It is that time of year again where we start to notice under-eye swelling due to seasonal allergies. Any sort of congestion or inflammation will cause puffiness and fluid retention under the eyes. Since the skin is so thin under our eyes, the swelling can be more apparent and bothersome. We recommend taking an antihistamine daily for a couple of weeks to see if it reduces swelling before diving into other causes. Most of the time, people will notice a big difference in the swelling and no further investigation is needed.
Other reasons for under eye swelling could be lack of sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your blood vessels dilate which increases the blood flow to the eye area which leads to puffiness and swelling. The blood can also add a darkened appearance because the skin is so thin it is more noticeable. Your diet is also a key component in under-eye appearance. A high intake of salty foods will cause total body retention and even more so under the eyes. Our eyes remain shut while sleeping which is another reason that you may experience swollen or puffy eyes.
As we age, we lose volume area in the eyes. The tissues and support around our eyes weaken, and the fat that is held in the orbit by ligaments can migrate inferiorly causing swelling. Volume loss is another big sign of aging. It can cause darkness and a hollow appearance to the tear trough area. The aging process can be genetic and that may cause you to see the first signs of aging around the eyes.
Some medical conditions can affect the under-eye area. Thyroid disease affects the fat around the eyes, specifically hyperthyroid conditions, which can lead to proptosis of the eye due to excessive retro-orbital fat. Some chronic kidney conditions can lead to excessive fluid around the eyes. If you feel like your eye swelling is more of a systemic issue then it is important to visit your primary care for an evaluation.
There are options for what you can do about under-eye swelling, hollowness, and wrinkles around your eyes. You may be a candidate for options such as hyaluronic acid dermal filler, or neurotoxin injections to help with the overall appearance of the eye area!