Bags Under Eyes
Under-eye bags are generally a cosmetic issue and do not require medical treatment. Certain lifestyle changes and at-home remedies can reduce the appearance of puffiness under the eyes.
However, there are medical (including surgical) treatments that can eliminate swelling if it is a significant concern to you. Keep in mind your treatment may not be covered by insurance if it is only for aesthetic reasons.
If the swelling under your eyes is due to allergies, you should talk to your doctor about a prescription for allergy medication.
You can reduce puffiness under your eyes by reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Methods include chemical peels or fillers, which can also even out skin tone, and laser resurfacing, which tightens the skin and reduces the appearance of under-eye bags.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)
Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty (BLEF-uh-roe-plas-tee) might be the best treatment option depending on the cause of your under-eye bags. In this procedure, a surgeon makes an incision in the natural crease of the upper eyelid or in the lower eyelid and removes excess fat. Tiny stitches are used to close the incision, and usually leave a barely-noticeable scar. This is most often an outpatient procedure.
This surgery can also help improve a variety of other conditions, such as:
- Baggy or puffy upper eyelids
- Excess skin on the upper lid that can impair vision
- Drooping lower lids
- Excess skin on lower lids
As with any surgery, blepharoplasty can result in side effects such as dry or watery eyes, swelling and bruising, pain, and blurry vision. Very rarely, there can be more serious complications including loss of vision, bleeding, infection, muscle injury, corneal abrasion and eyelid drooping.
Lifestyle Changes and At-Home Remedies
There are several ways to reduce eye bags without medicine or surgery. Here are some DIY tips you might want to try:
Using cool compress.
Using a clean washcloth, wet it with cool water and apply it to your eyes. Make sure you are sitting up and press lightly for a few minutes.
Reducing salt and fluid intake before bed.
Fluid retention is a major cause of eye bags, so reducing your fluid intake before lying down and reducing the overall salt content of your diet can help diminish the appearance of bags.
Smoking cigarettes can increase the appearance of bags under your eyes, so cutting it out can lead to improvement.
Getting enough sleep.
Seven to nine hours of sleep a night is recommended for adults, and sleep allows your body time to rest and restore itself.
Raising your head slightly while sleeping. Adding an extra pillow or propping yourself up a bit while sleeping will help elevate your head and allow fluid to drain from around your face. This can also help reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.
Allergens found in hair dyes, soaps, and cosmetics can cause reactions in the area under the eyes, so try over-the-counter allergy medicines and talk to your doctor about how to prevent these reactions.
You can mask dark circles using cosmetics. Many beauty bloggers have tips on how best to reduce under-eye circles.
Preparing for an appointment with your doctor
Before you consult a doctor, it is best to have a list of questions ready in advance. Here are some ideas for questions you might want to ask concerning under-eye bags:
- What is the cause of my symptoms?
- Is this a temporary or chronic issue?
- What treatment would you recommend?
- What will the cost of treatment be, and will any of it be covered by insurance?
- What will the results of the treatment be?
- Are there any at-home tips or tricks I can use to relieve my symptoms?
- Is there any kind of follow-up required with my treatment?
What to expect from your doctor
Now you know what to ask your doctor, but your doctor will also likely ask you some questions as well. Here are the types of questions you should be prepared to answer:
- When did the symptoms first begin to occur?
- Are your symptoms occasional or continuous?
- Have you noticed anything that seems to improve your symptoms?
- Have you noticed anything that seems to worsen your symptoms?