When puffy eyes strike, you might look like you’ve been crying or as if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in who-knows-how-long. In some cases, puffiness under the eyes is temporary and is simply due to fluid buildup in the area. In other cases, puffiness is permanent and is the result of pockets of fat in the under-eye area.
Whether you’re dealing with short- or long-term puffiness near the eyes, there are a few things you can do to resolve the problem. The first thing to do? Figure out what’s causing the puffiness.
What Causes Puffiness?
A few different factors can contribute to a puffy under-eye area. Allergies are one potential cause. If you have hay fever or seasonal allergies, you might notice that you develop bags under your eyes around the same time you’re sneezing and blowing your nose.
Puffiness in the eye area due to allergies occurs when allergens come into contact with your eyes. The allergens can cause inflammation, making your under-eye area swell. Often, when allergies are to blame for your puffy eyes, you’ll also have itchy eyes and some tearing or wateriness.
Another cause of puffiness near the eyes is the way you sleep. If you regularly sleep on your side or stomach, gravity can push fluid into the area beneath your eyes, causing it to build up as you catch your forty winks.
Your diet might also play a role in puffiness. Eating a lot of salty foods or drinking alcoholic beverages can dehydrate your body, causing fluid to collect below your eyes.
In many cases, though, puffiness under the eyes is just another sign of aging. As you get older, the skin beneath your eyes gets thinner. Fat below the eyes also tends to shift, occasionally forming fatty deposits below the eyes. The result is those all-too-familiar “bags” beneath the eye area that just won’t go away.
Dealing With Puffy Eyes at Home
Although puffy eyes are annoying and can affect your appearance and self-esteem, they can often be dealt with at home, depending on their cause.
If you get puffy eyes because of an allergic reaction, taking an antihistamine or nasal decongestant can help to reduce the swelling. Avoiding any known allergens can also help you keep puffiness away.
If you’re a stomach or side sleeper and you regularly wake up with a swollen under-eye area, changing how you sleep might help. Try sleeping on your back. To elevate your head, add another pillow to your bed.
Changing your diet might also help to reduce puffiness. Cutting back on sodium and drinking less alcohol are both good ideas. You might also want to increase the amount of water you drink, to help your body stay hydrated.
Surgery Might Be an Option
If at-home remedies aren’t resolving your puffiness or if you still find that you have bags beneath your eyes despite changing your diet and sleep habits, you might want to consider other options to deal with the issue. When “puffiness” beneath the eyes is really the result of fat deposits in the under-eye area, lower eyelid blepharoplasty might be the most effective treatment option for you.
Blepharoplasty is surgery on the eyelids. During lower eyelid surgery, your plastic surgeon will make an incision just below the lash line or inside the eyelid. They will then remove or redistribute excess fat and skin from the area beneath the eye. After the area has healed, visible bags or puffiness will be greatly diminished.
Surgery is usually recommended to people who are in good overall health and either don’t have any medical conditions or have those conditions under control. Recovery after eyelid surgery can take between one and two weeks. During that time, you’ll want to stay home from work and refrain from strenuous activities, such as going to the gym.
Depending on your particular concerns, you can combine a lower eyelid blepharoplasty with upper eyelid surgery to completely rejuvenate the eye area. You can also combine the surgery with another procedure, such as a facelift or brow lift, or Botox, to resolve crow’s feet and other dynamic wrinkles.
You don’t have to go through life with puffy eyes. In Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas, a board-certified plastic surgeon, offers patients blepharoplasty and other rejuvenating procedures. During a consultation, he can examine your under-eye area and let you know what your options are. To learn more, call 281-484-0088 to schedule an appointment today.