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Alternative Names Return to topFluid-filled conjunctiva; Swollen eye or conjunctiva
Definition Return to top
Chemosis is swelling of the tissue that lines the eyelids and surface of the eye (conjunctiva).
Considerations Return to top
In general, chemosis is a nonspecific sign of eye irritation. The outer surface covering appears to have fluid in it. Often, the eye area swells so much that you can't close your eyes properly.
Chemosis is often related to an allergic response or infection.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Over-the-counter antihistamines and cool clothes placed on the eyes may help relieve symptoms due to angioedema or allergies.
If symptoms continue, see your doctor.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not go away. Also call if you have other symptoms such as eye pain, change in vision, difficulty breathing, or fainting.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
The doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms, which may include:
Your doctor may prescribe an eye cream to reduce swelling. If the swelling is caused by an infection, antibiotics will be given.Update Date: 4/13/2009 Updated by: Paul B. Griggs, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.