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Swollen and Puffy Eyes (Bags Under Eyes)

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Swollen and Puffy Eyes (Bags Under Eyes)

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Swollen and puffy eyes result from temporary conditions and maybe a combination of lack of sleep, chronic stress, poor diet, fatigue, etc. Please read the article to know the causes, symptoms, and treatment for bags under the eyes.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Akshay Uday Nayak

Published At August 28, 2021
Reviewed AtDecember 27, 2023

What Are Swollen and Puffy Eyes?

Swollen and puffy eyes are mild swelling under the eyes, and they are common with aging. As we age, the tissues and some of the muscles around the eyes weaken. The eyes are supported with normal fat, but with aging, they move into the lower eyelids and make them puffy. Also, fluid accumulation in the available space below the eyes adds to the swelling.

This puffiness under the eyes actually creates a cosmetic concern, and in rare cases, it may be a sign of a severe underlying medical condition. It can be treated with cool compresses in the home, and when it is persistent and bothersome, eyelid surgery is an option.

What Are the Causes of Swollen and Puffy Eyes?

Swollen and puffy eyes occur due to the changes in the fat bag, which tend to develop gradually over time, though not always. They are,

  • Aging - As we age, the muscles supporting the eyelids sag, fat in the lower eyelid moves downward, and gravity generally shifts everything downward over the hills and valleys below the eye.

  • Genetics - Inherited causes tend to be long-term and difficult to resolve, and they are often permanent problems without a natural solution.

Also, changes in the fluid bag cause puffy eyes, and it tends to be of shorter duration and more rapid onset. They can be due to,

  • Nutrition, poor diet, and especially foods that increase fluid retention, such as salty foods.

  • Seasonal and other allergies, including food allergies.

  • Environmental sensitivities.

  • Lack of sleep.

  • Stress.

The other causes are as follows:

1) The following medications cause swollen and puffy eyes. They are:

  1. Medications that affect sleep patterns.

  2. Long-term use of painkillers that cause adrenal fatigue.

  3. Long-term use of antibiotics that affect proper digestion.

  4. ACE inhibitors, such as Benazepril (Lotensin), Captopril, Enalapril (Vasotec), Fosinopril, Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), Moexipril, Perindopril (Aceon), Quinapril (Accupril), Ramipril (Altace), and Trandolapril (Mavik).

  • Thyroid and kidney problems may occasionally cause baggy eyes and dark circles under the eyes.

  • Adrenal deficiency may be a cause, such as excessive stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, or medications.

What Are the Symptoms of Swollen and Puffy Eyes?

The symptoms of swollen and puffy eyes are,

The intensity of the eye puffiness depends on the cause. The puffy eyes due to genetics are difficult to resolve and could be more permanent. They may appear overnight, develop over time, and stay for as long as the underlying cause is unresolved.

How Are Swollen and Puffy Eyes (Bags Under Eyes) Managed?

Bags under the eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and do not require specific treatment, though they may indicate underlying health concerns.

1. Conventional Treatments:

  • Rest.

  • Allergy medications for hay fever and other sensitivities.

  • Surgical interventions such as laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and fillers may improve skin tone and tighten the skin.

  • Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is an option to remove bags under the eyes, which is usually an outpatient procedure. The risks of eyelid surgery include dry eyes and eye infection (resulting in problems with vision, tear ducts, and eyelid repositioning).

2. Home Remedies:

Natural approaches are the best when the bagginess under the eyes is due to lifestyle considerations rather than hereditary. This is because sometimes they are a symptom caused by poor diet, lack of sleep, chronic stress, and more. If the bagginess is due to these causes or other health issues such as allergies, hypothyroidism, and chronic fatigue syndrome, etc., natural approaches are more beneficial.

  • Sufficient sleep, managing stress, and a healthy diet are the simplest home remedies.

  • As part of natural eye care, the healing aspects of flowers and plants are frequently used to treat minor problems, such as puffiness under the eyes.

  • Drink plenty of pure water. Minimize sugar, salt, and refined carbohydrates; juicing is a great way to get plant-based nutrients.

  • Massage around your eyes if you want to help move circulation and energy. Constant rubbing of your eyes can end up breaking small blood vessels around the eyes, possibly resulting in a tired look. Rubbing may also damage the cornea and increase the risk of infection.

  • Besides causing circulatory problems, smoking can cause a thinning of skin due to interference with blood flow to the skin. So, avoid smoking as the smoke rising from the cigarette can also aggravate the eyes. Smoking also depletes the body of essential nutrients such as vitamin C that is essential in repairing skin.

  • If you sleep on your side or stomach, try sleeping on your back and even add an extra pillow under your head.

  • Use a natural sunscreen, specially made for the face, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, but preferably 20. Use all day and every day to protect the skin under your eyes.

  • If you suffer from hay fever or allergies, a neti pot may help reduce excess fluid buildup.

