What you can do about puffy eyes
There are many ways to help reduce puffiness around your eyes. Some remedies are simple, like drinking more water. Others are more involved, like getting cosmetic surgery. Here are some tips and tricks to try to get rid of puffy eyes.
1. Get enough sleep
Logging a good night’s sleep regularly will help you reduce your puffy eyes. Adults need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. To ensure you’re sleeping enough, create a bedtime routine and stick to it.
It’s important to remember that your bedtime routine actually starts long before you lay down to sleep.
Experts suggest that to get a good night’s rest, you should:
- Stick to a sleep schedule.
- Stop drinking caffeine at least 6 to 12 hours before bedtime.
- Stop drinking alcohol close to bedtime.
- Finish eating dinner about 2 hours before bedtime.
- Finish exercising several hours before bedtime.
- Turn off electronics 1 hour before bedtime.
2. Prop yourself up
Sleep with a few pillows under your head to avoid fluid settling around your eyes. If you’re unable to sleep at an angle on a wedge pillow or stack of pillows, try raising the head of your bed a bit for the same effect.
To do this, put a stack of books or other wedge under the feet of your bed on the side where you rest your head. If you notice a difference in how often or how severe your eyes get puff up, consider a more stable solution like bed risers.
3. Address your allergies
Talk with your doctor if you have year-round or seasonal allergies. Allergies can cause your eyes to redden, swell, and puff up. This prompts you to rub your eyes more, resulting in further puffiness. Your doctor can help create a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. This may include eye drops and over-the-counter or prescription medication.
4. Drink enough water
Eye puffiness can be the result of dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of water every day to keep your skin healthy. The general rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
To stay on track, consider setting an hourly reminder on your phone. You can also use a refillable water bottle marked with specific times to help you drink enough water throughout the day.
5. Avoid alcohol
Try to limit or avoid alcohol and other drinks that can make you dehydrated. Dehydration can result in puffy eyes, so have a glass of water instead.
If you’re tired of plain water, infusing it with fresh fruit is a great way to stay hydrated and refreshed. Try adding your fruit of choice to a custom water bottle for infused water that lasts all day long.
6. Pass on the salt
Eating too much salt can cause additional fluid retention in your body. It can also lead to other health problems, like a greater risk of heart problems and stroke. The current percent daily value for sodium is 2,400 milligrams (mg). However, the American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium to 1,500 mg per day.
As much as 75 percent of sodium found in American diets comes from processed or restaurant foods. To reduce your salt intake, steer clear of cured meats, cheese, pickles, and other processed foods. Prepackaged foods like instant soups are often high in sodium. Reading labels can help you identify excessive amounts of salt.
Instead, eat more whole foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits.
7. Eat more potassium
Potassium can help reduce excess fluids in your body, so you may want to ramp up your potassium intake. You can do this by adding bananas, beans, yogurt, and leafy greens to your diet.
If you’re already eating a potassium-rich diet, talk to your doctor about whether your potassium level is fine as is or if you can safely add a daily potassium supplement to your routine.
8. Use a cool compress
A cool washcloth that you rest on your eyelids for about 10 minutes can reduce eye puffiness. This can help drain excess fluid from under your eye. A compress of green or black tea bags may also do the trick. The tea contains antioxidants that can constrict blood vessels and reduce puffiness.
9. Try an eye cream
There are many eye creams on the market that may help puffiness. Some ingredients to look for in an eye cream include chamomile, cucumber, and arnica. They contain properties that may reduce inflammation and tighten the skin. Caffeine in eye creams and makeup may also help reduce puffy eyes.
10. Talk to your doctor about cosmetic surgery
If your eye puffiness is severe, and if lifestyle changes or other remedies don’t work, you may want to consider cosmetic surgery. One type of surgery is blepharoplasty, which is eyelid surgery. This procedure involves a doctor moving or removing excess fat, muscle, and skin in your eyelid.
Your doctor may also have recommendations for laser treatments, chemical peels, or prescription medications to help serious cases of puffy eyes.
What causes puffy eyes
One of the main causes of puffy eyes is aging. The skin under your eyes is very thin, which augments any changes that may occur in your body as you age. Over time, the tissue in your eyelids can weaken. This can cause fat in your upper eyelid to fall, coming to rest in your lower eyelid.
Fluid may also be more likely to get trapped in your lower eyelid as you age. Fluid retention is known as edema. The thin skin around your eyelid can cause fluid retention to be very prominent, resulting in puffy eyes.
You may notice that your eyes appear puffier when you get up in the morning. This could be the result of edema. Once you awaken and begin blinking, you may notice your eyes start to look less puffy.
In addition to aging, there are other reasons you may have puffy eyes:
- fluid retention
- too much sun
- not enough sleep
- unhealthy diet
- other health conditions
When to see your doctor
Puffy eyes generally aren’t a sign of a serious medical condition. However, you should contact your doctor if you have:
- long-lasting puffy eyes
- pain, irritation, or severe swelling in or around your eye
- symptoms in other areas of your body
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, your puffy eyes could be the sign of a more serious health condition. This includes:
- conjunctivitis, or pink eye
- blepharitis, or eyelid inflammation
- ptosis, or drooping eyelids
- thyroid eye disease
The bottom line
You may notice puffy eyes as you age or for a temporary reason, such as lack of sleep, poor diet, or seasonal allergies. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits may improve your puffy eyes in just a short period of time.
If you experience chronic eye puffiness, talk to your doctor about treatment options like cosmetic surgery. In some instances, puffy eyes may be the sign of a more serious condition. Consult your doctor if you suspect your puffy eyes may be a sign of something else.