How Do I Get Rid of Eye Bags?

my under eye bags make me look tired at all times. Is eyelid surgery the only way I can get rid of eye bags!

Doctor Answers 59

Eye bags after a full night's sleep

Eye bags are the appearance of the lower eyelid fat pads. As we age and lose facial volume, the bags are revealed. In the past, the only way to get rid of the eyebags was by blepharoplasty, lower eyelid surgery. The surgery was performed usually from inside the eyelid (transconjunctival blepharoplasty) or through an incision in the skin just below the lash line. The excess fat was removed.

In the past 6-7 years, our philosophy about the lower eyelids has evolved. We now preserve the volume (fat) of the lower lid, and in the majority of patients are able to get rid of the bags by replacing the lost volume in the lower eyelid tear trough.

A small amount of Restylane injected in the proper manner blends the "eye bag" with the upper cheek, restoring a youthful, rested appearance to the eyes. The treatment takes about 15 minutes, is relatively painless, and the results are immediately evident. The treatment is very delicate and advanced training and ability are required. In the proper hands, the treatment is very safe and effective.

If you decide on fat transfer, your own fat can be similiarly placed. Once again, it is imperative that you seek an experienced practioner, as fat is a permanent filler. For patients with very large bags, surgery is sometimes still necessary. Once treated, instead of looking tired after a full night's sleep, you can look most rested after staying up all night.

Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Getting Rid of Eye Bags

Lower Eyelid Fat Pads or "Bags"

A very common aging change in the lower eyelids is the development of 'bags,' which are in most cases due to an outward bulging of the fat pads behind the lower lids. These 'bags' of fat can be improved by conservative removal through an invisible incision on the inside of the lower lid (trans-conjunctival approach) in patients that do not require skin excision, or through the under-eyelash (sub-ciliary approach) in patients that are having some excess lower lid skin removed.

As with skin removal, I believe that the reduction (NOT total removal) of lower lid fat pads should be conservative. Excessive removal of lower lid fat pads results in a hollowed-out appearance that makes blepharoplasty patients look tired or even ill.

I see quite a number of eyelid surgery patients who require structural fat grafting of the lower lids to improve that very problem following an over-aggressive lower blepharoplasty in the past.

In some case lower lid 'bags' can be improved by repairing or reinforcing the soft tissues that normally hold them back. Additionally, excessive lower lid fat can sometimes be mobilized and transposed inferiorly to fill in periorbital hollows or depressions such as the 'tear trough' at the medial junction of the lower lid and cheek.

Some eyelid 'bags' involve redundant muscle tissue which must be removed and/or repositioned, usually in patients who are in their sixties or older. This is performed through an under-eyelid (sub-ciliary) incision which is extended laterally into the 'crow's feet' area.

Structural Fat Grafting of the Lower Lid

As mentioned above, it is very important to preserve (or restore) soft tissue volume in the lower lid. When I review with eyelid surgery patients some photographs from their twenties, in most cases we find that years ago there was no visible demarcation between lid and cheek, but instead a smooth, gently convex curve extending downward from the lower lid margin.

In patients who have developed deep 'tear troughs' at the junction of the lower lid and cheek, adjacent to the side of the nose, the meticulous grafting of fat harvested from the patient's abdomen, hips or thighs can build this area back up and nicely restore a more youthful contour. In some blepharoplasty patients this depression or 'hollow' extends horizontally across the entire junction of the lower lid and cheek, and this must be corrected to obtain the ideal postoperative result.

In select patients, lower lid rejuvenation may consist of conservative reduction (not removal) of the lower lid fat pads or 'bags', in combination with structural fat grafting of the 'tear trough' hollow immediately below. As with all aesthetic surgical procedures, it is absolutely essential to customize the surgical plan to the specific needs of every patient.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Eye bags

There are many causes for eye bags. Several things are often occurring at once.

  • Over time, the orbital septum weakens, and fat bulges against this septum. This is seen as a bulge below the eyes.

