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Definition

What are bags under eyes?

Bags under eyes — mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes — are common as you age. With aging, the tissues around your eyes, including some of the muscles supporting your eyelids, weaken. Normal fat that helps support the eyes can then move into the lower eyelids, causing the lids to appear puffy. Fluid also may accumulate in the space below your eyes, adding to the swelling.

Bags under eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and rarely a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. At-home remedies, such as cool compresses, can help improve the appearance of bags under eyes. For persistent or bothersome under-eye puffiness, cosmetic treatments are available.

How common are bags under eyes?

Bags under eyes are common. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of bags under eyes?

The common symptoms of bags under eyes are:

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Your eyebags are severe and persistent
  • Your eyebags are accompanied by redness, itching or pain
  • Your eye bags affect other parts of your body, such as your legs

Causes

What causes bags under eyes?

Excess swelling and sagging under the eyes, which may cause an undesirable appearance, can be caused by one of the following conditions:

  • The movement of fat from the upper eye area down below the eyes
  • Excess fluid buildup under the eyes
  • Weakened of muscles below the eyes
  • Aging, leading to thinner skin and wrinkles, making bags more noticeable

In most cases, bags under the eyes are a cosmetic concern and do not indicate any health problems. However, people should see a doctor if the undereye area is itchy, red, or painful, or changes happen suddenly. This could be a sign of an allergic reaction or illness.

Although aging is the main cause of bags under the eyes, many people are simply prone to them due to their genetics. Often, people in the same family will share this trait, much as having a similar nose or face shape.

In other cases, bags under the eyes are due to lifestyle factors that can be changed to reduce or get rid of this problem.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for bags under eyes?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How are bags under eyes diagnosed?

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • When did you first notice the puffiness under your eyes?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For bags under eyes, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What’s likely causing my symptoms?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend, if any?
  • What will the treatments cost? Does medical insurance cover these costs?
  • What results can I expect?
  • Can I do anything at home to improve my symptoms?
  • What kind of follow-up, if any, should I expect?

Don’t hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.

How are bags under eyes treated?

Bags under eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and don’t require specific treatment. Home and lifestyle treatments may help reduce or eliminate puffy eyes.

Medical and surgical treatments are available if you’re concerned about the appearance of under-eye swelling. Treatment may not be covered by medical insurance if it’s done solely to improve your appearance.

Medications

If you think the swelling under your eyes is caused by an allergy, ask your doctor about prescription allergy medications.

Therapies

Various wrinkle treatments are used to improve the appearance of puffiness under the eyes. These include laser resurfacing, chemical peels and fillers, which may improve skin tone, tighten the skin and rejuvenate the look of bags under the eyes.

Eyelid surgery

Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is an option to remove bags under eyes. During blepharoplasty, the surgeon cuts just below the lashes in your eye’s natural crease or inside the lower lid. The surgeon removes or redistributes excess fat, muscle and sagging skin. He or she then rejoins the skin with tiny dissolving stitches along the lid’s natural crease or inside the lower eyelid. The procedure is usually done as an outpatient procedure.

In addition to correcting bags under eyes, blepharoplasty can also repair:

  • Baggy or puffy upper eyelids
  • Excess skin of the upper eyelid that interferes with your vision
  • Droopy lower eyelids, which may cause white to show below the iris — the colored part of the eye
  • Excess skin on lower eyelids

Talk with your doctor about the risks of eyelid surgery, which include infection, dry eyes, and problems with vision, tear ducts and eyelid position.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage bags under eyes?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with bags under eyes:

  • Use a cool compress. Wet a clean washcloth with cool water. While sitting up, apply the damp washcloth to the skin under and around your eyes for a few minutes using mild pressure.
  • Get enough sleep at night. For most adults, seven to eight hours a night is a good amount of sleep.
  • Sleep with your head slightly raised. Add an extra pillow or prop up the head of your mattress. Or elevate the entire head of the bed a few inches. This helps prevent fluids from accumulating around your eyes as you sleep.
  • Reduce allergy symptoms. Avoid allergens when possible. Try over-the-counter allergy medications. Talk to your doctor about prevention strategies if you develop under-eye reactions due to hair dyes, soaps, cosmetics or other allergens.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: August 15, 2017 | Last Modified: August 15, 2017

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