Why Are My Eyes Puffy?

Why Are My Eyes Puffy? — Constantly waking up with puffy, swollen eyes might be frustrating. Not to be mistaken with under-eye bags, most cases of eye puffiness aren’t significant and the swelling is usually just transitory. They can be an indication of an underlying medical illness, however they are most usually caused by lifestyle factors such as a lack of sleep.

Why Are My Eyes Puffy?


Dealing with persistent puffy eyes can still be challenging since they may prohibit you from carrying out ordinary chores. To make them a bit simpler to manage, we’ve put together this guide to puffy eyes, explaining everything from causes to prevention.

What are puffy eyes?

The medical word for puffy eyes is periorbital oedema, which denotes a swelling in the area around the eyes —the eye orbit. It’s nearly usually caused by inflammation around the eyes, which produces a build-up of fluid. Either one or both eyes can become afflicted, and the swelling can be in the upper and/or lower eyelid. Along with swelling, it can also produce pain in the area around the eye or when the eyes are moved. Depending on the origin of the swelling, you may also have additional symptoms, including redness, impaired vision, itching or burning, and sensitivity to light (photosensitivity) (photosensitivity).

Puffy eyes: causes and prevention

Lifestyle considerations— A lot of lifestyle factors cause your eyes to appear puffy and swollen. Some of the main lifestyle reasons include: not getting enough – or getting too much – sleep, eating a high-salt diet, not drinking enough water, and consuming too much alcohol.

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Addressing these lifestyle variables may help reduce puffy eyes, so make sure you get enough sleep, limit your intake of salty foods, and stay hydrated by drinking more water and less alcohol. Additionally, using a cool compress to your eyes may help lessen inflammation. At night, sleep with your head slightly lifted on an additional pillow to assist minimize fluid accumulation. Additionally, you could try antihistamine medications if your eyes are puffy and inflamed as a result of an allergy. Your doctor may be able to prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as steroid tablets or ointment, or antibiotics if the swelling around your eyes is due to an infection.


Along with lifestyle factors, puffy, swollen eyes can be a symptom of a more serious underlying health problem. Among the most common causes are as follows:

Fever glandular

Infectious mononucleosis, more frequently referred to as glandular fever, is a viral virus that can afflict people of any age, but is most prevalent in young adults and teenagers. Swollen eyes might be an indication of an infection in its early stages. If you feel you may have glandular fever, you should consult your GP or go to A&E immediately.


Allergic reactions such as hay fever and dust allergies may also contribute to puffy, swollen eyelids. This is thought to occur because one of the chemicals released by your body in response to an allergic reaction – histamine – may dilate and expand the blood vessels in your eye, as well as itch, red, and moisten your eyes.


Blepharitis is an inflammatory disorder of the eyelids. Additionally, you may have discomfort, itching, and a gritty or burning sensation in your eyes. Blepharitis is usually innocuous and can be controlled with proper eye hygiene.


Often referred to as red eye or pink eye, conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva of the eye becomes inflamed, resulting in red, itchy, gritty eyes and, in some cases, puffy, bulging eyelids. It can be caused by a bacterial, viral, or allergic infection and may begin with only one eye before spreading to the other. Therapy for conjunctivitis is determined on the underlying cause; in some cases, no treatment is required, while in others, your GP may prescribe an ointment or steroid drops.

Thyroid problems

Face and eye swelling can be a sign of an underactive or overactive thyroid gland, as well as a thyroid disorder called thyroid eye disease (TED).

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According to the British Thyroid Foundation, TED can induce inflammation of the eye muscles and fatty tissue behind the eyes, resulting in red, puffy, and occasionally bulging eyelids. TED is most frequently associated with Graves’ disease-related hyperthyroidism, but it can also occur in some cases of hypothyroidism. Individuals with TED symptoms require specialized therapy from an endocrinologist or ophthalmologist, although the British Thyroid Foundation notes that some high-quality eye treatments can help alleviate symptoms in the interim.

When is eye puffiness a cause for concern?

Swollen eyes are a rare symptom of a more serious underlying illness. Puffy eyes may indicate kidney disease or a dangerous condition known as periorbital cellulitis, both of which require prompt treatment. Prolonged swelling may also be a sign of anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction. Additionally, you may notice swelling in other areas of your face and difficulties breathing if you are suffering from anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic shock requires quick medical attention.

Managing swollen eyes can be challenging, but following this approach should make it a bit simpler. If swelling and puffiness persist or if your symptoms worsen, it is always recommended to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.

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