What are the most common causes of itchy swollen eyelids?

There are several conditions that can cause itchy swollen eyelids, although fortunately most of them can be easily treated. One of the most common causes is a stye, which is an inflamed bump on the eyelid. Blepharitis is another possible cause, usually characterized by swelling, redness, itching, and sometimes crusting or ulceration. An eye allergy often also results in swollen eyelids and can be caused by anything from makeup to different types of medical ointments.

A stye can appear suddenly in one eye, appearing as a small red bump on the lower or upper eyelid, often right where the eyelashes are. It usually looks like a pimple and can make the entire lid look inflamed and itchy. The cause of this condition is usually an infected sebaceous gland that is attached to an eyelash follicle, with staphylococcus being the bacteria that leads to swollen eyelids. Although the stye usually heals in about a week without any treatment, recovery may be faster when a warm compress is placed on it for a few minutes several times a day, which will make it drain faster and feel less tender. Patients may be tempted to pop or pick at the stye, but this can make it worse and could even cause the infection to spread to the other eye, so it is not recommended.

Blepharitis is usually caused by bacteria, the herpes virus, or an allergy. It usually presents as a red, swollen eyelid that itches and burns, and is sometimes accompanied by scales, ulcers, or crusts. Treatment depends on the cause, so it's usually best to see an ophthalmologist to determine why itchy, swollen eyelids occurred. If the cause is a virus, antiviral medications can be given by mouth, while antibiotic ointment is usually offered when the cause is bacteria. Topical corticosteroids are usually necessary if the condition is caused by an eye allergy.

Some people find out they are allergic to certain substances only when their eyes become swollen, red and itchy. Many women find this occurs after using a new makeup product because they may be allergic to an ingredient, such as preservatives. Some antibiotic ointments used for medical treatment can also damage the eye if they get close, while contact lens solution sometimes causes the same problem, depending on the ingredients. In most cases, patients can treat their inflamed itchy eyelids by discontinuing use of the product and applying corticosteroids or taking antihistamines to relieve swelling.

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