Eyelid inflammation can have multiple causes. Allergies and environmental conditions, bacteria, and medications can all be the culprit of eyelid swelling, redness, itchy eyes, or discharge. Improper hygiene of the eyes can also open the door to bacterial infection and lead to eyelid irritation. In some instances, an ingrown eyelash may be the cause of eyelid inflammation. Some skin and medical conditions may also result in swollen eyelids.
Airborne allergens can cause what is referred to as allergen conjunctivitis, resulting in inflammation of the eyelids. Pollen, dust particles, and other tiny airborne elements can enter the eye or be ingested, causing an allergic reaction and eye inflammation. In contrast with natural airborne substances, contact dermatitis resulting from chemical substances used on or near the eye might also cause eyelid inflammation. These might include makeup, facial cleaners, perfumes, hair products, and deodorant sprays. Indoor allergies, such as a reaction to dogs or cats, can also cause inflamed eyelids.
A variety of medications might be the cause of eyelid inflammation as well. Red, swollen, itchy or watery eyes may be a side effect of certain prescription or over-the-counter substances. Individuals suffering from eye inflammation should always inform their doctors of any type of medications, supplements, or alternative treatments they are currently taking, as some drug interactions can cause eyelid inflammation as well.
Eyelid inflammation may also result from an ingrown eyelash. While irritation generally only occurs in the area where the eyelash is specifically growing, severe inflammation may result if the ingrown eyelash continues to progress without treatment. Ingrown eyelashes typically result in blurred vision, discomfort, dry eyes, and inflammation.
Bacterial infections are a common culprit of eye inflammation that most often result from poor hygiene of the eye. Some might experience swollen eyelids and irritation due to using old makeup that has gathered bacteria. Eye inflammation might also result from not completely removing makeup or from practicing improper hygiene habits. Bacteria can also be the cause of swollen eyelids in instances where hormonal changes or high stress levels result in an excessive production of oil from the glands of the eyes. This oil is referred to as seborrhea.
A number of medical conditions also can be the cause of swollen eyelids. These conditions include blepharitis, corneal ulcers or abrasions, episcleritis, glaucoma, astigmatism, and tumors. Many other conditions of the eye can also result in redness, itchiness, and eye inflammation. If a direct cause of eye inflammation is not evident, an ophthalmologist should check for signs of these conditions.