Dark circles under the eyes

Dark circles under the lower eyelids can affect anyone though they are most common in the elderly and non-white ethnic groups and can also be an inherited trait.

Oversleeping, extreme fatigue, or just staying up a few hours past your normal bedtime can cause dark circles to form under your eyes and cause them to be puffy with fluid.

As we get older, our skin becomes thinner allowing the dark blood vessels beneath the skin to become more visible causing the area below your eyes to darken. Staring at the television or computer screen can cause significant eye strain which can cause blood vessels around your eyes to enlarge which in-turn can cause the skin surrounding your eyes can darken.

Similarly Allergic reactions causing release of histamines and eye dryness can trigger dark circles. Too much sun — particularly for your eyes — can cause pigmentation in the surrounding skin to darken.


The application of cold compress can help reduce swelling and shrink dilated blood vessels. This can reduce the appearance of puffiness and help eliminate dark circles.

Get extra sleep and elevate your head with a few pillows to prevent fluid from pooling under your eyes which can make them look puffy and swollen.

While makeup and cosmetics do not cure dark eye circles, they can help to camouflage them.

Some medical treatments are available to reduce the appearance of dark circles. For example: Chemical peels, laser surgery to resurface the skin and enhance skin tightening.

Tissue filler injections can be given to conceal blood vessels and melanin that are causing skin discoloration beneath your eyes.

Our view

For many people, dark circles are temporary and are often an indication of aging or lack of sleep. Though there are a number of at-home and medical treatments available to improve the appearance of your eyes, dark circles are typically no cause for alarm. However, if the discoloration or swelling worsens over time, schedule a visit with your doctor or dermatologist to ensure you have correctly diagnosed the issue and are receiving the best treatment.

Article written by

Mr K.Lakhani BSC MCOptom Dip TpIp

Special Optometrist

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