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What causes a swollen under-eye?

Swelling under the eye can develop for a wide range of reasons, from mild conditions, such as allergies or blocked tear ducts, to more severe conditions, such as organ failure.

If a person with swelling under the eyes also has difficulty breathing or is in severe pain, they should seek immediate medical help.

In this article, we look at the symptoms of swelling under the eye, the potential causes, home remedies, and treatments.


Swelling under the eye often causes puffiness, which may lead to the eye partially closing over. Depending on the underlying cause, it may affect one or both eyes.

For some conditions, swelling may occur with other symptoms, such as eye discoloration, itching, bruising, tearing, or discharge.

Causes of swelling on one side

Swelling under one eye may be due to the following causes:

Excessive eye rubbing

People sometimes rub the eyes due to fatigue, itchiness, or a foreign object in the eye. According to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, excessive eye rubbing can lead to swelling. Avoiding touching the eyes will allow the area to return to normal.


Swelling under the eye may indicate an injury. A cut or bruise may cause swelling, discoloration, and pain. Similarly, insect bites, such as a mosquito bite that occur near the eye, may cause swelling.

Small injuries in the eye area may heal on their own if a person keeps the area clean and dry. If the swelling and pain get worse, or there are signs of infection, such as pus or discharge, a person may need medical treatment.

Blocked tear duct

A blocked tear duct prevents tears from draining from the eye and can also cause under-eye swelling. The American Acadamy of Ophthalmology (AAO), list other symptoms of a blocked tear duct, which include watery eyes and tearing.

Blocked tear ducts can develop due to an eye infection, an injury, or a tumor. If the blockage is the result of an injury, it may resolve on its own. An infection may require antibiotics.


A stye is an infection that occurs at the base of the eyelashes, causing a painful lump. The AAO indicate that when a person has a stye, they might feel like there is a foreign object in their eye. A person’s eye may also feel scratchy, sensitive to light, or watery.

Styes can clear up on their own. However, if a stye does not improve, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or may need to drain it.

Periorbital cellulitis

Periorbital cellulitis occurs when a wound near the eye becomes infected. It causes severe under-eye swelling, pain, and inflammation. According to a 2020 articleTrusted Source, it is most common in children and is often due to trauma or sinusitis.

This condition requires medical treatment to prevent damage to the eyes and other organs. According to the AAO, treatment may include drainage, surgery to remove dead tissue, and antibiotics.


Lymphoma is a type of cancer that can affect the eye area in rare cases. According to the Survey of Ophthalmology, a person with lymphoma will experience swelling and a visible lump or tumor. Doctors may treat lymphoma using radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Causes of swelling on both sides

Swelling under both eyes may have a variety of causes, such as:

Bags under the eyes

A person may notice mild swelling under the eyes when they wake up in the morning. The AAO note that this can occur due to aging, fluid collecting under the eyes during sleep, or both.

Smoking, lack of sleep, fluid retention, and allergies make it more likely that bags will develop under the eyes. Getting enough sleep, sleeping with the head in a slightly elevated position, and cool compresses may help reduce their appearance. …….. Continue Reading………….

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