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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11267
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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right eyelid..redness..eyelid has extended (now about 1/2 inch)..eyes

Customer Question

Two days ago my wife developed pain and swelling in her lower right eyelid. This morning the redness under the eyelid has extended (now about 1/2 inch). Her eyes are clear.

Can we treat this with an over-the-counter ointment we might buy at a drug store?

Jim Samuel, Dallas
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 6 years ago.
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Rick :

It sounds like you wife might have a chalazian/stye

Rick :

are you still online?

Rick :

. Eyelid swelling is commonly due to a few different things: 1. Allergies, 2. Styes, 3. Skin infections. Allergic dermatitis tends to be red and flaky with a "boggy" or mushy type of swelling and often the person has a history of seasonal allergies. A stye can cause inflammation and swelling in the eyelid if it gets big and angry enough. A skin infection would be warm, red, swelling that feels more solid. A concurrent sinus problem and possibly fevers argues in favor of a skin infection. Cool compresses usually do a good job at helping swelling go down instead of warm.


Other causes of eyelid swelling include more uncommon things such as inflammation in the orbit (bones and space around the eye), thyroid disease (often times is undiagnosed at this point) or generalized retention of water.


If you have these signs of infection, then I would suggest going to see an ophthalmologist as soon as you are able as this can be serious. If not, then I would use cool packs, try an over-the-counter antihistamine such as claritin or zyrtec (much less sedating) and artificial tears and see how you do over the next few days. If it worsens, gets red, the vision worsens or discharge comes from the eye or skin, then a trip to the ophthalmologist is definitely warranted.


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Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 6 years ago.

Warm compresses and scrubbing your eyelashes with baby shampoo can also help. To to lid scrubs place baby shampoo on your fingers in the shower, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to get excess skin out of the way) and scrub back and forth along your lashes. This helps to unplug the glands (meibomium) in your lids that may be causing the swelling.