Healthcare Library

Spanish Version
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Chemosis

Fluid-filled conjunctiva; Swollen eye or conjunctiva

Chemosis is swelling of the tissue that lines the eyelids and surface of the eye (conjunctiva).

Considerations

Chemosis is a sign of eye irritation. The outer surface of the eye (conjunctiva) may look like a big blister. It can also look like it has fluid in it. When severe, the tissue swells so much that you can't close your eyes properly.

Chemosis is often related to allergies or an eye infection. Chemosis can also be a complication of eye surgery, or it may occur from rubbing the eye too much.

Causes

Causes may include:

  • Angioedema
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bacterial infection (conjunctivitis)
  • Viral infection (conjunctivitis)

Home Care

Over-the-counter antihistamines and cool compresses placed on the eyes may help with symptoms due to allergies.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your symptoms do not go away.
  • You have other symptoms, such as eye pain, change in vision, difficulty breathing, or fainting.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms, which may include:

  • When did it start?
  • How long does the swelling last?
  • How bad is the swelling?
  • How much is the eye swollen?
  • What, if anything, makes it better or worse?
  • What other symptoms do you have? (For example, breathing problems)

Your provider may prescribe eye medicine to reduce swelling and treat any conditions that may be causing the chemosis.

References

Chapin MJ, Wun PJ, Abelson MB. Mediators of ocular inflammation. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Foundations of Clinical Ophthalmology. 2013 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:vol 2, chap 27.

Karesh JW, On AV, Hirschbein MJ. Noninfectious orbital inflammatory disease. In: Tansman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Clinical Ophthalmology. 2013 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:vol 2, chap 35.

Rubenstein JB, Tannan A. Allergic conjunctivitis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 4.7.

Rubenstein JB, Tannan A. Conjunctivitis: infectious and noninfectious. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 4.6.

    • Chemosis

      Chemosis - illustration

      Chemosis is swelling of the eye surface membranes because of accumulation of fluid. This symptom is often related to an allergic response. Over-the-counter antihistamines, and a cool cloth placed over the eyes, are usually used to try to alleviate the symptoms.

      Chemosis

      illustration

      • Chemosis

        Chemosis - illustration

        Chemosis is swelling of the eye surface membranes because of accumulation of fluid. This symptom is often related to an allergic response. Over-the-counter antihistamines, and a cool cloth placed over the eyes, are usually used to try to alleviate the symptoms.

        Chemosis

        illustration

      Review Date: 5/10/2017

      Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
      adam.com

       
       
       

       

       

      A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.
      Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.

      ways to give

      view all

      news room

      view all

      healthcare library

      view all
      Event Calendar

      Hunterdon Healthcare offers an array of educational events, including childbirth, healthy living and fitness classes.

      LEARN MORE
      Health and Wellness Centers

      Where health and fitness meet to help you stay healthy at every age.

      LEARN MORE
      Heart & Vascular

      Heart and Vascular Services Department brings world-class cardiovascular care to our community.

      LEARN MORE