Why are my Eyes Puffy?

Do you still look tired after a full night of sleep? Do you hate breaking out the mascara when your eyes look swollen? “Why are my eyes puffy?” is a question you’re probably asking yourself.

Read on to learn more about some causes of puffy eyes and what you can do about the problem.

What Causes Puffy Eyes?Puffy

Puffy eyes have many different root causes. If you notice swelling around your eye area, it usually means you have fluid build-up, called periorbital edema. These are some possible causes.

  • Fatigue – Puffy, swollen eyes make you look tired – and with good reason. A common cause of puffy eyes is a lack of sleep.
  • Blockage – Your eyes may swell because lymph fluid or blood vessels get blocked and fluid can’t drain out. Something might be blocking the ducts around your eye socket. Talk to a doctor about methods of lymphatic drainage.
  • Dry Eyes – When your eyes are dry, the tissue gets irritated and swells. A dry eye might mean your home is too hot, or that you’re not blinking enough.
  • Salty Food – A diet high in sodium can lead to water retention. Some of this fluid can collect under your eyes.
  • Health Issues – Some health conditions can make your eyes swell up. If the swelling doesn’t go away within 48 hours, see your eye doctor.

Can an Allergic Reaction Cause Puffy Eyes?

Bad enough that allergies can cause sneezing, itchy eyes, and trouble breathing. But allergic irritation can also make your eyes swell, too. Puffy eyes might also be one of the early symptoms of an allergic reaction.

  • Allergy symptoms in your eyes include puffiness that’s worst in the morning, itching or burning, and tearing. Also, your blood vessels might expand, which makes your eyes look bloodshot.
  • If the swelling is limited to your eye area, you might have seasonal pollen allergies. If your entire face swells, you are likely having an allergic reaction. And swelling in just one eye, or swelling of your eyelid skin, could be from an insect bite.
  • Puffy eyes from seasonal allergies are annoying. Protect your eyes from allergens by staying inside when pollen counts are high. If you notice swelling, see your doctor.

If your symptoms are severe, a doctor can recommend a good allergy treatment.

If you’re allergy-prone, eyelid swelling and puffiness may be a regular occurrence.

But you can help reduce puffy eyes by keeping your allergies under control with the help of your doctor.

Note: An allergic reaction might be a medical emergency. If you experience rapid swelling of the eyes or any other part of your body, seek medical treatment.

What Causes Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

Dark circles and puffy eyes often go together. They’re both unsightly and they both make you look exhausted – even when you aren’t! Under eye dark circles or puffy “bags,” have many causes:

  • The skin around your eyes is thinner than other skin. That means your blood vessels are more visible. When you’re tired, dark circles are more visible, too.
  • Some people are born with naturally dark circles and darker pigmentation under the eyes.
  • Swelling around your eyes can also cause dark circles. That’s because the swelling makes blood pool under your eyes.

Dark circles and puffy eyes share some causes, like allergies and aging. So, now the question becomes…

What are Some Effective Home Remedies for Puffy Eyelids?

Want to improve the appearance of unsightly puffy, swollen eyelids? Certain home remedies might help. Common household items can soothe the irritated blood vessels and connective tissues around your eyes.

Some home remedies that help puffy eyes are also effective with dark circles. A full night of sleep may be all you need to help reduce symptoms.

Caffeinated eye cream may help puffy eyes. An eye doctor or dermatologist may help you find a treatment cream that works for you.

Tea bags are a natural source of caffeine for your eyes. This chemical shrinks blood vessels to help reduce swelling. Try putting cool tea bags directly on your puffy eyes for a few minutes.

An eye massage can provide relief for irritated, puffy eyes. Hold a warm water compress to your eye for five minutes. Then gently massage both the upper eyelid and lower eyelid with clean fingers.

Cucumbers on the eyes aren’t just for show at a fancy spa. Cucumber slices can help reduce swelling in your eyes. They’re also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help boost tired skin.

Be careful when applying anything to your eye area. Products that are healthy and soothing for your face and eyelid skin might be irritating if they get in your eyes. Focus on keeping the area around the eye healthy, instead.

NOTE: Some people believe hemorrhoid cream can reduce puffiness because it will constrict blood vessels. But it can also cause irritation and might make the puffiness worse. Stick with other tried-and-true home remedies, and keep hemorrhoid cream off of your face.

Preventing Puffy Eyes

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s true when it comes to puffy eyes, too. You can practice good eye and skin care to help keep puffy eyes from appearing in the first place.

Sleep More

Sometimes, relief from puffy eyes is as simple as getting a good night’s sleep. To optimize your sleeping conditions, make sure your room is dark and quiet, and try not to drink caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime.

Reduce Salt

Sodium can make your body retain water and other fluid, which can lead to swelling in the tissues around your eyes.

To cut back on salt, cook your own meals. The average American gets 70% of their salt intake from processed food. Low-salt diets have other benefits, like helping you maintain healthy blood pressure.

Cool Off

Turn down the heat, which can cause dry eyes. And dry eyes can become puffy. If you make your home cooler, you’re less likely to wake up with swollen eyes.

Also, drink plenty of cold water throughout your day. Dehydration can cause your body to retain water – including under your eyes.

With a few small lifestyle changes, you may be able to cut back on your number of puffy eye days! Sleep, water, and a healthy diet will work wonders for your health.

Getting Rid of Puff

Puffy, swollen eyes are bound to happen from time to time. That doesn’t mean you have to accept them. If you’re concerned about puffy eyes and you’re experiencing the problem regularly, it’s time to talk to your doctor.


  1. Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance
  2. Eyelid Edema
  3. What Causes Puffy Eyes? By Stacey Feintuch,  01/25/2017
  4. Bags Under the Eyes By: Kierstan Boyd, Nov. 29, 2018
  5. Hoagland Sign: An early manifestation of acute infectious mononucleosis - A case report
  6. Puffy Eyes: What Causes Them and What To Do About It, April 1, 2019
  7. Allergic conjunctivitis
  8. Eye Swelling
  10. When To See An Allergist
  11. Infraorbital dark circles: A review of the pathogenesis, evaluation and treatment

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At Golden Eye Optometry, we view good vision care as front line protection at every age. A routine eye exam can detect more than poor vision. It can shed early light on glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes.

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One Comment

  1. Hello, my eyes are a bit red in the morning then fine during the day, then again at night they turn red. I originally thought I had pinkeye because I met some of the symptoms but I don’t have it. I wake up with crust on my eyes not too much that I have to pry them apart but sometimes I have to force them open. This has been going on for a week. Do you think it could be allergies?

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