There are many reasons for puffy eyes. The skin of the eyelids is the thinnest in the body. For this reason any swelling underneath the lids or discoloration may be quite obvious. What causes this?
• Overconsumption of salt, which causes fluid retention
• Allergies/infections that can cause inflammation and swelling
• Sinus problems
• Fatigue and lack of sleep
• Inherited facial features (“puffy eyes” may run in the family)
In the morning, puffy eyes may form because the fluid buildup from lack of blinking all night. Usually this goes away within an hour or so of waking up.
There are medical conditions that may cause puffy eyes. An overactive thyroid can cause soft tissue swelling as one of the earliest signs of Grave’s Disease. Allergies and eye infections can cause inflammation which may also lead to eyelid swelling.
The treatment for puffy eyes depends on the cause. If due to inflammation, such as with allergies or infections, special eyedrops may be prescribed to reduce the eyelid swelling and other symptoms such as redness, discharge or itching. Cool compresses such as a washcloth soaked in cool water or even cucumber slices over the eyes can also be used to help the swelling. To ensure that dehydration or excessive salt intake are not factors, ensure you are drinking enough fluids and avoiding foods high in dietary salt. Foods such as bananas are rich in Potassium and can help rebalance your electrolytes thereby reducing the chances of fluid retention. Getting enough rest and trying to reduce stress are both important to reduce the effects of fatigue.
If your eyelid puffiness is because of aging or heredity, minor cosmetic surgery may be your only option for correction.
One common home remedy for puffy eyes has been the use of Preparation H or other hemorrhoid cream applied to the eyelids. Our doctors do not recommend this due to the potential harmful effects of these chemicals should they contact your eye tissues.
Talk to one of us at your next appointment if puffy eyes are bothering you. We’ll determine the cause and recommend the best treatment for you.