Swollen eyes from CPAP

by T. McKeon
(Whiting, NJ USA)

I have been using a cpap machine for over 6 weeks. Before going for sleep study I was always tired no matter how much I slept.

I would wake often to go to the bathroom.

Sleep study revealed I stopped breathing 39 times an hour and had RLS. I have the cpap machine with the humidifier.

I have tried 5 or 6 different masks. Most left welts on my nose bridge. I now have a FX mask which is not bad but I continue to have leaks around the eye area.

I wake up with marks on my face.

I have tried loosening the straps then I have more leaks. Since starting the cpap I have very noticeable bags under my eyes. I have a hard time waking up and getting started. I no longer get up during the nite to go to the bathroom. But I do wake up with dry mouth, my teeth have started to hurt and lower front teeth seem to be coming up if that makes any sense.

I have gone to the dentist and will return again at the end of the month. Cpap machine pressure is 12. Should I call again for another type of mask, I saw the sleep doctor last week and told him all of this with very little reply to fix the problems.

I applied for the new FDA approved mouth piece but returned the box unopened because I could not get a definite answer as to weather Medicare would give me back the cpap machine if the mouth piece didn't work. Real problems here. Although I must say I am not tired like I was before the cpap so it must be doing something right.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

PS: I am deaf and have cochlear implants I do not sleep with them so I do not hear the machine going I also live alone except for my hearing dog.


Leaks from the CPAP mask hitting your face and eyes are the main cause for swollen eyes. Fixing these leaks can eliminate these puffy eyes. If I knew which mask you are using, I could offer some ideas on how to stop the leaks.

When you start to put your CPAP mask on, it's very important to let the mask loose on your face and then start the CPAP machine. In this way, the mask cushion will fill up with air. THEN you can tighten the straps on your face.

You can't stop the leaks, you can change the mask. Or, use special goggles to protect your eyes from air blowing in them. Before buying the glasses (which are expensive in my opinion), check the effectiveness of this method with swim goggles. It's much cheaper this way.

For more information on how to stop the mask leaks and get a better seal, please read here.

There are situations where the eyes get swollen even with no external leaks. Some people have internal channels (tear ducts) from the nose directly into their eyes, so the pressurized air from CPAP will irritate the eyes.

This situation can't be fixed by eliminating the mask leaks, but by blocking these channels. Speak with an opthalmologist to investigate (the procedure is simple and with no pain). If these internal leaks are not stopped, the pressure can build up behind the eyes causing Glaucoma in some patients.

Using those swim goggles is a good way to test if the leaks come from inside your eyes or from outside.

To protect and minimize the eyes irritation, you can use GenTeal gel at bedtime. It will be great if you prevent touching the mask with this gel, because it may wear the mask.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for Swollen eyes from CPAP

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Jan 16, 2022
Swollen all over
by: Mom2Sadie

Ok, so take it from me, the nasal cushion is no better than the full face mask, when it comes to keeping the swelling down. I started out with a full face mask, had issues with leaking due to the fact I’m a side-sleeper. Well I also had swelling at the very top/bridge of my nose and sometimes under one eye. My lung specialist & the respiratory therapist both tried telling me I was allergic to the materials in the cpap mask, but I really wanted to try the nasal cushion, so here I am. I’ve been wearing it a couple of weeks, wake up every morning with slight swelling but this morning WOW!! It’s the worst it’s ever been, I look all deformed. Now to beat it all, I decided not too wear my chin strap, so that makes me wonder if not wearing that made it worse? I ordered mouth tape online yesterday, going to try that. And I’m going to finally :-) take the professionals opinions and assume I am allergic to the materials, and I’ll try wrapping the mask with an old cotton t-shirt l, so it is off of my face (I think she said cotton 😉). I can definitely tell the difference since I’ve started wearing the mask, I just wish I could be consistent (different issues). Hopefully the fabric solution will work!
Good luck everyone!!

Mar 11, 2021
fleece as mask liner
by: Carol

I had horrible swollen eyes using the CPAP machine. I also had bad leaks & sores in my mouth. I changed to a full face mask covering my whole face from forehead to chin. I still had swollen eyes & the rest. Finally I made myself a fleece mask liner. The sores disappeared, the leaks stopped almost completely & best of all, my swollen eyes are almost normal. I do use an elastic band around my forehead & nose to hold the mask in place. I am sure that for me it is the straps & hard plastic against my face that was the cause.

The mask liner is about one inch bigger than the mask, needs to be smoothed so there are no lumps. I cut eye & nose holes. It took me 4 times to get it right.

Even if you do not use a full face mask, you can use small pieces of fleece to cushion your face.

Good luck Carol

Jan 06, 2018
Bags under eyes
by: Anonymous

I found that the bags under my eyes, filled with water, were caused by the high humidity of the CPAP. I turned it down to 1.5 and no longer have them. Changing masks never helped.

Aug 23, 2017
No more marks or swollen eyes
by: mlevine

Try the mask pads! Their great!
Cpap.com has them. A simple piece of cotto goes around the gel in mask! No leaks, lines or swollen eyes,
One is made by Silent Night, the other is remzz's

Apr 05, 2017
Swollen Eyes from CPAP
by: Ronald

I am using a Philips m/c with a humidifier and have been for approx. 3 months.
Recently, the swollen eye issue arose, and proved it by stop using the m/c for one night. The result was no swollen eyes.
This is apparently caused by leakage of air from the mask into the eyes externally or thru the tear ducts via the nose into the eyes internally. (I use a full face mask). I monitor my AHI, Mask Leaks and Hourly use with the DreamMapper software program which is a very positive indication of the performance of the CPAP m/c.
My results so far have shown there are very minimal external leaks from the mask which suggests maybe the leaks are internal. I will take this up with my ophthalmologist as this can be corrected.
My AHI readings average 5 - and my hours of use average 8 hours daily and Mask leaks 100%.
These results are very encouraging as my daily tiredness has almost been eliminated thus allowing me to enjoy doing things again.
I am about to try using some swimmer glasses endeavoring to stop the swollen eyes as a result of information gained from this page.
I am 82 YOA and very fortunate to be able to do the things I do. The CPAP m/c has been wonderful and a minor hurdle to get over.
Could you advise if I am on the right track with the swollen eye issue?

Nov 12, 2015
CPAP and mouth guard
by: tmouery

Hi, I started using CPAP in August and have been waking up with puffy eyes because of the mask leaking.

I just saw your video where you talked about how to prevent leaks and also where you talked about using the mouth guard to help keep the mouth closed. I just went to the website and ordered one.

I have to admit, is a lot cheaper than the $400 my dentist quoted me for one of those mouth guards that they would make.

So, thank you for suggesting it.

Apr 11, 2012
Puffy Eyes.,etc.
by: Harry

I agree.Maybe,a nasal mask would work better in this case.

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