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Puffy Eyes: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What are Puffy Eyes?

Puffy eyes, medically known as periorbital puffiness, is an eye and skin condition where the skin around and under the eyes appears puffy and swollen. Puffy eyes may also be red and itchy as well as swollen, and other symptoms may include bags under the eyes and loose or saggy skin.

The puffy eyes meaning is an eye and skin condition that affects the physical appearance of the skin under the eyes.

What Do Puffy Eyes Look Like?

The following image demonstrates what puffy eyes look like, and is an example of how the skin under the eye makes the eye appear more swollen.

[Example image of puffy eyes]

What are the Other Terms for Puffy Eyes?

The medical term for puffy eyes is periorbital edema, which refers to the swelling of the orbit. Puffy eyes are more commonly known as bags under the eyes, under-eye swelling, swollen eye bags, and baggy eyes.

How Common are Puffy Eyes?

Puffy eyes are a common eye condition that affects more of the population as they age. Puffy eyes can have a genetic cause when the condition is long-lasting or a person appears to have puffy eyes consistently. However, puffy eyes can affect everyone for short periods of time, most commonly upon waking due to tears that would normally be expelled or blinked being stored in the skin under the eyes.

What Causes Eye Puffiness?

Eye puffiness is caused by multiple factors related to age, lifestyle and genetics. Puffy eyes are caused by:

  1. Allergies: Allergies can cause puffy eyes because the body's reaction to an allergen creates inflammation in the eyes and body.
  2. Eyelid fat prolapse: Aging tissue, muscle and fat in the skin results in fat placing itself in the skin under the eyes.
  3. Family history: A parent who is prone to having puffy eyes may pass that gene onto their offspring.
  4. Sleep issues: Sleep issues weaken the muscles around the eye, causing more liquid and tears to cover around the skin.
  5. Diet: Eating an excess of salt can cause puffiness across the whole body.
  6. Aging: The aging soft tissue and muscle allows fat to slide under the eye.

Medical Conditions that Cause Puffy Eyes

Medical conditions that may cause puffy eyes include:

  • Dermatitis: Causes inflammation of the skin around the eyes.
  • Blepharitis: Causes the eyelids to turn red, become swollen, itchy and irritated.
  • Orbital Cellulitis: Infects the fat and soft tissue around the eye, causing inflammation and swelling.
  • Chalazion: Swells and causes inflammation within the eyelid oil glands.
  • Keratitis: Creates inflammation of the cornea.

Symptoms of Puffy Eyes

The symptoms of puffy eyes are:

  1. Swelling under the eyes: The skin under the eyes appears swollen or inflamed.
  2. Swelling on the eyelid: The top eyelid becomes swollen and bloated.
  3. Swelling around the orbit: The wide area of skin under the eyes becomes heavily swollen and puffy.
  4. Bags under the eye: There is light but clear swelling and puffiness in the skin under the eyes.
  5. Saggy or loose skin: The skin appears to sag and be loose due to fat falling under the eyelids.

Complications of Puffy Eyes

Complications of puffy eyes can include limited vision if the puffiness or swelling worsens. It is important to seek medical attention if puffy eyes begin to affect your vision.

Diagnosing Puffy Eyes

Puffy eyes are diagnosed by an eyecare professional (optometrist or ophthalmologist) checking the skin under the eyes for swelling and excessive fluid. During testing, they may examine the level of swelling and assess whether the eye is itchy, dry, sensitive or inflamed. If relevant, they will address the root of the puffiness if it results from other eye conditions.

You can seek a puffy eyes diagnosis from a professional eye health expert, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist at Raie Eyewear.

Treatments for Puffy Eyes

The treatments available for puffy eyes include:

  1. Non-surgical cosmetic treatments: Using injections and chemical peels to reduce puffiness and sagging skin around the eyes.
  2. Cosmetic surgery: Using invasive surgical procedures to treat the skin around and under the eyes.
  3. Lifestyle changes: Removing possible causes of eye swelling or sources of inflammation.
  4. Home remedies: Placing ice packs over the eyes and using natural remedies to reduce puffiness and swelling.
  5. Over-the-counter medications: Taking antihistamine medication for allergies or using creams to reduce puffiness.

Preventing Puffy Eyes

Puffy eyes can be prevented by:

  • Consuming less salt and salty meals
  • Getting better rest
  • Drinking less liquids before sleep
  • Placing a cold compress over the affected areas

Eyewear for Puffy Eyes

Eyewear does not reduce swelling or prevent any root causes of puffy eyes. Eyeglasses will not help, however, a pair of oversized sunglasses that suit the wearer will complement their face shape and cover the swollen or baggy eyed area, creating a better appearance.