Puffy Eyes Treatments


Puffy Eyes Treatments

For some reason when I wake up in the morning my eyes look and feel puffy. I go to bed early and wake up around 5 A.M. My eyes feel like they are burning as if they were tired. Is there something I can do to feel rejuvenated in the morning?

Debbie W AZ

puffy eyes treatments


When it comes to puffy eyes, it is best to be proactive and look for a permanent solution by ascertaining what the primary cause is rather than being reactive and trying to correct it later. 

The eyelids are very sensitive and can easily become irritated, red and puffy, but don’t despair; it is easier to get rid of puffy eyes than you may realize especially minor puffiness. Minor puffiness is the kind that you notice when you wake up, but is then reduced or eliminated by mid-morning as gravity drains the fluid that has accumulated throughout the night.

Symptoms of Puffy Eyes or Swollen Eyes:

  • Puffiness or swelling of the upper and lower eyelids, usually in the morning.
  • Occasionally accompanied by itching and/or redness.
  • Inability to open or close the eyes.
  • Dark circles accompanied by sagging skin under the eyes.
  • Bags or excessive skin under the eyes that appears to puff out or hang.

Causes of Puffy Eyes

Puffy eyes are a condition where the eyes begin swelling due to different factors. The skin around the eyes is very thin and is full of blood vessels which make it very sensitive. Usually puffy eyes will go away after a little bit of time or some treatments done at home. However, puffy eyes are also symptoms of other eye conditions that may require examination by an eye care professional. In cases where puffy eyes are severe and persistent or are accompanied by pain, discomfort, blurry vision, or other conditions, an optometrist should be contacted about the problem.

Puffy eyes after sleeping. may be caused by different factors such as too much sodium in a diet causing water retention, tossing and turning and not getting enough sleep, excessive drinking of alcohol. Here are some of the other specific factors that you can look at so you can start to eliminate some of the possibilities:

  • Edema or fluid retention due to eating salty foods or foods high in sodium prior to going to bed. It may also be caused by hormone levels or changes in weather
  • Dehydration. When the body gets dehydrated it begins storing up water, which can cause puffy eyes.
  • Drinking alcohol. Alcohol can cause puffy eyes because it lowers anti-diuretic hormones (ADH) in the body, but the levels will normalize and the puffiness will usually subside at about the same time your hangover subsides. Remember that alcohol causes dehydration, so drink plenty of water.
  • Insufficient sleep.
  • Allergies. If your puffy eyes are accompanied by redness and itching, the cause may be associated with an allergy. Possible contributing factors include feather pillows, linen fabric, face-creams, dust, pollen, or food.
  • Aging. As you get older the skin begins to lose elasticity, causing swollen eyes.
  • Hormonal changes. The days just before and during menstruation cause hormone levels to fluctuate, this can result in water retention around the eyelids.
  • High blood pressure, which pushes fluids into the tissue around the eyes, can result in swelling.
  • Eyelid dermatitis, a rash on the skin which just affects the eyelids, that is usually caused by an allergic reaction to make-up or skin-care products.
  • Possible diseases.
    • Blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelid
    • Orbital cellulitis, an infection of the orbital tissue
    • Chalazions, small tumors on the eyelid that are benign
    • Kidney infections
    • Thyroid problems
  • Medication Reactions. Drugs such as lithium that cause the thyroid to become less productive can also result in swollen eyes.
  • Heredity or genetic disposition. Puffy eyes sometimes runs in families
  • Emotional Tears: When we cry, it is often accompanied by swollen eyes. This is due to the fact that are body reacts to emotions and causes more blood to flow through the eyes which leads to swelling. The production of too many emotional tears can strain the eyes.
  • Emotional or Physical Stress 
  • Irritation from contact lenses
  • Sinus problems

Puffy Eye Prevention:

Stay hydrated: Ensure that you consume enough fluids – aim for 8 to 10 glasses a day and try to pay attention so that when you’re thirsty you remember to drink If you feel thirsty, you already are dehydrated. When properly hydrated, your urine will be nearly clear. (Keep in mind that some vitamins, drugs and foods can alter the color of your urine.) Some women retain water prior to their menstrual cycle and in certain individuals this may appear around the eyelids. You can help by trying to maintain hormonal balance – eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in glycemic foods.

Reduce your salt intake. The body can only store salt in fluid suspension. This will be stored in the skin around your eyes. Processed foods contain high levels of sodium, unhealthy saturated fats and chemicals including gluten than may contribute to inflammation. Over time consumption of too many processed foods can leave the body sluggish and unable to eliminate waste efficiently.

Limit intake of alcohol

Never sleep wearing eye make-up. Gently remove your makeup every night no matter how tired you may be. Use a gentle eye make-up remover and continue until the cotton ball or pad shows no signs of make-up. Use a cotton pad rather than a tissue because it is less irritating. Removing eye make-up will prevent it from entering the eyelid and causing irritation.

Eliminate potential allergens which may include feather pillows, fabrics, face creams, dust, pollen or some foods. Take an antihistamine if you need to.

Beware of bacteria. Do not use mascara or any other eye product that is older than a few months. Bacteria that have grown in the make-up may go into your eyes, and cause your eyelids to swell. For your own safety, do not share your eye products with anyone.

