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Feel something under the lid? Here’s how you can manage heavy eyelids

Feel something under the lid? Here’s how you can manage heavy eyelids

Avoiding screens and using some home remedies can help in managing heavy eyelids
man rubbing his eye lids to relieve discomfort
Representational Image | Shutterstock

Do you sometimes feel that you are unable to keep your eyes open? Do you look tired or older than your age? You may be experiencing heavy eyelids. Experts say, heavy eyelids could be caused by a range of reasons—exhaustion, allergies, ageing, hereditary causes and so on.

Dr Jayesh Vira, an ophthalmologist at ESI-MGM Hospital in Mumbai, says the common cause of heavy eyelids is eye strain. “It is a symptom of ocular fatigue and eye strain, which may be due to wearing glasses with the wrong power or due to excessive screen time,” he explains. Seasonal eye allergies to dust or pollen can also cause discomfort, which may make one’s eyes feel heavy.


“In some people, heaviness of the eyelids may also occur due to thyroid disorders or due to neurodegenerative conditions such as myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular condition that can affect the muscles around the eyes and face). Puffiness around the eyelids, especially if more noticeable in the early hours of the day, may be due to an underlying kidney or heart ailment,” Dr Vira adds. Consultation with an ophthalmologist is required to arrive at an appropriate diagnosis. A thorough clinical examination and further investigations may also be needed.

Dr Ranjan Sharma, an ophthalmologist based in Hyderabad, lists several other reasons for heavy eyelids:

  • Dermatochalasis: a medical condition used to describe the presence of loose skin
  • Ptosis: a medical condition where the upper eyelids droop over the eyes
  • Blepharitis: an ocular condition that is characterized by inflammation, scaling, reddening, or crusting of the eyelid

“While ptosis needs surgery, blepharitis can be managed with the use of antibiotic ointment and by maintaining lid hygiene,” he says.

Heavy eyelids are also an outcome of conditions such as Horner syndrome that occurs when the sympathetic nerves that lead to one’s eyes get damaged and due to myopathies, which are neuromuscular conditions.

Some other reasons for heavy eyelids, as listed by Dr Sharma, are as follows:

  • Eye injury
  • Eye surgery
  • Eyelid tumors
  • Botox injection

How to manage heavy eyelids

“If the condition is severe, or if your eyelids are caused by an underlying medical condition, surgery can be an option. Some cases can also be treated with medication. For an allergic eye condition, one should always consult one’s eye doctor,” says Dr Sharma.  However, if the cause is eye strain, exhaustion, or ageing, it can be managed with some easy remedies and lifestyle changes.

“Although it is not scientifically proven, certain home remedies such as a cold compress or the use of ice or cucumber slices can be useful for symptomatic relief,” says Dr Vira.

Home remedies:

  • Maintain digital wellbeing: For those who use gadgets like phones and laptops for long hours in a day, Dr Vira suggests taking breaks in between. “It is important to take frequent breaks from the computer screen while working. As a healthy habit, take breaks and look at objects at a distance for a few minutes. This will help relieve eye strain. Also, try not to look at your cell phone in your free time, unless absolutely necessary,” he adds.
  • Get adequate sleep: Dr Vira suggests having a proper sleep schedule in place. “Adequate hours of sleep also help prevent symptoms of stress and fatigue.”
  • Maintain eyelid hygiene: It is essential not only in case of heavy eyelids but also for clear vision, says Dr Sharma. You can clean your lid using an eyelid scrub and with the help of a hot compress.
  • Hot compress: The use of a hot compress can help provide relief to tired eyes. You can use a pad, or a piece of gauze dipped in hot water. After wringing out the water, place it on shut eyes.
  • Ice or cucumber slices: Use of cucumber slices or ice on eyelids can help with inflammation and have a soothing effect. Cut two slices of cucumber and place them on your closed eyes or use ice for around 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Check your glasses: “One must also get one’s glasses checked on an annual basis and wear appropriate glasses to avoid straining the eyes,” adds Dr Vira.

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