I have a maybe weird question. My daughter has behavioural delays, sensory problems, and motor delays but no diagnosis. We're still searching for answers, but something that's always bugged me is that she randomly gets this drooping/swollen eye on her right side. She'll also have tears from just the one eye.Could you just reassure me that it's probably nothing? It's happened to her sporadically ever since she was a toddler. She's not allergic to anything.  Her doctor thinks she has ADHD and that I’m grasping at straws. Anyway, thanks for your time.

Your question is not weird at all!

I will first address your primary concern, which is your daughter's swollen lids/eye lid droop. Swollen lids can often indicate an allergic reaction, or an infection of the eyelids and surrounding area. If infected, you will often see other eye signs, like:

  • Discharge from the eye
  • Redness 
  • Watery eyes 
  • Pain/tenderness
  • Recent onset of the cold or flu 
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Tearing

The issue typically resolves once you remove the cause of the allergic reaction (e.g. hand cream, soap, or fabric detergent). Sometimes you might need the help of an antihistamine (a type of medicine used to treat common allergy symptoms). 
Other eye conditions like blocked tear ducts (the opening where tears flow out) and chronic styes (a condition where the oil gland in your eyelid becomes blocked and infected by bacteria) may also be to blame. In fact, if the stye is on the upper lid it could give the appearance of being swollen. 
In any case, I highly recommend an eye exam by your local optometrist. A drooping lid can also indicate a more serious concern with your daughter’s brain nerves. 
I also wanted to address your other concern, which was about a possible ADHD diagnosis related to your daughter's motor and sensory delays. I recommend that your daughter have a binocular vision examination by an optometrist. This exam assess whether or not a patient’s eyes are working together. Sometimes signs of a vision problem mimic ADHD symptoms and are prevalent in children with developmental delays.  

If you do not have an optometrist, feel free to use our Find a Doctor tool to locate one near you. 

All the best, 

Dr. Angela Peddle, OD