puffy eyes

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The Eyes Have It: I wish the puffiness around my eyes would disappear!

Good news if you're tired of hearing "You look tired": Thanks to a happy accident, puffy eyes may one day be a thing of the past.

It all started in ophthalmologists' offices where patients were given eye drops for glaucoma; several doctors began to notice interesting side effects, including reduced inflammation around the eye sockets. "We all have layers of fat that sit right under the eyelid skin," says North Carolina optometrist Jennifer Lyerly. "It helps protect the eye from injury, but as we age, it tends to slip forward, contributing to swelling. The glaucoma drops 'melt away' that orbital fat, so the eye sinks deeper into the socket." As it turns out, one of the medication's ingredients, XAF5, binds to fat cells and causes them to atrophy, eliminating those pads around the eyes.

Researchers are working on an ointment containing XAF5 to be applied directly to the skin of the lower eyelid; with continued use, the ointment decreases puffiness. It could be as long as five years before this nonsurgical option is FDA approved and we see it on the market.

In the meantime: You can reduce puffiness with an eye cream containing firming ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, niacinamide, or caffeine. Try Algenist Elevate Firming & Lifting Contouring Eye Cream ($72; Sephora.com) or Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream ($30; Drugstores).