Causes of Chronic Puffiness Under the Eyes

Puffiness under the eyes can be bothersome, but it’s usually just a cosmetic concern 1. While rare, undereye puffiness can be a symptom of some kidney and thyroid conditions. If you occasionally wake up with puffiness under the eyes, consider what you did the day before to look for lifestyle causes such as staying up late or eating too much salt 1. Consider talking to your doctor about possible treatments for chronic undereye puffiness.


The natural aging process causes the muscles and tissues around the eye to weaken. As the structural support loosens, it's easier for fluids to accumulate. In addition, the layer of fat that’s normally around the eyes shifts as connective tissue no longer has the strength to hold it in place, creating a puffy area under the eye 1. The effect worsens as skin loses elasticity.

Fluid Retention

Eye puffiness from fluid retention has a variety of causes. Overconsumption of salty foods causes the body to hold extra water. The same effect is caused by drinking too much water right before sleeping. Hot weather, high humidity and fluctuating hormone levels also lead to fluid retention. Extra fluid, combined with the natural aging process, increases the chance of fluid accumulation under the eyes to cause chronic puffiness 1.

Sleep Position

Sleeping flat on your back so that your head is not raised above the level of the body encourages excess fluid to stay under the eyes 1. Using an extra pillow or elevating the top of the bed helps prevent puffiness by using gravity to help fluid drain away from the face.

Lack of Sleep

According to, the results of lack of sleep are frequently seen under the eyes because the skin in that area is thin and fragile 1. Insufficient sleep causes dark circles, puffy eye bags, fine lines and wrinkles.


Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is an allergic reaction to dust, dander and pollen. Over time, hay fever can result in undereye puffiness, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Also, the cycle of allergic swelling and deflating may loosen the skin and increase the chance of puffiness. Some people may also have allergic reactions to soaps, cosmetics or hair dyes that cause puffiness under the eyes 1.