It is usually treated by fat repositioning, and sometimes by slight reduction of the fat, often from inside the eyelid (transconjunctival).

  • Hollowness develops around the fat bulge above, due to hollowing of the facial fat.

We often replace the missing fat. In our practice, we use nontraumatized fascial fat grafts (LiveFill), usually placed at the eye cheek junction and the tear trough rather than fat injection, although that is a nice option as well in the right hands.

  • The cheeks fall.

In our practice, for the appropriate patient, we perform a cheeklift, often using a minimal incision, although there are many types of cheeklifts, depending on the patient's anatomy and problem.

  • Loose skin can also cause a problem.

When the loose skin occurs below the lower eyelid, we strongly believe in not just removing the skin, as this usually changes the eye shape to a rounded or pulled down shape, even if minor amounts of skin are removed.

Rather, we typically perform a minimal incision cheeklift to "give" skin to the lower lid, which can then more safely be removed.

  • Weakening of the lower eyelid, or canthus occurs with age.

It is often beneficial to tighten this canthus to counteract this issue.

  • Skin damage caused by the sun over the years destroys elastic fibers and causes sun spots, all contributing to aging around the eyes.

Laser resurfacing with a myriad of new lasers often helps this problem as well.

For a complete discussion on these topics, you may wish to read our chapter in the textbook Mathes Plastic Surgery, in its entirety on my website (below) under Articles.

Fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane are also wonderful for filling in hollows, and are actually becoming much more popular over the last several years as they have become longer lasting.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

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Surgery, Fillers and Lasers can Reduce Eyelid Bags

If one has puffy/baggy lower eyelids, there are a few approaches that may be useful in improving his/her appearance.

1) Blepharoplasty: Surgical removal of the fat pads and tightening of the skin

Appropriate for moderate to severe bags in all age groups. More permanent treatment.

2) Fillers placed in the tear trough in order to elevate the cheek to the level of the bag.

For minimal bags or dark circles. All ages.

3) Laser skin tightening procedures.

Good for sun damaged skin as well. Not great on very loose skin of severe bags.

Thank you for the question. I hope you find this helpful.

Lower blepharoplasty will remove eye bags

Lower eyelid bags are caused by protrusion of fat against the lower eyelid skin and laxity of the lower eyelid supporting structures. Lower blepahroplasty is required to remove eye bags.

Ignore the common internet recommendations such as cucumber slices, tea bags, and preparation H--they don't work.

External laser resurfacing and external laser treatments will not improve eye bags.

A laser blepharoplasty is very effective.

Mlodern techniques are:

  • Transconjunctival lower blepahroplasty (incision on the inside of the eyelid, no visible scar and no change in eyelid shape)
  • Laser blepharoplasty (laser incision causes less bleeding = less brusiing)
  • Fat repositioning/fat grafting (A newer technique that removes less fat that is placed below the eyelid to plump the upper cheek depression and avoid the hollow look)

Find an experienced, up to date board certified plastic surgeon.

This is a complicated problem with many solutions, none...

This is a complicated problem with many solutions, none of which are perfect in isolation.

Three main problems that cause eye bags:

  1. Fullness caused by "pseudoherniation" (bulging) of normal orbital fat that surrounds and protects the eyeball or just below this area, a relative hollow that develops and is aggravated by gravitational descent of cheek fat
  2. Loose skin and muscle surrounding from age, heredity and environmental factors (smoking)
  3. Pigmentary issues related to dark discoloration with thin skin and prominent blood vessels compounded by a shadowing effect due to the contour issues (1. and 2.) listed above.

Surgical treatments include:

  • Carefully remove or reposition orbital fat
  • Reposition/lift cheek fat and tissues
  • Reposition/tighten eyelid skin and muscle
  • Fill orbital contour hollows with fat injections

Non-surgical treatments include:

  • Skin care with peels
  • Anti-pigment treatments
  • Intense pulse light and non-ablative laser treatments for vascular pigment and skin tightening
  • Soft tissue filler enhancement for hollows

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

What causes Dark Circles under the eyes?

