“If you’re a cartoon character, sure, you’ll fight, because the punches are juicy-sounding and they don’t leave marks. But in real life, if somebody punches you in the eye, it doesn’t make any noise and your eye is swollen. It’s a nightmare to get punched in the eye!”

Louis C. K.

Cartoon character or not, we have all had mornings when we have woken up to swollen eyes in the morning. Yes, you can get an eye swelling without getting a punch in your face. And no, not all eye swellings mean an infection.


Swollen eyelids can occur due to a number of causes ranging from injuries, eye allergies, eye infections like pink eye, stye, herpes or infection of the eyelid or tissue surrounding the eye. Eyelid swelling may be accompanied by irritation, watering, redness or pain in the eyes.


Here are a few tips to help you deal with eye swellings:

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. This will only increase the swelling in eyes.
  • A cool compress or splashes of cold water on closed eye lids can help reduce the eye swelling.
  • Remove your contact lenses until the swelling in eyes settle down.

If you experience pain or an increase in the symptoms, do not hesitate to see your eye doctor.


So how can you prevent your eyes from swelling?

  • If you find yourself with swollen eyelids due to eye allergies on a regular basis, you can get yourself tested for allergies. Knowing what you are allergic to, will help you avoid or reduce your exposure to the specific factor that triggers the allergies.
  • A common cause of eye allergies is cosmetics. You can opt for makeup and beauty products which are hypoallergenic and fragrance free. Another way to be sure is to do a small patch test. Before you start using a new product, use a little of the cosmetic on the inside of your wrist. This will help to rule out the possibility of developing any allergic reaction.
  • When you are advised to use eye drops, ask your doctor for a preservative free version. Preservatives are usually added to eye drops to prevent the growth of germs in the bottle. While this enhances the safety for most, there may be a few unlucky ones who develop an allergy to the preservative itself.
  • Contact lens cases often become a safe haven for bacteria to grow and multiply. Washing one’s hands before handling contact lenses, replacing the contact lenses on time and keeping the contact lens case clean will help prevent eye infections.


Swollen eyes can be treated with anti allergy, anti inflammatory, anti biotic or anti viral eye drops, ointments and medicines depending on the cause. So if you are sure you’re your eyes are not swollen from too much sodium in your food (salt) or crying or sleeping, the cause of your puffy eyes could be something that requires you to see an eye doctor.