What Causes Puffy Eyes and How to Get Rid of Them

22 January 2021

Author: Alex

What Causes Puffy Eyes and How to Get Rid of Them

At some point in our lives, we'll experience puffy red bags under our eyes, and while this may have already happened to you, there's nothing to say it won't come back again and in some cases remain there permanently. In this blog, we'll be looking at why puffy bags occur under our eyes and whether it is something to be concerned about.

What are puffy eyes?

Puffy eyes (also known as bags) appear when mild swelling or puffiness occurs under the eye. It's very common, and normally, nothing to worry over, but the appearance isn't usually favoured by most. The reason swelling and discolouration around the eyes can seem quite prominent is because the skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin on the body.

What causes puffy eyes?

Temporary factors will usually bring on an excessive accumulation of fluids, called oedema, in the skin tissue surrounding the eye. There are many factors which can bring on puffiness, such as working long hours at a computer screen, heating, air-conditioning and pollution. Other temporary factors could be

  • allergies 
  • crying
  • dehydration
  • exhaustion and lack of sleep
  • stress

These causes are easily treatable, and symptoms will only last for a short amount of time. There are, however, more permanent factors as to why puffiness or swelling occurs around the eyes which would need a medical procedure to eliminate symptoms, ageing being the main culprit. 

For many, as we age, the tissues around our eyes and some muscles supporting the eyelids weaken. The fat that helps support the eyes will then move into the lower eyelid area, resulting in the lids emerging puffy and swollen. The appearance of puffy bags may also be due to inherited facial features past through family members. 

Are puffy eyes a sign of a medical condition?

When puffy eyes occur suddenly, it could indicate an underlying medical problem. Thyroid eye disease can cause swelling of skin and muscles around the eyes. Puffiness could also indicate an eye infection such as conjunctivitis

Are puffy eyes a sign of Covid-19?

According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, studies suggest that the coronavirus can bring on conjunctivitis, which inflicts the symptom of puffy eyes. However, the research reveals the eye infection only shows up in 1% to 3% of COVID-19 patients. 

How to get rid of puffy eyes

Depending on what is causing the puffy eyes, there are many approaches you can take to reduce swelling. If the cause of puffiness is temporary, then home remedies may hasten the reduction of inflammation.

  • Cold compresses: Cooling the area decreases puffiness by reducing blood flow. You can place cold objects, such as refrigerated spoons, an ice pack, or chilled cucumber slices over closed eyes for a few moments, or until you see the swelling go down.
  • Caffeine: By narrowing blood vessels and calming skin, caffeine can reduce under-eye swelling. Many eye creams contain caffeine as an ingredient to reduce puffiness. Another alternative would be resting chilled tea bags such as caffeinated black tea on closed eyes for a few minutes.

Source: Medical News Today

What treatments are available for permanent bags under eyes?

For cases where swollen bags under eyes are persistent and won't go away, cosmetic eye surgery may be the best solution.

At Ultralase, we offer lower lid surgery which will help eliminate puffy bags under the eyes permanently. This is achieved by removing the excess skin and fat deposits beneath the eye for a less tired look. The procedure usually takes 1-2 hours and is performed by our oculoplastic surgeon, Dr Almousa.


If you would like to find out more about our lower lid surgery procedures, please call us on 0800 988 6390 or email us at enquires@ultralase.com.

Back to Blog