  • Remove makeup before you go to bed.

  • You can slightly plump up your skin using a good moisturizer that contains vitamin C, licorice, or fennel and stabilized oxygen.

  • Close your eyes and place a cold washcloth for about five minutes, several times a day. This can improve circulation and slightly reduce the puffiness that some people experience.

  • Alternate a hot (but comfortable) washcloth with a cold washcloth under your eyes for 10 minutes to increase circulation.

3. Old Remedies:

  • Apply cucumber to the skin around the eyes, especially if the skin is looking dry. Leaving the slices on the skin for at least fifteen minutes while relaxing will make your eyes look new.

  • Apply crushed mint around the eye.

  • Rub the area with a powdered Vitamin E capsule and wipe off with a mixture of honey and egg white.

  • Astringent egg white tightens your pores and reduces bagginess. Egg whites have lots of vitamin B that promotes good circulation, and reduces inflammation. Apply half a teaspoon of one raw egg white on the clean, dry skin around your eyes. Do not let it get into your eyes. Leave it on for about 15 minutes until it dries, and then rinse well with warm water.


Whether you try conventional remedies, or home remedies, or surgery to remove the bags under the eyes, talk to your doctor first before trying anything. This condition is harmless, but getting a professional opinion can tell you which option is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Cause for Puffy Eyes Every Morning?

The skin under the eyes is very thin. When there is sleep deprivation, the blood vessels get enlarged and are more reddish-blue. This gives a puffy appearance to eyes every morning. Another reason for puffy eyes in the early morning is fluid retention. When the position of the head is not high during sleep, fluid gets accumulated under the eyes and gives a puffy appearance.


Which Food Items Leads to Puffiness of the Eyes?

Fast foods, tomatoes, eggplant, canned foods, wheat bread, dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, hot pepper, sugar, etc., cause puffiness of the eyes.


Which Medical Conditions Cause Puffy Eyes?

Certain medical conditions such as allergies, stye, chalazion, orbital cellulitis, eye cancer, thyroid problems, genetics, mononucleosis, trauma to the eye, conditions causing fluid retention in the body, etc., lead to puffy eyes.


How to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes?

Having a good night’s sleep helps in reducing the puffiness of the eyes. Raising the head and sleeping helps in reducing the pooling of water under the eyes. If the puffiness is caused due to allergies, then treatment for allergy will help in reducing puffiness. Increased intake of water, reducing salt intake, avoiding alcohol, using a cool compress on the eyes, etc., help reduce the puffiness of the eyes.


How Much Time Is It Required to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes?

The puffiness of the eyes usually gets reduced within one day. If the puffiness stays longer than 48 hours, it is essential to get it checked with a doctor.


Will Lemon Help in Reducing Puffy Eyes?

The application of lemon juice with a cotton ball around the eyes for ten minutes helps in reducing the puffiness of the eyes. Vitamin-C present in the lemon juice removes the toxins, thus reducing the puffiness. Lemon also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing the puffiness under the eyes.


What Is the Permanent Solution for Puffy Eyes?

A permanent solution for puffy eyes or eye bags is a lower eyelid surgery known as blepharoplasty. In this procedure, the fat in the lower eyelid is adjusted, and the muscles are tightened, creating a smooth eye appearance.


Which Drinks or Fresh Juices Help in Reducing Puffy Eyes?

Ginger orange juice, berry juice, cucumber spinach juice, etc., help in reducing the puffy eyes. These juices have an anti-inflammatory effect, and they help in reducing the swelling around the eyes.


Will Eye Exercises Help in Reducing Puffy Eyes?

Physical exercises help in strengthening and increasing the flexibility of the body muscles. Eye and facial exercises help to tone and tighten the facial muscles, thus helping in reducing puffy eyes.


Is Swollen Eyes a Serious Condition?

Swelling of eyes that are harmless gets reduced within one or two days. If the swelling does not get down under 48 hours, it is better to visit an eye specialist as there might be some serious condition responsible for the swelling of the eyes.


What Can Be Done to Reduce Puffy Eyes From Crying?

Crying for long-duration causes rupture of small blood vessels around the eye and will lead to fluid retention around the eyes due to increased blood flow, resulting in puffy eyes. Application of cold compress, cucumber, tea bags, chilled face cream, serum, witch hazel plant, gentle massage, etc., helps in reducing swelling.


How to Reduce Swelling Around the Eyes Caused Due to Allergies?

Allergies cause swelling of the eyes as the immune system produces histamines to fight the allergens. These histamines lead to tearing and excess fluid production around the eyes, leading to puffiness of the eyes. Cold compresses, antihistamine medications, rinsing of the eyes, removal of contact lens, etc., helps in reducing the swelling.
Dr. Akshay Uday Nayak
Dr. Akshay Uday Nayak

Ophthalmology (Eye Care)


puffy eyes
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