Periorbital puffiness, also known as “puffy eyes”, or swelling around the eyes, is the appearance of swelling in the tissues around the eyes, called the orbits. It is almost exclusively caused by fluid buildup around the eyes, or periorbital edema.
Minor puffiness usually detectable below the eyes only (although at times they could be present all around) is often called eye bags. Such transient puffiness is distinct from the age related and gradual increase in the size of the fat pad lying below the lower eyelids (suborbicularis oculi fat – “SOOF”) which can also be colloquially referred to as eye bags.
While some degree of puffiness may be normal for a given individual, factors such as age and fatigue may make the swelling more prominent. The periodontal tissues are most noticeably swollen immediately after waking, perhaps due to the gravitational redistribution of fluid in the horizontal position.