Periorbital Edema

by Carol Gomes

The term edema stands for swelling in the body, caused by the accumulation of excessive fluid in the tissues and cells. Periorbital edema can be described as swelling and puffiness around the periphery of your eye sockets or orbits, as a result of fluid buildup in the area. It is quite normal to experience some amount of puffiness under your eyes (known as eye bags), especially as you age. However, if the area around your eye looks swollen constantly, you may be suffering from periorbital edema.

For most of us this condition is nothing more than an unsightly, embarrassing cosmetic problem. In fact, periorbital edema is not a medical condition, but rather a symptom of an underlying health problem. Therefore, it is important that you get the puffiness checked by a doctor as soon as you notice it.

Periorbital edema is often an indication of a malady or imbalance in the body, as there could be several different factors that lead to the accumulation of excessive fluid around the eye sockets. Given below are some of the most common health conditions that could lead to periorbital edema -

  • Chaga's disease
  • Heart failure
  • Hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy and menstruation in women
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver diseases
  • Mononucleosis
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Trichinosis or food poisoning caused by eating contaminated food

Children too can suffer from periorbital edema, mainly as a result of trauma, infections and allergies. Some of the other causes of this problem include -

  • Crying for an extended period of time
  • Excess consumption of salt
  • Lack of adequate sleep
  • Tobacco or alcohol abuse

The treatment for periorbital edema may vary, depending upon its underlying causes as well as the severity of the condition and therefore, your doctor will first need to conduct a few tests. At first, you may be asked to follow a nutritious diet, cut down on your intake of salt and quit smoking as well as drinking completely. The most effective home treatment for puffiness around the eyes is a cold compress. Alternately, you could also apply chilled slices of cucumber to the eyes.

If the puffiness persists, your doctor may prescribe a diuretic to get rid of the excess fluid in your body. In case the cause of periorbital edema is severe, you may be referred to a heart doctor, a kidney specialist or a gastrointestinal doctor for further treatment. Once the medical condition is treated, the problem of periorbital edema will probably disappear on its own.


  • Petros I. Rafailidis, Matthew E. Falagas, Fever and Periorbital Edema: A Review, Survey of Ophthalmology, Volume 52, Issue 4, July-August 2007, Pages 422-433, ISSN 0039-6257, 10.1016/j.survophthal.2007.04.006

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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