Be sure you get enough quality, regular sleep. Be sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night, because too little sleep will lead to dark circles and puffiness.

Sleep with your head elevated to allow better circulation and prevent fluid from collecting around your eyes.

Sleep on your back so that gravity does not route fluid directly to your eyes.

Anti-aging: Though genetics and past behavior (like excessive exposure to the sun) cannot be changed, there are ways to slow them down. Skin loses elasticity as we age causing swelling around the eyes. Use a good eye cream that contains UVA/UVB blocking sunscreen around the eye area. Make sure it indicates that it may be used around the eyes. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and take a supplements if needed.

Opps their puffy again

You may have slipped up on prevention, or you may not have yet determined what is causing your puffy eyes. The skin around and under the eyes is very thin and very sensitive to changes in the body, especially changes related to the retention or distribution of water. Puffiness in or around the eyes is often noticeable upon awaking in the morning, but it can be experienced at any time during the day. Most occurrences of puffy eyes are intermittent and irregular and can be cured easily and non-surgically. So how can you eliminate the puffy eyes? 

  • Wear an eye mask that is filled with cold water or gel for a few minutes when you wake up in the morning. Keep it in the refrigerator or freezer so that it will be ready when you need it.
  • Wrap pieces of ice or frozen peas in paper towels and place them on your eyelids for a few minutes. The cold will reduce the swelling.
  • Keep your eye creams in the refrigerator. The cool cream will help reduce your puffy eyes. When applying the cream, gently tap it onto your eyelid with your ring finger, so as to stimulate fluid drainage. Talk to your Aesthetician about which cream is right for your eye concerns.
  • Keep two teaspoons in the refrigerator and when you have an attack of the swollen eyelids; rest them on your eyelids for a minimum of one minute or until they warm up.
  • Soak cotton pads in a bowl of ice-cold milk and then squeeze most of the liquid out. Place the pads on your eyes and repeat as they warm up for about 15 minutes. This will also brighten the white in your eye.
  • Dip cotton balls in ice water, and then squeeze the water out. Apply the cotton balls to your eyes for 5-10 minutes.
  • Place black or chamomile teabags soaked in cold water on your eyelids for 15 minutes. The tannic acid in tea will constrict the blood vessels and reduce inflammation. To accelerate drainage, gently press from the inside corner to the outside corner of the swollen eye. I also like to use cold green tea bags because the green tea is a great anti oxidant.
  • Place slices of cucumber, potatoes, or apple over the puffy eyelids for 10-15 minutes. Potatoes will reduce dark circles under the eyes and apples have pectin which aids in anti-oxidation.
  • Give your eyes a salt bath by soaking cotton pads in a saline solution or a solution of one teaspoon of salt in one pint of hot water. Place the pads on your puffy eyelids for a few minutes.
  • Gently tap your skin where puffy, as this can encourage fluid build up to release and drain more easily. Ask your Aesthetician to show you the proper procedure.
  • Taking over the counter diuretics can help reduce fluid retention, especially if you experience bloating before your period. Diuretics also lower your blood pressure, so be sure to check with your Doctor first.
  • Apply a hemorrhoid cream to the puffy area around the puffy eye, being EXTREMELY CAREFUL not to get any in your eye. Please note that there is anecdotal evidence that hemorrhoid cream applied under the eyes can reduce puffiness. But no clinical trials have evaluated its effectiveness for this use. Also, ingredients in hemorrhoid cream may be irritating to the skin around your eyes, resulting in dryness and inflammation. Be careful if you utilize this approach. It is thought to work because it contains anti inflammatory, and constricts blood flow to the area.

If symptoms related to puffy eyes are severe, you should notify a physician immediately. Notify a physician if you experience swelling of the eyelids that is 2-3 times their normal size. Swelling may be related to an insect bite or be a severe allergic reaction of some type. Also call a doctor if the swelling and puffiness is to the degree that you cannot close your eyelids all the way because it may be indicative of problems with your thyroid.

Allergy related puffiness can become a permanent condition if not treated and eliminated. When the connective tissues in the eye become damaged from repeated swelling, the skin stretches and becomes looser. This can result in pouches under your eye, called blepharitis, because the fat around the eye has bulged. These pouches do not respond to home remedies like normal, occasional puffiness does. There is a minor surgery that can be performed called “blepharoplasty,” where the surgeon makes a very small incision under the lower eyelid to remove the excess skin, eliminating the pouches.

Article Comments and Input:

This is a very thorough article and I appreciated reading it. Here are a few more suggestions that Debbie may want to consider: She may have just changed the detergent she is using, or have an allergy to a material in her bed sheets, allergies to mold, dust, dust mites, cats/animals would all cause puffy eyes. if that is the case using an hypo allergenic: pillow case, mattress cover, pillow, and bed linens would ameliorate the reaction. As would using natural detergents to wash bed linens.

Thank you again for your informative article.


Ms. Darci Frankel, Spa Owner and Consultant, Senior Ayurveda Practitioner
Hanalei Day Spa and the Ayurveda Center of Hawaii at the Hanalei Colony Resort

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