Ever looked at your face in the morning only to find those swollen dark circles under your eyes? Puffy eyes are quite harmless but they can reveal something about your health and lifestyle.
What causes puffy eyes?
Puffy eyes are sometimes referred to as eye bags. These are the swollen and dark circles under the eyes (and even the eyelids) caused by an accumulation of fluids in the tissues around the eyes.
The accumulation of fluids or edema is caused by several factors such as sinus problems and allergies, crying, dryness, alcohol, dehydration, lack of sleep, aging, bloating during the monthly cycle and too much salt in the body. It could also be inherited. They’re more noticeable when we wake up because we don’t blink while we sleep.
Puffy eyes may be accompanied by other symptoms such as itching or burning, redness, and changes in vision.
Should they cause alarm?
Puffy eyes usually go away after a while but it could also happen suddenly for no obvious reasons. If the symptoms include fever, headache, difficulty breathing, more swollen areas of the face and neck, nausea and vomiting, then you should go to a doctor.
Eye infections also cause the eyelids and the surrounding area to swell. Blepharitis is the swelling of the eyelids and the base of the eyelashes sometimes caused by bacteria. If you suspect that you have an eye infection like pink eye or the puffiness has been consistent and accompanied by other other symptoms, visit your ophthalmologist.
More serious conditions such as styes, dermatomyositis, Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism, lupus, conjunctivitis, connective tissue diseases, Nephritic syndrome and kidney failure could also cause puffiness.
How to get rid of them?
Puffy eyes don’t cause significant problems but if you’re worried about your looks there are cosmetic options you can try. There are temporary solutions like skin products and make-up to hide eye bags. You can also reduce the swelling by using eye drops for irritated eyes or place ice compress, cool tea bags or cucumber slices on your closed eyelids or washing your face with cold water. Try to reduce your salt intake and drink more water to keep hydrated. It will also help if you get enough sleep everyday. Not only will that reduce puffiness but improve your looks overall.
Be careful about using eye creams and eye drops. Use them only when you know what’s causing the puffiness. Avoid hemorrhoid creams because the risks are greater than the benefits. There are creams with aloe that help reduce swelling.
If the puffiness is caused by aging, you can try skin resurfacing, blepharosplasty or eyelid surgery, and chemical peels.
How to avoid puffiness?
Don’t rub your eyes when they’re itchy because that will cause irritation. You should avoid irritants and too much physical contact around your eyes.
Get enough sleep everyday, drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. Reduce the salt in your diet too.
If you have allergies, avoid triggers and use doctor-prescribed antihistamines.