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Eyelid pain may be caused by various reasons. It’s annoying and can signal a health-related illness. Possible causes of swollen eyes are listed below.

Things can cause sore eyelids, including: infections, allergies, trauma external or environmental factors. In some cases, sore eyelids indicate a more serious health problem.

Left untreated, minor pain in your upper or lower eyelids can quickly grow to be the center of your focus.

While eyelid soreness may be minor and not an immediate cause for concern, you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam if the soreness persists to pinpoint the cause of your eyelid pain and get on the right track for relief.

Symptoms of eyelid pain

The most common symptoms of sore eyelids include: pain, swelling, redness, irritation, inflammation, discharge, itchiness.

Symptoms that indicate a more serious problem include:

  • severe pain,
  • blurry vision,
  • vision loss,
  • seeing halos,
  • nausea, and vomiting,
  • fever,
  • blood or pus discharge from the eyes,
  • not being able to move the eye.

Causes of sore eyelids

Can include:

  • styes and chalazia,
  • injuries,
  • infections,
  • problems with contact lenses.

Sore eyelids usually get better without medical treatment. However, a person should consult a doctor or an eye doctor if their vision becomes affected or symptoms are severe or do not improve.

Eyelid pain may be caused by inflammation


Blepharitis is eyelid inflammation on the eyelid and eye lashes.

Blepharitis contributes and sometimes worsens dry eyes. Medicated treatments include eyelid retraction sand and eyelash scrub. In severe cases the ophthalmologist will sometimes prescribe an antibiotic.

Eyelid pain caused by allergens


Allergies can irritate your eyes and cause eyelid soreness.

Many Americans experience seasonal or environmental allergies that cause eyelid irritations. When a user experiences allergy symptoms they often have an effect on their eyes and irritate their eyelids.

To prevent irritation and pain, eliminate allergens. If you are unable to completely avoid them, you can also take antihistamines and decongestant medications to reduce allergies.

Symptoms of peri-orbital cellulitis

A doctor has to determine whether it’s orbital cellulitis or preceptal cellulitis and determine the appropriate treatment.

Periorbital cellulitis is an infection surrounding the eye (“pre-ceptal cellulitis”) or behind the eye (“orbital cellulitis”) and often involves the eyelid or muscles surrounding the eye. Often, symptoms escalate quickly and this condition requires immediate medical attention.

Peri-Orbital cellulitis may require a hospital stay and oral or intravenous antibiotics to treat it. In some instances, surgery is required to reduce the swelling around the eyelid. Symptoms of peri-orbital cellulitis:

  • Painful swelling of upper and/or lower eyelid
  • Possible swelling around the eye, including the eyebrow and cheek
  • Limited vision

Eyelid soreness may be caused by infections

Infections from viruses can be very dangerous for the eyes.

Periosbital cellulitis is a bacterial infection around the eye (“preceptal cellulitis”) and behind the eye (“orbital cellulitis”). Many times symptoms escalate quickly and it is imperative to immediately seek medical treatment. Orbital cellular tumors damage the optic nerve and cause weakened eyes, hearing and vascular damage. Occasionally, cellulitis requires hospitalization and oral or intravenous antibiotic treatment. Sometimes it can be surgically needed if the eyelid swelling increases.

However, in some cases, an infection can develop around a stye or chalazion, requiring antibiotic treatment.

To diagnose eye infections, it is always best to contact an eye doctor. Usually, a warm compress applied several times a day at home can help the condition improve; if it doesn’t, your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotics or minor surgical intervention

Bacterial infections

Bacteria may cause sore eyes.

Haemophilus influenza and syphilobacterium pneumoniae have become common infections. The symptoms include pains in the eyes. The earliest treatment for bacterial infections are antibiotics and oral medication.

Viral Infections

Viral infection can be caused by adenoviruses, herpes , and others. You may have: eyelid soreness watery discharge pain redness inflammation Treatments may include steroid eye drops, artificial tears (Visine Tears, TheraTears, Refresh), antihistamines, decongestants, and eye drops your doctor prescribes.

Infection and Blockage

Inflammation can cause redness or irritation. It is possible when a person fights an infection of bacteria and a virus or if they get wounded.

In fact, blepharitis causes the growth of certain bacteria in your skin and is more frequent among the elderly and the older age groups. During the treatment a bloated eye lid oil gland can cause redness, swelling and burns.

Stylus is a bacterial infection which appears after a blocking of the oil gland. This bump in the eyelid is caused internally or externally.

Conjunctivitis can also occur due to infection by bacteria and viruses.

