters



A red and swollen eye is a common condition and could be the result of several medical conditions.

Sometimes allergies or infections might be the cause of the swelling and redness of the eyes.

In most cases, the condition gets better in a few days.

However, if they persist, swollen and red eyes need to be addressed immediately to prevent vision loss.

In this article, we will examine what makes your eye swollen and red. 

Also, we will provide ways to prevent red and swollen eyes.

Eye swollen and red: Potential causes

Swollen and red eyes may result from inflammation, allergies, or certain medical conditions.

Some of the potential causes include a Stye, Chalazion, eye allergies, Pink Eye, Blepharitis, Graves’ disease, and Orbital Cellulitis.


A Stye or Hordeolum is the inflammation of a gland in the eyelid. 

It occurs when bacteria enter the glands in the eyelid that produce oil. 

A stye is a frequent and painful condition caused by a tiny infection at the base of an eyelash.

It causes the eyelid lash and surrounding border to swell and turn red. 

But inflammation and infection frequently recur on the lid, swelling the whole eyelid.

If you are suffering from a Stye, consider applying a warm, wet compress to it for five to ten minutes several times a day to relieve eye strain.

Don’t get confused between the symptoms of Pink Eye and Stye. Read our article: Pink Eye vs Stye: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment to know the differences between the two.


A Chalazion is characterized as a lump in the eyelid. 

Despite having a stye-like appearance, it is not an infection.

It occurs when an eyelid’s oil gland becomes blocked, causing oil to build up behind the blockage.

The gland hardens into a mass that might cause swelling and redness of the eyelid.

Eye allergies

Eye allergySource: Andrei310_from_GettyImages
A closeup of a eye suffering from Eye allergy

The most frequent cause of swollen and red eyes is an allergic response to dust, pollen, and other common allergens.

An eye allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to a material like dust or pollen. 

Histamines and other chemicals are released by eye cells in an attempt to shield the eyes. 

This, in turn, leads to the swelling of the blood vessels inside the eyes, leading to itchy, red, and watery eyes.

Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis

Pink Eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the smooth, glossy, transparent membrane covering the eye’s white (sclera) and the bottom
of the lids.

Usually, allergies, bacteria, or viruses cause Pink Eye.

Pink Eye’s primary symptoms are redness in the eyes, a gritty sensation, and slight pain.

When Conjunctivitis affects the underside of the eyelids, it can lead to swelling and somewhat turn the eyes red. 

Does Pink Eye really lead to swelling in the eyes? Read our article: Does Pink Eye Cause Swelling: Unraveling the Connection to know more,

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  • Blepharitis

    BlepharitisSource: Sorapop_Udomsri
    A Closeup of a eye suffering from Blepharitis

    Blepharitis is an infection of the border of the eyelids. 

    It causes a scratchy, painful feeling in the eyes and eyelids. 

    Eyes are frequently bloated, pink-red, and swollen, especially around the corners of the eyelids. 

    It may be brought on by an allergic reaction or viral or bacterial eye infection

    While some people only have it once, it is typically an ongoing condition in which symptoms may go away and then show up again.

    Graves’ disease

    Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition that impacts the thyroid gland. 

    However, it may also affect the eyes, skin, and other organs.

    The swelling of the eyes is common in people with Graves’ disease

    Graves’ disease can occasionally result in double vision or restrict eye movement. 

    This, in turn, may cause swelling in one or both eyes.

    Smoking makes you more susceptible to Graves’ disease. Avoid smoking to overcome the complications.

    Orbital Cellulitis

    Orbital Cellulitis is a severe infection that develops in the orbit of the eye, which is the bony socket where the eye is located. 

    Rhinosinusitis, or bacterial infection of the nose and sinus passageways, is the most common cause of Orbital Cellulitis

    However, immune system issues, surgery, and other factors might also result in Orbital Cellulitis.

    People with Orbital Cellulitis frequently experience red eyes, swelling, and pain. 

    Preventing and treating red and swollen eye

    Many factors can result in a swollen and red eye. 

    It can be a symptom of an infection or another issue that needs to be checked out by a doctor. 

    The underlying cause of the condition will decide the course of treatment.

    To assist treatment and reduce the symptoms of an eye infection, you might need to use antibiotic eye drops, ointment, or another topical treatment. 

    If the topical treatment fails, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or steroids. 

    However, the following measures need to be taken to prevent swollen and red eyes:

    • To ease discomfort, use warm compresses for five to ten minutes three to four times a day
    • Avoid using eye creams and cosmetics until the infection goes away
    • Don’t wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection
    • Refrain from sharing personal belongings, such as towels, with someone who has an infection
    • Resist touching or rubbing your eyes with unclean hands
    • Use eyewear to shield yourself from pollen or other irritants that might intensify or worsen symptoms
    • Avoiding coming in contact with individuals who are infected
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    A swollen and red eye is a normal condition that may not need medical assistance.

    However, in some instances, swollen and red eyes could be the symptom of an underlying serious health condition.

    Why is my eye swollen and red? This is a common question asked by many individuals.

    Stye, Chalazion, eye allergies, Pink Eye, Blepharitis, Graves’ disease, and Orbital Cellulitis, are the possible causes behind a red and swollen eye.

    Treating and preventing the condition is necessary to avoid vision loss and other complications.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why is my eye swelling up and turning red?

    A red and swollen eye could result from several health issues, such as Cellulitis, Blepharitis, Conjunctivitis, eye allergies, and Stye.

    How do you treat red, swollen eyes?

    In most cases, home remedies, such as warm compress, artificial tears, and avoiding allergens, can help relieve swollen eyes. 
    However, when a swollen eye results from a medical issue, your doctor may suggest antibiotics and other medications to treat the condition.

    How may allergies cause red, swollen eyes?

    Pollen, dust mites, cat dander, and some foods can all cause an allergic reaction in the eyes, resulting in swelling, redness, itching, and watery eyes.

    Can infections cause red, swollen eyes?

    Yes, redness, swelling, itching, and discharge from the eyes can be caused by infections, such as Viral or Bacterial Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis. 

    What role does eye strain play in red, swollen eyes?

    Extended periods of time spent staring at digital devices, reading in dim light, or concentrating on one thing without taking breaks can cause eye strain.
    This further can result in redness, irritation, and occasionally moderate swelling. 

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