Eyelid Redness Causes, Symptoms, Inflamed, Dry Itchy Swollen Red Eyelids, Treatments and Remedies

Eyelid problems like redness and swelling can be disturbing. Skin conditions, allergic reactions and certain infections can cause eyelid redness. Symptoms of red eyelids can get worse if you have an additional infection such as a common cold.

Red eyelids cause –why are my eyelids red?

What causes red eyelids? Read on to learn more about the causes of red eyelids.

Eyelid eczema dermatitis

Eyelid eczema is a chronic skin condition often known for disturbing symptoms like itchy, redness and scaly-looking skin.

Common causes of eyelid eczema

Eczema may be due to an underlying condition of the skin, allergy-related or eye conditions. These include:

  • Skin conditions like a rash
  • Irritants and allergens such as mold, particles in the air, pollen and animal dander
  • Reaction to the nickel in eyelash curlers and cosmetics

Eyelid eczema symptoms

  • Red eyelids
  • Dry eyelids
  • Scaly eyelids
  • Burning eyelids
  • Itchy eyelids

Chronic symptoms can complicate your daily routine hence leading to:

  • Sleeping problems (about which you can read on MidNite)
  • Interference of work and carrying out duties effectively

How to deal with eyelid eczema

The most effective means of dealing with cases of eyelid eczema is to target eradicating or reducing the triggers and ultimately reducing exposure to the causative factors.

  • Use of protective bedding like the bedcovers against the mattress
  • Hypoallergenic bedding
  • Use of hypoallergenic cleaning products or agents
  • Avoid application of eye cosmetics such as eyeliner
  • Makeup removal
  • Stop using old products

In most cases, eyelid eczema treatments are offered by eye health specialists.

Orbital or preseptal cellulitis

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Orbital cellulitis is majorly caused by a bacterial infection. However, chances of getting orbital cellulitis are high if you have an injury, prone to eczema, suppressed immunity or secondary infections.

Preseptal cellulitis

It majorly affects the eyelid and skin around the eyes which makes the opening of the eyes painful. It is symptomized by:

  • Eyelid redness
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Tenderness in eyelids and skin around eyes

Orbital cellulitis

It is more common in adults and causes more severe symptoms that can spread to the back of the affected eye(s).

Patients with orbital cellulitis (in addition to the preseptal cellulitis symptoms) experience a double vision. It also causes protrusion.

Treatment for both categories of eye infection aims at stopping the bacteria from spreading. Cellulitis is treated primarily with antibiotic medicines. Other options include:

  • Warm compress
  • Surgery
  • Drainage of the sinuses

To stop the spread of the bacteria patients are advised to follow self-care for eye protection against injuries and insects. These measures include hygiene, eyewear and vaccinations. This is critical due to the fact that cellulitis can cause infectious complications which may involve the blood, nerve damage and conditions like meningitis.

Sty or hordeolum

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Another cause of eyelid redness is sties. When you have a sty in eyelids there is an infection of the hair follicles (. A pimple-like usually painful swelling forms in the eyelids.

The infection is caused by bacterium staphylococcus in many cases but other bacteria can cause this eye problem.

If you use lenses incorrectly or touch your eyes with dirty hands you are likely to get sties. Other risks include seborrhea, unhygienic way of practicing eye beauty, hormone changes, blepharitis (esp. chronic blepharitis).

Symptoms or signs of sties

The common sign that helps doctors know you have sties is the presence of the pimple-like bump on the eyelids. This makes the eyelids have a swelling at the base which may point inwards or outwards. Otherwise, the redness of eyelids is expected.

Other symptoms include pain, tenderness and presence of pus from white-headed bumps after they burst or rupture.

Diagnosis and treatment

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For a more effective treatment, a thorough eye diagnosis is required. Diagnosing an eye stye is normally involving.

This is what happens during diagnosis.

  • Your physician will normally have a visual examination of your eyes for certain symptoms
  • Making small incisions in the style to draw out some pus for lab testing
  • Carrying out eyesight such as sharpness and sensitivity of eyes to light
  • Taking pressure in the eyeball
  • Reviewing past eye treatments like ulcers, blepharitis, etc.

