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Alternative namesFluid-filled conjunctiva; Swollen eye or conjunctiva
DefinitionChemosis is a condition in which the membranes that line the eyelids and surface of the eye (conjunctiva) are swollen. The outer surface covering appears to have fluid in it. Often, the conjunctiva become so swollen that the eyes cannot close properly.
ConsiderationsAccumulation of fluid in the eye surface membranes causes them to swell. This symptom is often related to an allergic response , infection, or severe exposure.
Initial attempts to treat angioedema or allergies include use of over-the-counter antihistamines. Cool cloths held over the eyes can relieve some of the discomfort associated with chemosis. If these don't work, topical antihistamines from your eye doctor can often help.
Chemosis can also be associated with infections of the eye such as viral conjunctivitis ("pink eye"). In these cases, the eyes are also red. Cool compresses will help but treatment for the infection may be needed as well.
Call your health care provider if
The medical history will be obtained, and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting your symptom in detail may include:
After seeing your health care provider:
You may want to add a diagnosis related to chemosis to your personal medical record.
Update Date: 8/18/2003Edward B. Feinberg, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Chair, Ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT