Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles – Causes and Treatment

Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles – Causes and Treatment

Puffy eyes and dark circles under the eyes occur for many reasons. They may be the result of eye fatigue (a night of bad sleep), stress, allergies, or a genetic inheritance. Certain home remedies such as soothing cucumber slices may temporarily relieve puffy eyes, but in order to prevent their reoccurrence, a solution must be found to the underlying causation. Changes in your diet and lifestyle may be the most effective option, but there are other methods to consider as well.


The clinical term for ‘dark circles’ or ‘bags under the eyes’ is called periorbital hyperpigmentation, and the condition has many causes. First off, it may be natural. The skin just beneath the eyes is especially thin, making the underlying blood vessels more prominent, which can make the skin appear darker. The apparent darkness is simply a result of the way that light reflects off the surface of facial contours. Dark circles under the eyes can appear in childhood, and are often an inherited trait. You may outgrow them, or you may not. Ordinary swelling around the eyes is called edema, and means you have an excessive accumulation of fluids in the surrounding skin tissue. Sleep deprivation is the most common cause, as well as the easiest to prevent. Allergies may also be the culprit, as nasal congestion can dilate the blood vessels that drain from the area around your eyes, causing them to darken. An excess of stress, alcohol, smoking, salt, or even crying puts strain on your body and can cause dark circles and puffy eyes, as can an iron deficiency or the skin condition eczema.


Once you know their cause, you can take proactive steps to prevent those bags under the eyes from developing in the first place. Be sure to get enough sleep every night to diminish dark circles under the eyes. You may find you need less, but the recommended amount of sleep every adult should get per night is eight hours. Use eye drops for irritation caused by allergies. Keep your body hydrated throughout the day; this will prevent the dehydration that causes the skin to sag and bags to develop under the eyes. Reduce your salt intake to ensure your body stops retaining water in the wrong places, including the area under your eyes. Cut down on processed foods and each day rest your eyes every few minutes every few hours. To reduce puffiness or dark circles, apply chilled green teabags or cucumber slices underneath your eyes. You may also consider applying a gel eye-mask or for about 15 minutes.

Makeup and concealer work to hide the issue, but not to resolve it. Lastly, remember that dark circles and sagging skin underneath the eyes are a natural and largely unavoidable consequence of the aging process. As we get older, we lose some of the fat and collagen surrounding our eyes. This loss, combined with the thinning of our skin, magnifies the appearance of dark eye circles. So there will come a time when learning to love those dark lines as distinguishing features of a wiser face becomes the best option.

Don’t mistake a black eye for dark circles; a black eye is a temporary injury and will heal in a few days. While dark circles are usually nothing to worry about, you need to see your optometrist as soon as possible if the swelling and discoloration appear only under one eye and does not go away after a few days. In rare cases, dark circles under eyes may be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as hypothyroidism or liver disease.

If you notice any sudden changes in your vision or have suffered an injury to your eyes, call iSight Optometry, your local eye-care expert. We are a family-friendly practice located in Kelowna, the heart of the beautiful Okanagan Valley. We help you see the world more clearly, bringing what’s important to you into focus.

Contact iSight Optometry in Kelowna today to learn more 250.860.2020