Treatment for eye sties would depend on the bacteria that causes the infection. Other treatment methods include:

  • Keeping your eyes in good hygiene including the eyelids
  • Cold compress to help draw out pus that has collected
  • Topical eyedrops – doctors prefer prescription medicines
  • Surgery in case it is required especially if you have other eye conditions

Eyelid inflammation

Inflammation could be indicated by certain symptoms such as redness, swelling, pain or such suffering depending on causes. Eyelid inflammation can be caused by a reaction, condition or infections. The following are some of the cases which involve eyelid getting inflamed.


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According to the American Optometric Association, blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids where they become red, irritated and itchy with dandruff-like scales the eyelashes.

Blepharitis can be caused by bacterial infections, conditions such as scalp dandruff or rosacea hence staphylococcal blepharitis, Seborrheic blepharitis or Meibomian blepharitis.

Common symptoms of blepharitis include the following.

  • Burning sensation in eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Swollen and reddened eyelids
  • Eyes drying out
  • Crusting over the eyelids
  • Minor irritations in the eyes
  • Grittiness in eyes

In many cases for proper treatment for blepharitis, a diagnosis is necessary in order to determine what causes or leads to the eyelid inflammation.

Depending on the cause, options for blepharitis include prescription antibiotic medicines, cleaning the blocked eyelids, shampooing. In some cases, you need to stop usage or wearing lenses until it has cleared.


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Chalazion is a condition affecting the eyelids. In basic terms, a chalazion is said to occur when the oil-producing glands in the eyelids become inflamed. This leads to the blockage of the ducts that lead to the meibomian glands.

These are some of the reasons that would cause blockage.

  • Skin conditions like rosacea
  • A chronic blepharitis
  • A dysfunction of the meibomian gland

Chalazion is described by swelling of either the upper or lower eyelids. This swelling is slow-growing and may cause complications during treatments in case of an infection of the eyes.

Like sties, a chalazion is symptomatic of bump on the eyelids. Other signs/symptoms include:

  • Reddening eyelid especially on the edges
  • A swollen eyelid(s)
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye irritation
  • itching
  • Pain in eyelids
  • Eyelid cyst

Treatment for chalazion

As we mentioned, treatment can be complicated by an infection. However, keeping the eyes clean and applying a warm compress can make you feel better or avoid infections to occur often.

Corticosteroid injections will reduce inflammation. Sometimes you may require surgery to remove cysts.

More causes

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Other causes of red eyelids/redness of the eyelids include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Burns including sunburn
  • Thyroid disease
  • Ocular rosacea
  • Eye trauma including cataract extraction

Red eyelids treatment

Treatment for red eyelids would be specific to the causes as we have discussed. However, if redness does not go away after treatment, it could be possible that these conditions, infections or eye diseases are misdiagnosed.

Keep in mind that, if you continue touching your eyes or rubbing them or apply your facial makeup redness in eyelids or in eyes including the rest of symptoms may become persistent.

Puffy or swollen red eyelid

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If this is due to an infection ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning your eyes.

  • Use warm water to clean gently
  • Stop touching your eyes particularly if they are itchy
  • If you have been crying stop rubbing the eyelids

Skin conditions, allergic reactions and diseases (such as Grave’s disease of the thyroid) can also cause puffiness where symptoms are likely to worsen.

Self-care ideas for itchy red eyelids

If you have red eyelids that itch and have mild symptoms that do not cause problems with eyesight, observing the following can be helpful.

  • Avoid scratching your eyes with fingers
  • Stop applying any eye makeup
  • Wash your eyes with chamomile water
  • Try compressing with cucumbers, cold potato slices or chamomile to reduce redness

DOs and DON’Ts for dry red eyelids

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If redness around the eyes is persistent or do not improve with these remedies, please see your physician or an optometrist urgently.

  • Apply thin layer of pure petroleum-based jelly
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Do not wash your eyes
  • Keep off irritants like smoke
  • Avoid makeup such as eyeliners, eyelash extensions, curlers or mascara

When you must seek medical attention

Always see an optometrist or eye doctor for symptoms that persist on or keep on worsening every other day such as burning eyelid skin, severe swelling, facial redness, and high fever. Complications involving loss of hearing or vision should be reported with urgency.