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Why Do Eyes Get Puffy After Crying?

Have you ever cried excessively, noticed the puffiness of your eyes, and wondered, “why do eyes get puffy after crying?” An apparent swelling or puffiness around the eyes is called periorbital puffiness, which can occur when you cry. But does it appear?

Crying or sleeping can cause puffy eyes for most people. These puffy eyes usually occur because of the fluid retention around the eyes. Other than fluid retention, some eye allergies can also cause excessive puffiness after you cry. Orbital cellulitis and blepharitis may also lead to eye puffiness.

Reasons Why Eyes Get Puffy After Crying

Here are some reasons why your eyes become puffy after crying.

Reason 1: Fluid Retention

Fluid retention, also known as oedema, is the prime reason you may notice puffiness of the eyes after crying. Your thin eyelid skin can contribute significantly to fluid retention, leading to puffy eyes.

When you wake up in the morning or after excessive crying, your eyes may look puffy. The cause of this could be fluid retention. Your eyes may appear less puffy after you wake up and begin blinking. 

There is a difference between oedema and bags under the eyes, which occur naturally with age. Instead, these conditions are health-related and are usually temporary. 

Other than crying, there are several causes of puffiness around the eyes, and each of them causes fluid to accumulate. An eye orbit that appears swollen is due to the accumulation of fluids. The onset of oedema can be slow for some people.

Reason 2: Allergies

If you have a specific eye allergy, you may also experience puffiness of the eyes after crying. Allergic reactions to the eyes occur due to your immune system overreacting to an allergen.

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A few common eye allergens include pollen, dust etc. Some of the eye drops can even cause allergy-causing puffiness. Another problem known to cause puffy eyes is an allergic reaction to makeup. 

As a result of your eyes releasing chemicals to protect yourself from allergens, you may develop allergies to your eyes. Histamine is typically the main one, causing dilated and swollen blood vessels, resulting in itchiness of the mucous membrane and redness of the eye.

Reason 3: Blepharitis

Blepharitis occurs when there is an irritation of the eyelids. The condition often happens when oil glands malfunction in the lids, significantly lower eyelids. 

The typical symptom of blepharitis is itchy, swollen and puffy eyes. A dandruff-like surface may also appear on the eyelids, and eyelashes may fall out because of blepharitis. 

Symptoms of blepharitis are usually manageable through proper care and hygiene practices. However, you cannot always cure it. 

A bacterial infection is often responsible, but it can also happen because of acne rosacea. So, if you have blepharitis, you may notice eye puffiness after you cry.


Tears are made in three different types by the body. One of the types of tears is the basic tears always present in the eyes. Specifically, it protects and lubricates the eye fronts. 

The second type of tear, known as reflex tears, is the body’s way of washing away an irritant such as dust. In most cases, tears flow into the tear ducts behind the nose once they have dried. 

In each eye corner, there are tiny drainage channels called tear ducts. People tend to shed many tears when they cry, referred to as “emotional tears.” 

Overwhelming quantities of tears overwhelm the drainage system, causing them to spill out. Under the eyes, tissues retain some liquid as the body attempts to reabsorb it, which results in the puffiness of the eyes after crying.

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