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"Why are the areas under my eyes so puffy and swollen?"


Under both of my eyes the skin has become puffy and swollen. It isn't red but is a little dark because it is always a little dark under my eyes. Never this puffy though. Could it be an allergic reaction to something?


Swelling or puffiness under the eyes is a common complaint and can be very frustrating. It can become worse as a person ages as the tissues and muscles around the eyes become more weak allowing fat to protrude through. Fluid can also accumulate in the space.

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Rarely, eye puffiness can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so you should discuss this problem with your primary care doctor. There are various causes of increased under eye swelling including fluid retention from increased salt intake, sleeping flat on your back, not getting enough sleep, and allergies. If you have a history of allergies or your under-eye puffiness is associated with eye redness, watering, or itching, then you should ask your primary care doctor about allergy medications and other possible therapies. Depending on the cause of you under eye edema definitive treatment will differ. Examples are allergy medications, sleeping with your head elevated, and obtaining at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night (the appropriate amount of sleep for the average adult). If you currently have increased puffiness, you could try a cool compress. This can be done with a washcloth and cool water. Put the damp cloth under your eye for a few minutes with mild pressure. Cucumbers and cold tea bags are often suggested for the same cooling effect to help decrease the edema. If under-eye puffiness is a recurrent or chronic problem, you should follow up with your primary care doctor to ensure there are no other serious problems and to consider possible allergy medications, skin treatments, and eyelid surgery.

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