How Allergies Cause Puffy Eyes

What is an allergy

An allergy is commonly referred to as the body’s response to an irritant or allergen. The body responds with symptoms such as swelling, itchiness, redness, puffiness, discomfort and other annoying symptoms. The more sensitive the individual, the stronger the allergy response and thus the worse one feels. Allergies can be localized to a single area, i.e. a patch of skin, or systemic and affect the entire body (i.e. hives). Allergy symptoms can be managed in a variety of ways, swept to the side, allowing you to get on with your life. They can also be life threatening.

Types of allergies

Food allergies: This includes being allergic to certain foods i.e. nuts and can cause symptoms ranging from coughing and wheezing, itching and even anaphylaxis.

Airborne allergies: Just like with food based allergies, airborne allergens can cause the same symptoms to flare up, for example inhaling chemicals can cause irritation in the lungs and an allergy response.

Mature woman with a flu or an allergy symptoms and swollen eyes

How do allergies cause puffy or swollen eyes

In order to make this connection, one has to understand what happens during an allergic reaction. During an allergic reaction, the immune system detects the offending allergen or irritant. The immune system has declared the molecule as an invader and mounts a defensive reaction. During this time the body releases Histamine and Ige in an attempt to get rid of the allergen.  It just so happens that when your immune system goes to war, there are casualties along the way. As an analogy, when you attack an invader, some nearby buildings get destroyed and innocent bystanders are injured. This is how inflammation sets in and it can become chronic if left untreated.

When your tissues are injured (i.e. twisted ankle), there is an inflammatory response. It is this inflammatory response that causes swelling and localized edema. To give you a complete picture of whats happening, you are exposed to an allergen, you get an allergic response, i.e. itchy eyes or red eyes. You then get swelling of the eyes and surrounding tissues. You may scratch your eyes to relieve the itching and increase the swelling even more. Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is a classic example of this in action. As a Hay Fever sufferer myself, I would experience a runny itchy nose, itchy inflamed eyes and eye lids.  By now you can see that the allergic response can and does manifest in swelling and presents in the skin. This is how allergies can and do cause swollen and puffy eyes. There are other causes of swollen eyes so be sure to do your research an be well informed.

Can you alleviate allergy induced swollen eyes ?

The answer is yes. Here are some tips and tricks to help reduce the allergy related symptoms that are causing your eyes to appear puffy:

Anti-histamines: These are readily available over the counter at most convenience stores and pharmacies. These can be very effective but some people may want to leave this as a last resort.

Home remedies: Cold compress, tea bags and cold cucumbers have been used for centuries and some people swear by these natural and safe home remedies.

Nutritional remedies: Diet can affect many systems of the body and there is evidence that omega 3’s can directly affect inflammation. Two supplements in particular have been found to be very effective in reducing inflammation and therefore reducing swollen eyes.

Eye creams, serums and lotions: Topical treatments for puffy swollen eyes are available in many forms. A combination of one or more of these can be very effective with almost immediate results.


Be sure to check with your doctor if your swollen eyes are the result of allergies or whether it is something more serious like Blepharatis, Conjunctivitis, pain, Chalazion or even a thyroid disorder. If it is indeed allergy related then at least you have some options to manage the symptoms and a combination of home remedies, supplements and eye creams might be all you need to achieve a beautiful clear complexion and crystal clear eyes free of swelling.


Leave a Comment