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What Are the Causes of Sudden Under Eye Puffiness?

author image Barbara Diggs
Barbara Diggs is a freelance writer living in France. A former corporate lawyer, she has been writing professionally since 2006. She has been published in numerous print and online magazines, specializing in travel, parenting, history and law. Diggs is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Stanford Law School.
What Are the Causes of Sudden Under Eye Puffiness?
Puffy eyes have many causes. Photo Credit eyes image by DXfoto.com from Fotolia.com

Suddenly developing puffiness under your eyes usually isn't a cause for alarm. According to MayoClinic.com, puffy eyes are typically a temporary condition that can be easily alleviated by various home remedies. However, if your puffy eyes are accompanied by severe pain and discomfort or blurred vision, you should see a doctor.

Sleeping Position

You may wake with puffy eyes because of the way you sleep; lying flat while sleeping allows fluid to collect beneath the eyes. MayoClinic.com recommends elevating your head with a couple of pillows when you sleep. This should help prevent fluids from pooling under the eyes.

Fluctuating Hormone Levels

According to EyeCareSource.com, many pregnant women develop puffiness under the eyes due to the fluctuation of hormones in the body. Non-pregnant persons experiencing a shift in hormones, including women about to have a menstrual period, may also see sudden puffiness in the eye area.


If you suddenly notice swelling or puffiness in the eye area, take a look at the foods you've been eating. High sodium foods, such as potato chips, pretzels, tinned soups, salted nuts and other processed foods can contribute to puffiness under the eye. Such salty foods make the body retain water, which can collect underneath the eyes. Alcohol can also create eye puffiness. Women's Health and Weight Loss Magazine reports that alcohol decreases anti-diuretic hormones in the body, which are responsible for regulating water in the body. If you believe your puffiness is due to your diet, just cut back on the salty foods and alcohol and your eyes should promptly return to normal.

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Allergies can cause the eyes to suddenly puff up as if you've been punched in the eye. According to University of Michigan Health System, these "allergic shiners" occur when you are exposed to allergens such as dust, pollen, mold, ragweed or animal dander. Soothe your puffy eyes by placing cool cucumber slices on them, which will help the blood vessels underneath the eye to constrict, decreasing puffiness. However, the puffy eyes will likely return unless you steer clear of the allergy-causing material.


If you cried yourself to sleep, don't be surprised to awake with puffy eyes. Dr. Benoit Bacon of University of Glasgow reports that crying puts stress on the tear glands, making the eyes itchy and causing us to rub them. Rubbing them causes the blood vessels beneath the eyes to swell, resulting in puffiness. Moreover, your eyes puff up after extended crying jags because emotion causes blood to race throughout your body, expanding your blood vessels. The network of blood vessels beneath the eye become engorged and swollen eyes result.

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