What to Do With a Swollen Eyeball
It can be pretty scary to wake up with the discomfort and—let’s face it—freaky appearance of a swollen eyeball. The human eye is made up of tons of tiny blood vessels that can easily flare up when something is wrong. Although there are many possible causes of eyeball swelling, some of which we will discuss, there are a few things that you can do at home to reduce the swelling until you can get yourself checked out by a doctor.
How to Deal with a Swollen Eyeball
In order to treat a swollen eyeball, you must first find out what is causing the eye to swell. There are, however, a few things that you can do to increase your comfort and stay safe until you can get a proper diagnosis from the doctor. The first is to remove any contact lenses if you are wearing any. Burning or discomfort may be soothed by eye drops, but it is probably better to just use a clean cloth dampened with cool water. Apply this to the eye for about ten minutes. A new cloth should be used every time a compress is applied to the eye, in case the swelling is caused by contagious bacteria. Try not to touch the eye and definitely don’t rub or push on it no matter how much it may itch or burn. Be sure to wash your hands with warm soapy water before and after touching your affected eye.
Possible Causes of a Swollen Eyeball
There are many causes behind a swollen eyeball, but one of the most common is pink eye, or conjunctivitis. This is a condition that largely affects school children because it is so incredibly contagious, however it does affect adults as well. There are three forms of pink eye: bacterial, viral, and allergic. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by an irritant such as dust, laundry detergent, or pollen. This form of pink eye is not contagious. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with prescription eye drops, however viral conjunctivitis must go away on its own. Pink eye causes the eyeball and sometimes the surrounding skin to swell. The white of the eye turns pink or red and is accompanied by an itching or burning sensation. The eye may water frequently or emit a yellow-white discharge which can sometimes seal the eyelids shut. A warm compress can be used to gently remove the crust from the eye and should be done frequently to prevent the condition from spreading to the other eye.
Sometimes a broken blood vessel is the culprit behind a swollen eye. Although this often occurs from some type of trauma, such as rubbing, bumping, or straining the eye, blood vessels can burst on their own and for no apparent reason. A broken vessel is usually not considered to be an emergency and will often clear up on its own. This condition causes the eyeball to appear bright red, like an ink blot. This tends to look pretty weird, but for the most part it is harmless. Sometimes foreign objects find their way into the eye, such as small bugs, dust or bits of dirt, and sometimes metal or glass. If something has become stuck in your eye, an attempt should be made to flush it out using water or artificial tears. With small items, like a bit of dust or a bug, the eye can flush it out naturally in which you will usually find it encrusted in the corner of your eye the next morning. If your eye cannot get rid of the foreign substance on its own and it starts to swell up, it’s probably a good idea to get to the doctor.
If you’ve found yourself unable to sleep lately, this could be the cause of your swollen eye. Sleep isn’t just a special time for your brain and muscles to relax, but it also gives your eyes a chance to recuperate from the trials of the day. It may not seem like your eyes go through much, but they are under constant stress from elements such as air and light, not to mention the natural strain caused by reading, watching television, and using the computer. If your eyeball starts to swell and you know it’s because you haven’t been getting proper rest, then the obvious treatment is to drop in a few artificial tears and hit the sack—your eyes and your body will thank you!