Puffy eyes are a common symptom of allergy, infection, inflammation, and physical irritation. Puffy eyes are the result of excess fluid (edema) in the soft tissues surrounding the eyes. The medical term for swollen eyes is chemosis. Puffy eyes can occur in conditions affecting the eye area itself or in association with more generalized conditions, such as a common cold or hay fever. Inflammation of the surface of the eye (conjunctivitis) and the eyelids (blepharitis) are common causes of puffy eyes. Other common causes such as crying, lack of sleep, or excessive rubbing of the eyes. Depending on the cause, one or both eyes may be swollen and redness, pain, itching, excessive tear production, or other types of discharge from the affected eyes may accompany the bags.
What Causes Puffy Eyes?
Ordinary swelling around the eyes means that you have an excessive buildup of fluids, called edema, in the surrounding skin tissue. Because the skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin on the body, the swelling and discoloration can be quite severe.
Puffy eyes usually result from a variety of factors, including:
- Overconsumption of salt, which causes water retention
- Allergies that can cause inflammation and swelling
- Sinus problems
- Fatigue and lack of sleep
- Inherited facial features
With aging, the swelling of the eyes can be caused in part when the fatty tissue that usually protects the eye within the bony socket begins to push forward and fill the spaces under the eye.
This happens because the aging processes cause thinning of the membrane or “septum” which usually holds the fat in the upper and lower eyelids. As the membrane becomes thinner, the fat herniates and pushes forward. This is when puffiness or bulges start to form under the eye.
Puffy Eyes in the Morning
- While we are sleeping, we are not blinking. And that is part of the reason the swelling of the eyes develops.
- Blinking your eyelids is like walking for your legs. At rest, some people develop swelling in the lower extremities that goes away as soon as they start walking, and the muscles in the legs start to “milk” the trapped fluids (edema), which are put back into circulation.
- A similar action takes place in the eyelids. Closed, non-blinking eyelids during sleep can potentially swell in some people prone to this problem. So, in the morning, you might wake up with unusually swollen and swollen eyelids. After you open your eyes and start blinking, some of this swelling may go away in about an hour.
There are many ways to reduce puffiness around the eyes. Some remedies are simple, like drinking more water. Others are more involved, such as cosmetic surgery. Here are some tips and tricks for trying to get rid of puffy eyes.
Getting Enough Sleep
- Getting a good night’s sleep regularly will help reduce puffy eyes. Adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep per night. To make sure you get enough sleep, create a bedtime routine and stick to it.
- It is important to remember that your bedtime routine begins long before you go to bed to fall asleep. To get a good night’s sleep, you should:
- Stick to a sleep schedule.
- Stop drinking caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
- Stop drinking alcohol before bed.
- Finish eating dinner about 3 hours before bedtime.
- Finish your exercises several hours before bedtime.
- Turn off electronics 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.
- Sleep with a few pillows under your head to prevent fluid from settling around your eyes. If you can’t sleep sideways on a wedge pillow or a stack of pillows, try lifting the head off your bed slightly to achieve the same effect.
- To do this, place a stack of books or another corner under the legs of your bed on the side where you rest your head. If you notice a difference in the frequency or severity of your swollen eyes, consider a more stable solution, such as a bed booster.
Treat Your Allergies
- Talk to your doctor if you have seasonal or year-round allergies. Allergies can make your eyes redden, swell, and swell. This may cause you to rub your eyes more, which will lead to more puffiness.
- Your doctor can help you create a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms. This can include eye drops and over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Drink Enough Water
- Eye bags can result from dehydration. Drink plenty of water every day to keep your skin healthy. The general rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
- To stay on track, consider setting an hourly reminder on your phone. You can also use a refillable water bottle marked with specific times to help you drink enough water throughout the day.
- Try to limit or avoid alcohol and other drinks that can dehydrate you. Dehydration can lead to puffy eyes, so it’s best to have a glass of water instead.
- If you’ve had enough of plain water, infusing it with fresh fruit is a great way to stay hydrated and refreshed. Try adding any fruit of your choice to a water bottle for infused water that lasts all day.
Pass on the salt
- Eating too much salt can lead to additional water retention in your body. It can also lead to other health problems, such as an increased risk of heart problems and stroke.
- According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the current daily value of sodium is 2300 milligrams (mg). However, the American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium to 1,500 mg per day.
- Over 70% of the sodium in American diets comes from processed or restaurant foods. To reduce your salt intake, avoid cold meats, cheese, bread, and other processed foods.
- Prepackaged foods like instant soups are often high in sodium. Reading labels can help you identify excessive amounts of salt.
- Instead, eat more whole foods like fresh vegetables and fruits.
Eat More Potassium
- Potassium can help reduce excess fluid in your body, so increase your potassium intake. You can do this by adding bananas, beans, yogurt, and leafy greens to your diet.
- If you are already on a high potassium diet, ask your doctor if your potassium levels are okay as is or if it is safe to add potassium supplements to your daily routine.
Use a Cool Compress
- You can reduce eye swelling by putting a cool washcloth on your eyelids for about 10 minutes. This can help drain excess fluid from under your eyes.
- A compress of green or black tea bags can also do the trick. Tea contains antioxidants and caffeine which can reduce inflammation and constrict blood vessels.
Try an Eye Cream
- There are many eye creams on the market that can relieve puffiness. Some ingredients to look for in an eye cream include chamomile, cucumber, and arnica. These all contain properties that can reduce inflammation and tighten the skin.
- Eye creams and makeup that contain caffeine can also help reduce puffy eyes.
Talk to Your Doctor About Cosmetic Surgery
- If your swollen eyes are severe, and lifestyle changes or other remedies don’t work, consider cosmetic surgery.
- One type of surgery is blepharoplasty, which is eyelid surgery. During this procedure, a doctor moves or removes excess fat, muscle, and skin from your eyelid.
- Your doctor may also recommend laser treatments, chemical peels, or prescription medications to help with severe cases of swollen eyes.