Can scratching as a child (11 years ago) cause under-eye bags as an adult? (photo)

When I was young I use to have eye problems like itching.When it itched I will scratch my eyes until I get sores.As a child I know I didn't have under eye bags but noticed it 3 years ago. The scratching thing was 11 years ago though. I wear glasses and the bags under my eyes can get huge and shiny especially in the morning.My brother has under eye bags also but his go away when he gets some sleep. Since I noticed the bags, there is no day it has every gone down. There are always there.

Doctor Answers 3


Yes, severe allergies that cause eyelid swelling, as well as vigorous rubbing, can eventually cause permanent changes in the eyelid. Furthermore, you may have hereditary anatomic variants that may predispose you to having baggy eyes earlier in life [you said your brother has the same issue].

I would recommend a consultation with an Oculoplastics surgeon. See link below.

Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

There may be something to this.

Eyelid rubbing can cause long term damage to the eyelid skin and even the cornea.  So you may be on to something here.  I would decide carefully if this is something that really needs surgery at this time.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Eye bags not likely caused by eye rubbing as a child, but rather genetics and acceleration by allergies

There is evidence that shows that eye bags are more of a genetic issue and runs in families in variable patterns. When you look at your family’s history, you would probably see a family member who had eye bags at the same age as you. Eye bags or the appearance of puffiness can be accelerated by other factors such seasonal allergies or if you rub your eyes a lot. Patients who have allergies and rub their eyes often causes a fluid shift into the fat pocket area of the eyes. Since the skin under the eyes is very fine and thin, it may look translucent and have a bluish quality. People can also get something called allergic shiners that are iron deposits from chronic pooling of blood in this area.

If puffiness under your eyes has always been present even if you have enough sleep or when other factors are not an issue, then it is called lower eyelid fat prolapse. This means that the puffiness is a result of fat that’s around the eyes pushing forward. This gives the eyes a constant appearance of bags under them.

In my opinion, aggressive eye rubbing when you were child may not have a direct relationship of eye bags appearing. You were a child at the time you were rubbed your eyes a lot.  Your face has now grown and other things have changed since, and it seems like you haven’t been rubbing your eyes as aggressively as before.

What matters now is that you must ask yourself if it bothers you, can you live with it or if you want to pursue some type of intervention. From the photos you submitted, I can see that there is puffiness under your eyes. When the time is right, you might be a good candidate for transconjunctival blepharoplasty. This is the reduction of fat from behind the eyelid. At this point, it’s best to pursue a consultation to evaluate your allergic status and try to manage what you can and consider surgical options if they are indicated.  I hope this is helpful, and thank you for your question

Amiya Prasad, MD
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.