Eye Care

Eye Care: Treatment for Temporary Bags Under The Eyes

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Summary & Participants

Are bags under your eyes making you look more tired than you truly are? Here are some tips to reduce the puffiness.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2009

Webcast Transcript

MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: Hi. I'm Mary Fisher, and welcome to Working Well. I'm so happy that we have Dr. Joe Eviatar with us. He's Assistant Professor of Opthamology at NYU Medical Center. Thanks for coming on the show.

JOE EVIATAR, MD: Thanks for having me, Mary.

MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: You know, I specifically requested Dr. Eviatar to come on because I want to talk to him about a problem I have... and that's the baggage I bring to work every morning.

When I get up in the morning, and come to work for an early meeting, I often have big bags under my eyes... I didn't know if you had a tip for me about how to look better at work.

JOE EVIATAR, MD: Well, do you find that they get better as the day goes on often?

MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: Right. By noon they're gone.

JOE EVIATAR, MD: I think a lot of people who don't get enough sleep at night, or out too late, things like that, may have fluid that accumulates around the eye. Particularly, when you're lying flat - the eyelid skin is the thinnest skin on the body - so it will stretch, and you'll get fluid that accumulates around the eyes, and often by the end of the day, it's better-but you can really come in and look tired.

One of the best things is using ice. Getting up and putting some ice compresses on it-- even just frozen peas and corn can be useful.

MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: So I shouldn't use these-I usually keep cucumbers at my desk. What's with the cucumber myth-Is that something that's helpful-Cucumbers on the eyes?

JOE EVIATAR, MD: I think they're better to eat. I wouldn't put them on. But the thing is, if they're cold they can be helpful-- Anything cold. Frozen peas and corn work better because they mold to your face. Or they have ice packs that you can buy.

MARY FISCHER, MD, PT: It's mainly just getting the cold on... and a little compression?

JOE EVIATAR, MD: That's right.

MARY FISCHER, MD, PT: To get the fluid out?

JOE EVIATAR, MD: Well, that's different. Some people really have eye bags and they have them all the time. And that's a different story because that's not really fluid. That's more related to fat pockets that are around the eyes. Normally the eyes are surrounded by fat. As you get older, and some people genetically, they just have more bags and more of the fat is forward. And that looks like puffy eyes, but that's really not puffing. Lots of patients say to me, "Oh, can't you just suck the fluid out from under my eyes?" but it's not fluid, it's actually fat pockets.

MARY FISCHER, MD, PT: What can people do about that?

JOE EVIATAR, MD: Well, the treatment for that is surgery. We do surgery even from underneath the lid, so you don't have to have a scar on the outside. And we use a laser very often and we remove the fat pockets.

MARY FISCHER, MD, PT: How about dark circles under the eyes?

JOE EVIATAR, MD: Dark circles can be more problematic because unlike fat pockets that can be removed, dark circles are in the skin itself. Now some people get some dark circles from vascularity in the skin, if they haven't slept enough, and so-forth. And those patients, just covering it with make-up or some ice may be helpful. But some people really get pigmentation in the skin and around their eyes and nobody really knows why. In those patients, there are some physician-type products that are lightening agents, like Hydroquenone, that help with pigment, if it's truly pigment in the skin.

MARY FISHER, MD, PT: Is that something an opthamologist can prescribe?

JOE EVIATAR, MD: Yes, particularly eye plastic surgeons, people like that can prescribe it.

MARY FISHER, MD, PT: Great. I feel better already. Those are great tips. I'll try them out-and you all should try them out, too. Thanks for coming on the show.

JOE EVIATAR, MD: Thanks for having me.

MARY FISHER, MD, PT: And thank you for joining us for Working Well.