Edema Of The Eyelids

What Causes Eyelid Edema?

Eyelid edema can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'life-threatening'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose eyelid edema, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "eyelid edema" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Eclampsia / Preeclampsia
  • Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects
  • Alcohol Consequences
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Atrophic Gastritis
  • Excess Water Consumption
  • Anorexia/Starvation Tendency
  • Edema

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
somewhat disturbed sleep
chronic nausea
vision disturbances
moderate epigastric pain
being very easily irritated
moderate meal-induced pain
being blind or nearly blind
edema of the ankles/lower legs
severe emotional instability
edema of the abdomen
excellent HDL cholesterol level
occasional odd skin sensations
... and more than 80 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of eyelid edema:
Cause Probability Status
Epstein-Barr Virus 93% Confirm
Alcohol Consequences 18% Unlikely
Atrophic Gastritis 17% Unlikely
Anorexia/Starvation Tendency 1% Ruled out
Edema 0% Ruled out
Excess Water Consumption 0% Ruled out
Eclampsia / Preeclampsia 0% Ruled out
Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate edema, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have edema of the eyelids?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Slightly
→ Very much
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either not having edema of the eyelids or edema of the eyelids, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Edema (Water Retention)

Edema (Water Retention) also suggests the following possibilities:

Alcohol-related Problems

Excessive alcohol intake can cause edema.

Anorexia / Starvation Tendency

Semi-starvation can cause edema.  People with eating disorders may interpret the puffiness of edema or any changes on the scale as weight gain or getting "fat" and may panic and purge or take laxatives even more.

Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects

Angioedema or swelling of the eyelids, lips, hands or feet are listed as possible reactions to aspartame.

Atrophic Gastritis

Edema may be due to low levels of circulating proteins from poor protein digestion.

Excess Salt Consumption

Salt can increase the amount of fluid that you retain in your body.

Hormone Imbalance

Hormones regulate the amount of interstitial fluid surrounding our body's cells.  A hormone imbalance can result in too much interstitial fluid, and thus edema.

Progesterone Low or Estrogen Dominance

Progesterone has also been used in the treatment of idiopathic edema under the premise that some women with idiopathic edema either do not ovulate or have a luteal phase deficiency.

Ovarian function was investigated in 30 women with postural idiopathic edema by measuring plasma estradiol and progesterone levels between the 21st and 23rd days of the menstrual cycle.  Plasma progesterone concentrations were found to be lower than 5ng/ml in 53% of the cases and lower than 10ng/ml in 83%.  The ovarian dysfunction most frequently observed was inadequate corpus luteum, i.e. progesterone deficiency with normal plasma estradiol levels.  In virtually all patients the initial disorder in capillary permeability, as evaluated by Landis' test, was fully corrected by progesterone administered orally.  However, clinical improvement was less marked with treatments of short duration (2-3 consecutive cycles).  In view of the complex cause of the disease, combined treatments in which progesterone might well play the major role are usually required.  [Presse Med 1983 Dec 10;12(45): pp.2859-62 (translated)]

Protein Deficiency

When protein (especially albumin) levels in your blood go too low, the colloidal osmotic pressure will decrease and allow fluid to escape from blood vessels into your tissues, resulting in edema or swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, knees and/or belly.

Nephrotic Syndrome

As nephrotic syndrome progresses, edema is noticed in the eyelids, hands, feet, knees, abdomen and (in males) scrotum.

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