Treating Puffy Eyes And When It Can Be A Cause for Concern

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Seeing your eyes become swollen and puffy typically happens when crying, sleeping, and doing other everyday activities. It occurs when fluid accumulates in the thin layers of tissue surrounding the eyes. However, other reasons also cause this swelling, as explained later on.

Swelling in the lower or upper eyelid is typically nothing more than an uncomfortable annoyance that goes away on its own. But suppose the swelling lasts longer than 24 to 48 hours. In that case, it is vital to consult an eye professional for treatment to prevent damaging your eyes and avoid the slight yet nonetheless possible risk of blindness.

Causes for puffy eyes

Apart from the usual reasons mentioned above, there are many other causes for puffy eyes, including:

1. Stye

Styes are infections in a tear gland or eye follicle and appear as red, tender bumps at the edge of the eyelid.

2. Pink eye or conjunctivitis

Pink eye is another infection caused by bacteria, viruses, and other irritants and commonly occurs during the flu and cold season.

3. Allergies

Allergic reactions from hay fever or other causes like certain foods and chemicals can also cause puffy eyes.

4. Trauma-related injuries

When hit by a blunt-force strike, the eyes compress and retract, causing blood to pool beneath the damaged area and result in swelling and discolouration.

5. Chalazion

A chalazion is similar to a stye and is a harmless, small bump caused by blocked oil glands.

6. Eye cancer

Although eye cancer will rarely ever be the reason for your puffy eyes, it is still worth knowing that it is one of its symptoms. Eye cancer is also accompanied by vision loss or blurred vision, and you may also notice ‘floaters’ moving slowly around your field of vision.

How to reduce swelling

While most cases of puffy eyes will generally disappear within a few days, there are ways to reduce swelling in the meantime:

1. Wash your eyes: If there is a discharge with swelling, try washing your eyes with water.

2. Apply a cold compress: Place a water-soaked cloth or a chemical cold compress over your eyes for relief.

3. Use antihistamine eye drops: Only use these eye drops when you have allergies. Steroid eye drops can also work well in this case, but check with your healthcare provider first and apply them as prescribed, as careless use can be harmful and cause blindness.

When to call a doctor

Reach out to a virtual doctor in Singapore right away if the swelling persists and if you notice any of the following:

  • Pain in one or both eyes.
  • Reduced vision.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Seeing floaters.
  • Feeling something is stuck in your eye.


Puffy eyes are usually nothing to be concerned about unless they persist for over a day or two. The home remedies above should suffice to help reduce the swelling, and if you ever notice vision disturbances associated with the swelling, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

If your eye swelling is not recovering on its own, book an online medical consultation today via the MyCLNQ app, the best app for telemedicine in Singapore. In just a few clicks, the MyCLNQ grants access to the key medical services you need from the comfort of your home, including supervised ART test booking, online doctor consultations, and private ambulance services.

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