What are puffy eyes?

Puffy eyes are a common symptom of allergy, infection, inflammation, or even physical irritation. Puffy eyes result from excess fluid (edema) in the soft tissues surrounding the eyes. Puffy eyes may occur in conditions affecting the eye area itself or in association with more generalized conditions, such as colds or hay fever.

Eye Problems Spotlight

Inflammation of the surface of the eye (conjunctivitis) and inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis) are common causes of puffy eyes. Other common causes include crying, lack of sleep, or excessive rubbing of the eyes. Depending on the cause, one or both eyes may be puffy, and the puffiness may be accompanied by redness, pain, itching, excessive tear production, or other types of discharge from the affected eyes.

Allergic reactions can lead to puffiness of both eyes, sometimes accompanied by swelling of the whole face in severe cases such as anaphylactic reactions. In rare cases, puffy eyes are a symptom of serious infections of the soft tissues around or behind the eye, such as orbital cellulitis. The thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease may be accompanied by swelling of the conjunctiva in addition to bulging eyes (proptosis). Injuries or trauma to the eyes, including corneal abrasions, orbital bone fracture, and foreign bodies in the eye, can all cause puffy eyes.

Puffy eyes may bea sign of a serious condition.Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience puffy eyes along with facial swelling, difficulty breathing, or fever. Other symptoms that require immediate medical care include puffy eyes along with eye pain, fever, chills, pus, or redness around the eye. These are symptoms of orbital cellulitis. Untreated, they can rapidly lead to serious complications such as meningitis or a blood infection.

Seek prompt medical careif your puffy eyes are persistent or cause you concern.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with puffy eyes?

Puffy eyes may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Puffy eyes may also involve other body systems.... Read more about puffy eyessymptoms

CAUSES

What causes puffy eyes?

Puffy eyes result from excess fluid in the soft tissues surrounding the eye. Common causes include crying, lack of sleep, or excessive rubbing of the eyes. Allergic reactions also frequently cause puffy eyes. These allergic reactions may be caused by pollen (hay fever), animal dander, foods, or medicines. Personal care products such as make-up, moisturizers, shampoo and soap can cause reactions leading to puffy eyes. Irritation from environmental factors such as smoke, smog or dust can result in puffy eyes.... Read more about puffy eyescauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Allergies and the Immune System