Red Eye Lids, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Red eyelids can be the result of many different causes and are combined with several different symptoms. Symptoms like itching, swelling, irritation; bumps, increased tearing, and/or discharge are commonly combined with red eyelids. Aside from crying, the most common causes of red eyelids are allergies and blepharitis.

Allergies are a very common cause of red eyelids and can also involve the membrane lining the inside of your eyelids and covering the whites of the eyes. This is called Allergic Conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by different allergens; however, the most common is hay fever. Symptoms consist of redness and swelling of the eyelid and conjunctiva, itching and increased tearing. Treatment with antihistamines in the form of eye drops and/or tablets are usually very effective.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margin that can be caused by bacteria, abnormal secretion of the sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands), or Seborrheic dermatitis. Symptoms include redness and scaling of the edges of the eyelids, burning of the eyes and discomfort, loss of eyelashes, and tearing. Blepharitis is often a chronic condition that is difficult to treat. It can be caused by dermatitis of the scalp and eyebrows, a bacterial infection, malfunctioning oil glands, Rosacea (a skin condition characterized by facial redness), eyelash mites or lice, and certain medications. Your ophthalmologist will be able to confirm the cause with a thorough examination and testing if necessary. The most common causes are dermatitis and Rosacea. Treatment usually includes eyelid washes, antibiotics, artificial tears, and steroid eye drops or ointments.

Chalazions and Styes are also causes of red eyelids and usually are accompanied by bumps. Chalazions are very common and caused by a blocked meibomian oil gland. Medical treatment with antibiotics and/or incision and drainage is usually required required. It is rare for chalazions to reoccur. Styes are very similar to chalazion, but smaller and more painful. They are filled with water, pus, and bacteria that can spread if they are forcefully ruptured. If left untreated, styes will usually resolve on their own in 7 to 10 days.