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Puffy Eyelid

A symptom seen in some migraine sufferers is puffy eyelid. This is also called eyelid edema or oedema. It is considered a unilateral cranial autonomic symptom, which means the symptoms happen on both sides of the head and can’t be controlled by the patient. Other cranial autonomic symptoms include droopy eyelid, watery eyes, constriction of the eye’s pupil, red or bloodshot eyes, nasal congestion and facial sweating.

How common is eyelid puffiness?

In a 2008 study of 786 migraine sufferers at a headache clinic in Taiwan, the most common of these symptoms was facial sweating, which was reported by 29 percent of the patients. Eyelid puffiness was the least common, reported by 9 percent of those in the study. One-fifth of those patients said that only one eyelid was puffy during migraine.1 A recent online patient survey conducted with 2,632 participants found that 23 percent experienced eyelid edema.2

Puffy eyelid, like many other migraine symptoms, doesn’t occur in everyone and doesn’t occur with each migraine.

Other possible causes of eyelid puffiness:

Eyelid puffiness is thought to be more more common in cluster headaches and therefore if it occurs in a migraine sufferer, it might confuse the diagnosis. Also because puffy eyelids are associated with other disorders, such as allergies and tiredness, it is a symptom that individuals may not always associate with migraine and report.


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last reviewed: June 2016
  1. Cranial Autonomic Symptoms in migraine JNNP Lai 2008
  2. Malone, C., Bhowmick, A., Wachholtz, A. Migraine: treatments, comorbidities, and quality of life, in the USA. Journal of Pain Research 2015:8