What is eyelid pain?

Eyelid pain is soreness or pain of the eyelids that cover and protect the eye. The outside of your eyelids consists of thin skin, and the inside is lined with conjunctiva, a membrane that also covers the white of the eye. Because the conjunctiva is well supplied with blood vessels, it can easily become inflamed, resulting in swelling and pain. The margins of the eyelids contain the eyelashes and their hair follicles, as well as numerous small oil glands that help lubricate the surface of the eye. Blockages or infections within the follicles or oil glands are other causes of eyelid pain.

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Allergies and environmental factors can cause inflammation and pain in the eyelids. The inciting factor may be an airborne allergen, such as pollen or animal dander, or it may be a physical irritant, such as smoke, smog or dust. Eye makeup and other cosmetics, personal care products such as soap and shampoo, and contact lenses can also cause eyelid pain. Physical injuries, including burns, sunburn, insect bites, and lacerations, also result in eyelid pain.

Eyelid pain may also develop because of an infection of the conjunctiva or structures in the eyelid margin. Blepharitis is a bacterial infection of the eyelid margin that originates at the base of the eyelashes, while a stye, which is a small, painful bump, results from a localized infection of a single oil gland. If an oil gland becomes completely blocked, a larger lump, called a chalazion, may cause eyelid pain, redness and swelling.

Eyelid pain from allergies can usually be managed with cold compresses on the affected eye area and over-the-counter allergy medications. Styes, chalazia and blepharitis are generally treated with warm, damp compresses and, if needed, antibiotic ointments. In some cases, eyelids that feel tight, swollen and painful can signal a serious infection called orbital cellulitis, which is a medical emergency. Because your eyes are so important to the quality of your life, it is always a good idea to contact your health care provider for any bothersome eye symptoms.

Although eyelid pain is generally not serious, in some cases it can be a symptom of a serious, even life-threatening infection called orbital cellulitis. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have swollen, red or purple painful eyelids; pain when moving your eyes; or high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit).

Seek prompt medical care if you have eyelid pain that is persistent, recurrent, or causes you concern.


What other symptoms might occur with eyelid pain?

Eyelid pain may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.... Read more about eyelid painsymptoms


What causes eyelid pain?

Eyelid pain is caused by an inflammation of the eyelids that cover and protect the eye. Pain in the eyelids usually originates in the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the white of the eye, or in the oil glands and hair follicles at the base of the eyelashes. Allergies, infections, reactions to cosmetics and personal care products, and environmental factors such as smoke or smog are common causes of eyelid pain. Physical injuries such as burns, sunburn, insect bites, and lacerations result in eyelid pain.... Read more about eyelid paincauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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