A cool compress or tea bag over your eye may help relieve swelling in your eyelid, while a saline rinse can help clear away crust and discharge. If the swelling doesn’t improve within a few days, a doctor can recommend treatment based on the cause.

A swollen or puffy eyelid often goes away within 1 day.

You can reduce the swelling with compresses, but how you treat a swollen eyelid can also depend on its cause. Causes can range from fluid retention to infection.

If your eyelids are painful or tender to the touch, the cause is likely an infection. Determining the cause of your swollen eyelid is important, as treatment options depend on what caused it.

Pink eye is the result of a bacterial, viral, or allergic infection that causes inflammation on the surface of your eye. It can start from one eye and spread to both. Pus or a sticky coating will often appear on the eyelashes and corners of the eyes.


You can clean the sticky and crusty eyelids with warm water and cotton. The eye may get better on its own without treatment, although it may take up to 2 to 3 weeks. During this time, avoid touching your eyes and keep your pillowcases clean.

You’ll also want to stop using eye cosmetics and contact lenses.

If your upper or lower eyelid is swollen, it could be from a chalazion or a stye. A chalazion typically causes a bump in the eyelid with localized swelling around the edge of the eyelid. A chalazion that has not ruptured is generally painless.

A stye can occur on the outside or inside of the eyelid and often results from an infection. A stye is typically painful.

Both may become red or inflamed.

It can take a few weeks to clear, and some develop into a hard bump.


You can use a warm compress to bring relief and promote healing. The warmth can help with oil secretion and blockage. You can do this three to five times a day.

On occasion, a doctor may recommend prescription eye drops or ointments. If the chalazion continues to linger, the doctor can perform an in-office procedure to drain it.

Avoid using makeup while you have a chalazion or stye. Consider also replacing your makeup brushes or other tools to prevent reinfection.

An infection of the skin is called cellulitis. In periorbital or orbital cellulitis, the skin around your eye will become red and may hurt. You may need antibiotics to relieve this swelling.

Cellulitis symptoms that indicate the need for emergency treatment include:

Your eyelid may become swollen for various reasons. These may include:

Some medical conditions can also cause symptoms of a swollen eye or eyelid. They include Graves’ disease and — in rare cases — eye cancer.


You can treat swollen eyelids at home, especially if they result from noninfectious causes, such as fluid retention or allergies. If those are possible causes, the swelling tends to occur in both eyes.

Tips for at-home relief

  • Use a saline solution to rinse your eyes if there’s discharge.
  • Use a cool compress over your eyes. This can be a cold washcloth.
  • Remove contact lenses, if you have them.
  • Place chilled black tea bags over your eyes. Caffeine helps reduce swelling.
  • Elevate your head at night to decrease fluid retention.
  • Try antihistamines if you have allergies.
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If your puffy eyes are due to allergies, you can use antihistamine eye drops. For severe allergic reactions, you may need prescription eye drops. Oral antihistamines can also help.

In some cases, you may want to make an appointment with an eye care professional or visit an immediate care center if the swelling is severe, is accompanied by concerning symptoms, or lasts longer than 24 to 48 hours.

Depending on the cause, swollen eyelids take a few days to several weeks to clear up.

Be sure to stay indoors when you can if allergies are the cause. If your swollen eyelids are due to crying, try washing your face before bed.

Some people prefer to seek medical treatment immediately to get an accurate diagnosis and, if necessary, antibiotics or another treatment. If your bump or swelling is severe, gets worse, or does not start to improve after 1 week, you may need medical attention.

Emergency symptoms

See a doctor immediately if your swollen eyelids are accompanied by these symptoms:

Certain conditions that cause a swollen eyelid require medical attention.

Cancers of the eye and orbital socket are rare, but they may cause the eye to push forward, making it seem like the eyelid is swollen when it’s actually tissue congestion from the cancer.

If you have diabetes and experience eye issues, you may need medical care or a medical professional to make changes to your treatment plan.

Other symptoms to watch out for

Only a doctor can diagnose what’s causing your eyelid to swell. However, it may help if you can note:

  • any difference between the symptoms that came before and the symptoms that came after the swelling
  • when pain is present and when pain is absent
  • whether you have an identifiable lump versus general swelling
  • vision changes, especially double vision

What’s the fastest way to heal a swollen eye?

You may be able to relieve a swollen eye with home remedies, including applying a cold compress to reduce swelling. Depending on the cause, though, a swollen eye may take days or weeks to heal.

If your swollen eyelid does not gradually improve, or if your symptoms worsen, consider contacting an eye care professional.

If you have an infection, you may need medical attention to help your symptoms go away.

Why is my upper eyelid swollen?

Your upper eyelid may swell due to pink eye (conjunctivitis), orbital cellulitis, a chalazion or stye, allergies, or an injury, among other causes. Other symptoms you experience, such as itching, pain, redness, or vision changes, may help identify the cause.

Is heat or cold better for a swollen eyelid?

Cold is likely to be more effective at reducing swelling. You may reduce eyelid swelling by applying a cold compress, such as a clean, wet washcloth, over your eyes. You can also try moist, chilled tea bags containing caffeine to help with inflammation.

Some home remedies may soothe a swollen eyelid. This can include a cold compress or saline rinse.

If the swelling doesn’t improve or worsens after a few days, a doctor can recommend treatment based on the cause.