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Swelling Around Eye & Orbital Swellings

Periorbital oedema is the phrase used to describe swelling around the eyes. The eye socket or eye orbit refers to the region surrounding the eyes. This disease is also known as periorbital puffiness or swollen eyes.

Periorbital oedema can affect either one or both eyes at the same time. Periorbital oedema is caused by inflammation surrounding the eye, which causes fluid to accumulate. The puffiness of the eye orbit is caused by an accumulation of fluid.

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The most obvious symptoms are swelling and discomfort. These symptoms may also be accompanied by the following:

  • An inflammation of the eye orbit that is mild to severe
  • Seeing double or blurry as a result of eye puffiness
  • Swelling and redness around the eye
  • Eyeball bulging
  • Inflamed white of the eye
  • Tears produced in excess
  • Bruised appearance
  • Eyelids pushed out of position
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain when move the eye
  • Itchiness around the eye

As these symptoms have many possible causes it is important to seek professional advice to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.

What causes orbital swelling?

Inflammation produces fluid accumulation around the eye, which is the primary cause of periorbital oedema. This disorder can appear suddenly (acutely) or gradually over time (chronically). Periorbital oedema can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Ageing – As we age, the body loses more water naturally throughout the day, causing fluid retention.
Allergies – An allergic reaction can cause inflammation of the small blood vessels (capillaries) in and around the eyes
Conjunctivitis – Inflammation and redness are the symptoms of this viral disease, also called pink eye.
Dysfunctional tear glands and sacs – Clogged or malfunctioning tear glands and sacs can cause inflammation around the eyes.
Diet & Lifestyle – Dehydration caused by alcohol and high-salt diets can result in fluid retention. Smoking also causes imbalances can that result in orbital swelling
Nephrotic syndrome – This syndrome is caused by renal issues that cause fluid retention.
Obstruction of the superior vena cava – Periorbital edema may occur when blood builds up in parts of the body above the heart due to an obstruction of the superior vena cava.
Periorbital cellulitis – Periorbital cellulitis is a serious skin condition caused by inflammation of the eyelids and the skin around the eyes. This can result in periorbital swelling. This may require emergency treatment if symptoms last beyond two to three days.
Thyroid disorder – Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause fluid retention in the body, including around the eyes.
Trauma to the eye – Periorbital oedema can result from any injury near the eye socket.

How is orbital swelling diagnosed?

During your visit you’ll see two ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeons who will run various assessments and examinations to find the cause of your eye swelling. Depending on your symptoms these may include other diagnostic aids such as:

  • Allergy tests
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy
  • Imaging such as CT or MRI scans

What is the prognosis or outlook for orbital swelling?

You can completely recover from periorbital edema with time, medical treatment, and proper home care.

How we can help

Contact us for a consultation

Booking with us

Arrange a consultation with us using the button below at a time of your choosing. This may be held through video chat dependant on COVID guidelines at the time.

Your consultation

We will then discuss with you your symptoms and advise you on how best to proceed with helpful guidance on treatments through our expert knowledge and training.

Treatment after care

Once an appointment has been arranged, we will then begin treatment and support you along the process, including specialised aftercare.