Eye Basics 101 – What Causes Puffy Eyes?

what causes puffy eyes

The eye anatomy and function is complex; therefore many reasons can cause puffy eyes. It can be an underlying medical condition or just something you inherited from your parents.  Edema, which is an excessive collection of fluid, is what causes puffy eyes in the morning, which typically settles down in an hour or so after you wake up. If there is prolonged puffiness, it may be due to more pressing reasons.

What causes puffy eyes?

As the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and delicate, any changes around that area are quite noticeable. Puffy eyes can be the result of the following causes:

  • Fluid retention, which is a common cause of morning puffy eyes
  • Allergic reactions, which may also associate with redness and itching
  • Any common eye diseases .e.g., glaucoma
  • Eye injury
  • Crying
  • Aging – as over time, the tissues around your eyes weaken
  • Sinus inflammation, e.g., sinusitis
  • Dehydration
  • Stress, fatigue, and lack of sleep
  • Inherited features
  • Unhealthy diet

The Reason why eyes are puffier in the morning

Since your eyes are not blinking when you sleep, fluid accumulates in this area causing your skin to swell. But as soon as you open your eyes and start blinking, the swelling disappears within an hour or so.

How can I get rid of puffy eyes?

Getting to the root of what causes puffy eyes is not always severe. There are many temporary remedies which can help reduce puffy eyes. These include:

  • Taking care of your allergies – Try to figure out what causes these allergies and when. Allergic reactions may also cause you to rub your eyes which will further increase the swelling. You can consult your physician for specific eye drops or medications which may relieve such an allergic reaction.
  • Drinking plenty of water – Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration.
  • Using a cold compress – Applying a cold compress on your eyes for about 10 minutes can reduce the puffiness and help drain the excess fluid. A cold compress can also be achieved by using cucumber slices, chilled tea bags or splashing cold water on your face.
  • Getting plenty of sleep and rest – Aim for at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep time at night and stick to a routine.
  • Using eye creams – There are some eye creams specially formulated for treating puffy eyes. They also help to reduce the signs of aging. Consult with your physician before using them.
  • Reducing salt intake – Increased sodium levels can cause your body to retain fluid,  leading to puffy eyes.
  • Increasing potassium intake – Potassium is known to remove excessive fluids. You can consult with your physician to check if your potassium levels are normal and whether you can have a potassium rich diet.

There may be many more reasons for your swollen eye or eyelids. However, if your eye puffiness is long lasting even after addressing the underlying cause and temporary remedies are not working, you may have to consider cosmetic procedures.

These include chemical peels, laser treatments, prescription skin products, and eyelid surgery. The eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, removes excess skin and fat which helps to tighten skin and muscles around the eyes, reducing puffiness and swelling.

Understanding what causes puffy eyes in your case will help you get better clarity over this concern. Before considering any of these treatment options, it is advisable to consult with your physician to understand the underlying cause and to choose the right treatment option.