Puffy eyelids make a person look tired and aged, making it a common complaint among men and women of all ages. This bothersome condition may be secondary to a systemic condition, such as renal failure or poorly managed hypertension. It may also be caused by congestion around the eyes due to chronic allergies. Finally, puffy eyelids are normal after surgical procedures near the eyes. Whatever the cause, patients who experience this symptom want to know how to treat it.
Puffy eyelids are not always swollen
Patients may confuse puffy eyelids for swelling, but this is not always the case. Swelling occurs when there is an allergic or infectious condition that is causing inflammation in the area. It is generally associated with significant irritation, pain, and tenderness in the eyelids. True inflammation does not wax and wane; instead, it worsens with time. Eyelid swelling due to inflammation is prevalent with atopic dermatitis, bacterial or viral infection of the skin around the eye, or after an eyelid operation. An eyelid surgeon or experienced dermatologist should examine the eyelids to determine the cause of the inflammation and the correct treatment.
Causes of puffy eyelids and their treatments
Puffy eyelids have several causes. Bags under the eyes may give the appearance of “swelling” or puffiness. This is usually worse in the morning or after exercise. For these cases, a lower eyelid blepharoplasty may significantly improve the appearance of puffiness and rejuvenate the entire eye area. This is a surgical procedure designed to remove bags and improve eyelid structural integrity.
Patients with chronic allergies may also have significant puffiness under their eyes. This puffiness is secondary to congestion in the tissues around the eyes. Many FDA-approved products claim to improve the swelling and puffiness around the eyes; however, some of these products should be avoided as they may worsen the condition in the long run. Consult with your doctor before trying these products.
Swollen eyelids after aesthetic and reconstructive surgery are also quite common. In these cases, the accumulation of fluid in the tissues, called lymphatic edema, is the culprit. This swelling may last from a few weeks to several months and is generally worse in the morning. Lymphatic edema responds very well to lymphatic drainage therapy or massage. Numerous sessions are required for swelling to resolve because lymphatic vessels need to grow back. However, in cases of multiple operations around the eyes, especially reconstructive surgery, lymphatic edema may last years.
Your oculoplastic surgeon can help you choose the best treatment
Regardless of the cause, an oculoplastic surgeon (eyelid specialist) can help you choose the best alternative to get rid of the puffiness around your eyes. Your doctor will first examine the area and, after making a diagnosis, will recommend the best treatment.