Conjunctivitis: causes and symptoms

Also called pink eye, conjunctivitis symptoms include red, irritated eyes; swollen, sore eyelids; and discharge.

There are several types of pink eye , including viral, bacterial and allergic. Though the symptoms are typically the same for all three, only viral and bacterial pink eye are contagious while symptoms are present.

causes and symptoms

Another inflammatory condition that could lead to eyelid soreness is conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation of the lining of the eyeball and/or eyelids, which often results in eyelid swelling and pain.

Caused by allergies, eye irritants, or systemic inflammation.

Common symptoms include a yellow or green discharge from the eye that causes the eyelids to stick together during sleep.

A conjunctiva infection can be caused in eyelids. There may be inflammation on the skin around the eyelids which can cause eyelid pain or swelling as well.

Concurrent inflammations include eye irritations and infections caused by bacteria or viral infections.

Common signs of eye irritation include a yellow or red discharge that makes the eyelids slid tightly when sleeping. It can be painful and occasionally painful to touch eyelids. When the disease is caused by viruses, the disease can be extremely infectious.

Your eye doctor may give you oral antibiotics, antibiotic eye drops, or allergy medicine to treat conjunctivitis. If the symptoms don’t improve within 24 hours of beginning antibiotic treatment, the CDC recommends contacting your eye doctor.

Contact lenses

Wear of defective contacts can cause eye irritations and blemishes. It’s important that contact lens replacement is carried out weekly or monthly.

What are the good ways to remove contacts when it hurts your eyelids?

Wash it thoroughly and inspect it for any holes. You should never swim with a contact lens cleaner or use the tap water or saliva.

Dry eyes

Dry eyes indicate less than average tears.

It may cause allergies to some substances and environmental factors and may cause medical problems.

Some people experience symptoms that include artificial tears or eye drops that eliminate the trigger, antibiotics or puncta.

Home treatments including hot washing cloth on your cheeks. This is just one more home cure.


Both blepharitis and MGD are from the margin of your eyelid. I recommend using a new clean swab for each eyelid, just to be sure you don’t spread any bacteria from one eyelid to the next.

Avoid potential irritants

When your eyelids are irritated, you may find it helpful to wear glasses instead of contact lenses and forgo wearing any eye makeup until your symptoms have cleared up.

While it’s rare for contact solutions and eye makeup to be the source of eyelid inflammation, they can further aggravate any existing inflammation or contribute to already clogged oil glands.


Eyelid soreness caused by a stye.

A stye is a focal inflammation causing a lump in the eyelid, often near the eyelashes.

It can be caused by a blocked oil duct that gets infected by bacteria, becomes inflamed, and is painful. This bump at the edge of your eyelid usually lasts a few days, then bursts and heals on its.

How do you treat eyelid pain?

To sooth your sore eyelids.

The procedure varies depending on the source of the injury. The doctors will advise you on the most appropriate course.

Conjunctivitis may be treated at home by:

  • avoiding the allergen or substance that triggered the condition
  • avoiding touching or rubbing the eyes
  • using a cool compress to alleviate irritation
  • removing contact lenses until symptoms disappear completely
  • keeping eyes and hands clean
  • taking lubricating eye drops can help to reduce symptoms

When should a person see a doctor for a eyelid pain?

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests seeing a doctor immediately if you have:

Sore eyelid: Causes, when to see a doctor, and treatment

When should a person see a doctor for a swollen eyelid?

The doctor should see the patient in case of fevers. Symptoms of swollen skin or eyes can cause discomfort or irritation.

How do you treat a swollen eyelid?

  • Moderate to severe pain in your eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Intense redness in the affected eye
  • A weakened immune system
  • under treatment for cancer or HIV
  • A pre-existing eye condition
  • Symptoms that are getting worse

The doctor should see the patient in case of fevers and get medical attention. Symptoms of swollen skin or eyes can cause discomfort or irritation.

How to soothe eyelid irritation

Whether your eyelids are red and puffy or itchy and crusty, here are five tips for relieving eyelid irritation:

Use a warm compress “To help relieve eyelid irritation, try applying a warm compress to your eyelids — which can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation, It can also help unclog any clogged oil glands that may be causing your symptoms, as heat melts oil.

Some cases of eyelid inflammation require treatment with prescription medications, including:

  • antibiotic eye drops,
  • topical and oral antibiotics
  • Topical steroid eye drops
  • Immuno-modulatory drugs

An eye specialist will identify what the specific trigger for your eyelid irritation is and prescribe targeted treatment for it.


What can cause a sore eyelid? Medically reviewed by Ann Marie Griff, O.D. — By Rachel Nall, MSN, CRNA on May 22, 2019

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