7 Reasons You May Have a Sore Eyelid (and What to Do About It)

Young Asian woman in a white blouse sitting on her living room couch and rubbing her eye due to a sore lower eyelid.

A sore eyelid can make your entire day difficult. The pain can make it hard to focus on what you need toclose-up of a caucasian man with a closed right eye due to upper eyelid pain do while making every moment uncomfortable. To get the relief you need, it helps to know what’s causing the problem, the steps you can take to minimize it, and when to see your Knoxville eye doctor.

Seven reasons you may have a sore eyelid include:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Contact lenses
  • Pink eye
  • Cellulitis
  • Blepharitis
  • Lack of sleep
  • Styes

Reasons You May Have a Sore Eyelid

There are a number of reasons you may have a sore eyelid. While this list is far from exhaustive, it has some of the common culprits for eyelid pain. Talk to your eye doctor if you suspect that you’re dealing with one of these conditions. They will be able to provide a diagnosis and treatment so you can see comfortably again.

1. Bacterial Infection

A bacterial eye infection can be caused by different types of bacteria. Some of the most common types include:

  • Haemophilus influenza
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae

They can result in eyelids that are sore as well as red and tender. Swollen eyelids may also occur. 

Click here to learn about the 5 types of eye infections that you should be aware of!

2. Contact Lenses

Contacts help you see clearly without the need for glasses, but they also come with some risks. In some cases, wearing contact lenses can cause your eyelids to become sore and irritated. This is often caused by poor hygiene. For example, dirty lenses can cause infections among other issues. Lenses that are torn or damaged can hurt or irritate your eyelid.

Neglecting to properly care for your contact lenses can result in:

  • Pain
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Eyelid swelling

Make sure that you are cleaning your contact lenses regularly to avoid these problems. You can also switch to daily disposable contact lenses so that you never have to worry about them. Let this be a reminder to not sleep in your contact lenses!

To learn about the importance of not wearing contact lenses for too long, click here!

3. Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Inflammation of the conjunctiva (the outermost layer of your eye) is known as pink eye (conjunctivitis). This eye problem can occur for different reasons, such as:

  • An infection
  • Allergies
  • Makeup touching the eye

Redness is the primary symptom of pink eye. However, soreness, discharge, and increased tear production may also occur.

Click here to learn why pink eye is more common during cold and flu season!

4. Cellulitis

Cellulitis is an infection of the skin which includes the skin of your eyelids. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection but it can also be caused by a fungal infection. 

There are two types:

  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Preseptal cellulitis

Orbital cellulitis affects the eye socket, or orbit, of the eye. The infection may cause the eyelid or the eye itself to swell and prevent it from moving like it normally would. This form of cellulitis can be very dangerous and requires immediate and aggressive medical attention. Preseptal cellulitis is limited to the eyelid and is most common in younger children.

5. Blepharitis

Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. It occurs when the eye’s oil glands become clogged, leading to swelling and signs of irritation. Rather than being a single problem, eyelid inflammation from blepharitis can also be a symptom of a larger problem affecting your eye health. While irritating, it isn’t contagious nor will it cause any permanent damage to your vision.

6. Lack of Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can affect your body in many different ways, including your eye health. This is because, when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re not giving your eyes a chance to get much-needed rest and fluid circulation. Along with sore eyelids, you may also experience dry eyes as well as eye spasms that make you feel even more uncomfortable.

7. Styes

Styes are a common problem caused by a clogged gland of the eyelid at the base of the eyelashes. Their common symptoms include soreness, swelling, and redness around the edge of your eyelid. They can appear to be filled with pus, but the inflammation can be spread much deeper into the inside of the eyelid, causing it to become sore and swollen.

How to Treat Sore Eyelidsyoung caucasian women in a sweatshirt rubbing her eye due to having a sore eyelid

You can get sore eyelids for many different reasons. Fortunately, they can often heal on their own. You can help this process by:

  • Not touching or rubbing the affected eyelid
  • Washing your hands before and after touching it
  • Taking out your contacts if they seem to be the cause
  • Only using fresh, clean towels and washcloths
  • Getting rid of any cosmetics or contacts that may be contaminated

You can help speed up the healing process by applying a warm compress to the affected eyelid. Simply wet a clean washcloth with warm water and hold to the affected eye for 10 – 15 minutes a few times a day. Using a cool compress will also help in some instances.

When to See Your Eye Doctor

Contact your eye doctor in Knoxville, TN, if your condition doesn’t improve. You should also pay attention to see if your condition worsens. New symptoms may also indicate a more serious problem. 

Contact your eye doctor at Baptist Eye immediately if you experience:

  • Discharge from your eyes
  • Eyelashes falling out
  • Fever
  • Facial swelling
  • Scaling on your eyelids

Your eye doctor will be able to diagnose your condition and provide the necessary treatment. They may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or oral antibiotics to fight off a bacterial infection. Steroid eye drops may also be prescribed depending on the cause of your symptoms.

Do you need relief from a swollen eyelid in Knoxville, TN? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Sore eyelids can happen for a number of reasons including infection, irritation from contact lenses, and inflammation of the conjunctiva. Sometimes cellulitis can develop, affecting the socket of the eye or the eyelid can become inflamed. Sleep plays an important role in preventing sore eyes with styes being another common cause.

Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN. Give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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