Periorbital edema is a term for swelling around the eyes. The area around the eyes is called the eye socket or eye orbit. Sometimes people refer to this condition as periorbital puffiness or puffy eyes.
You can have periorbital edema in just one eye or both at the same time. Read on to learn what periorbital edema can look like, its symptoms, and the treatment.
The main cause of periorbital edema is inflammation that causes fluid buildup around the eye. This condition can come on quickly (acutely) or over an extended period of time (chronically). Some common causes for periorbital edema include:
|mononucleosis||“Mono” is a viral disease that can cause periorbital edema in the early stages of infection.|
|irregular sleep||Too little or too much sleep can cause fluid retention.|
|high-salt diet||Consuming lots of salty foods can lead to fluid retention.|
|high alcohol consumption||Alcohol can cause dehydration, which can lead to fluid retention.|
|smoking||Smoking cigarettes can lead to hormonal imbalances causing fluid retention.|
|allergies||Allergic reactions can cause inflammation of the small blood vessels (capillaries) around the eyes.|
|skin disorders||Skin disorders that cause skin inflammation can result in periorbital edema.|
|aging||Getting older naturally causes the body to lose more water throughout the day, and this can cause fluid retention.|
|crying||Crying irritates the eyes, causing inflammation that can result in temporary periorbital edema.|
|thyroid disorders||Thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause fluid retention in the body, including around the eyes.|
|periorbital cellulitis||Periorbital cellulitis is a serious skin condition caused by infection and inflammation of the eyelid and the skin around the eyes. This can result in periorbital edema. This condition may require emergency treatment if symptoms last beyond two to three days.|
|Chagas disease||This infection is caused by a tropical insect called a kissing bug. It can cause swelling on one side of the body. The swelling usually isn’t painful.|
|nephrotic syndrome||This condition is caused by problems in the kidneys, which cause fluid retention.|
|trichinosis||This is a condition caused by a roundworm found in some raw or undercooked pork, and can cause inflammation of the eyes.|
|dysfunctional tear glands||Clogged or malfunctioning tear glands can cause inflammation around the eyes.|
|obstruction of the superior vena cava||An obstruction of part of the heart called the superior vena cava can cause blood to build up in body parts above the heart, resulting in periorbital edema.|
|conjunctivitis||Also called pink eye, this viral disease causes inflammation and redness of the eyes.|
|trauma to the eye||Any injury near the eye socket can cause inflammation and redness of the eye orbit, resulting in periorbital edema.|
Your doctor will try to determine the underlying cause of the inflammation. They’ll ask you questions about your medical history and perform a physical exam. Depending on your symptoms, they may also order additional tests such as:
- blood tests that check specifically for infection and thyroid abnormalities
- allergy tests
- skin biopsy
- imaging tests like CT and MRI scans
Treatment of each case of periorbital edema depends on the cause. Generally, the following home treatments are recommended for all cases of periorbital edema:
- following a low-salt diet
- increasing water intake
- placing a cold compress on your eyes for a few minutes at a time
Some commonly prescribed medical treatments include:
Applied topically or taken orally, these can help reduce inflammation around the eyes.
Also applied topically or taken orally, these can reduce inflammation and pain.
These help stop allergic reactions.
Adrenaline or epinephrine
These are used when emergency life-saving treatment is needed to address an anaphylactic reaction.
These treat infections that can cause periorbital edema.
Periorbital edema can be an uncomfortable condition that reduces your ability to perform everyday tasks. But with time, medical treatment, and home care, you can completely recover from this condition.