As you age, the tissue structures and muscles supporting your eyelids weaken. The skin may start to sag, and fat that is normally confined to the area around the eye (orbit) can move into the area below your eyes. Also, the space below your eyes can accumulate fluid, making the under-eye area appear puffy or swollen. Several factors can lead to this, including:
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- Fluid retention due to changes in weather (for example, hot, humid days), hormone levels or eating salty foods
- Not getting enough sleep
- Allergies or dermatitis, especially if puffiness is accompanied by redness and itching
- Heredity — under-eye bags can run in families
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- Goldberg RA, et al. What causes eyelid bags? Analysis of 114 consecutive patients. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2005;115:1395.
- Brain basics: Understanding sleep. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm. Accessed June 5, 2014.
- Goldberg DJ. Ablative laser surfacing for skin rejuvenation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 5, 2014.
- Bradley EA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., July 22, 2014.