What causes dark circles under the eyes? As we age, we discover that one of the most noticeable changes to our appearance involves the eye area. Perhaps the most common complaint I receive as a specialist in cosmetic eyelid rejuvenation is that my patients have heard from others that they look sick or tired, even when they are feeling well and rested.
Typically, the origin of such unwanted comments is the non verbal messages the lower eyelid region sends out as we age. This area can be affected by many different factors that contribute to dark circles under the eyes—the first is the convexity or concavity of the lower eyelid fat. If the lower eyelid fat protrudes into the lower lid region, it often catches overhead shadows. T

Because most light is above us in our world (consider sunlight outside and room lights inside), this light is likely to cast a shadow over the protruding fat that becomes visible on the skin under this fat in the lower eyelid. The result of the shadowing is unattractive dark circles, sending a message of fatigue or illness.
A converse problem relating to lower eyelid fat is rare but can occur occasionally and involves the lack of fat in the lower eyelid region, causing a sunken-in appearance that similarly catches and displays shadows in the lower eyelid skin. This is the second cause of dark circles under the eyes.

The third factor contributing to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes is dark pigment, which can deposit in the skin in the lower eyelid region. This is usually the result of sun exposure over a lifetime.

A forth factor patients experience leading to dark circles under the eyes is the underlying vessels transmitting through the thin skin in the lower eyelid region.

Finally, the fifth factor, which can play a role in the appearance of dark circles under the eyes, is the presence of lower eyelid and cheek swelling, known as lower eyelid, cheek festoons and malar mounds.

These are the five most common causes of dark circles under the eyes. Fullness below the eyes catching shadows, hollowing under the eyes catching shadows, brown pigment or age spots in the skin below the eyes, thin skin and redness showing through the skin in the skin below the eyes and finally, festoons and malar mounds catching shadows in the lower eyelid and cheek regions.
While these five common causes of dark eye circles can result in less than optimal non- verbal messages, there are options available to treat them that can rejuvenate the appearance and clean-up facial messages to restore effective non verbal communication. Helping patients with these issues is real joy for me because of the satisfaction I feel when patients tell me after I help them that others in the world relate to them better after these various causes of dark circles have been improved

Adam Scheiner, MD
Tampa Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Eye Bag Surgery a Great Option

As we age, the lower eyelids can appear to have extensive bags.  This is caused by an out-pouching of fat from the orbit.  These pockets of fat can be removed during an eyelid procedure known as blepharoplasty.  This is a very rewarding procedure with great potential to last for a long period of time.  When added to a facial procedure, this is an excellent strategy to rejuvenate your appearance.

Getting rid of eye bags

"You look so tired!" That's what a lot people hear who have some bulging in their lower lids, or hanging skin in the upper lids. "Eye bags" usually refers to the bulging excess fat in the lower lids. While you will be promised the moon and stars by certain creams, lotions and potions, I have not seen any promising results to improve bulging lower lids with topical treatments.

There are three fat pads in the lower lids, each of which can bulge out and make you look tired. If you have hanging excess skin in the upper lids the problem can be even worse. The only reliable way to make this look better is surgery. There are two ways to remove the excess fat in the lower lids. An incision can be made on the skin (usually right underneath the eyelashes), or the incision can be made on the backside of the lower eyelid (in the pink part that normally sits against your eye). If you have excess skin you'll need that incision on the outside (in the skin) so the excess skin can be removed at the same time. If you have bulging fat with no significant excess skin you might be a good candidate for the incision on the inside (called conjunctiva) of the lid. With the internal or conjunctival approach you might also benefit from laser resurfacing to tighten and smooth the skin at the same time.

Recovery from this procedure is usually a week or two with stitches coming out at 5 days. It's a painful procedure nor is it very expensive. Eyelid surgery is consistently the number one procedure for rejuvenation of the face every year. It's affordable, pretty easy to recover from, and takes you from "You look so tired" to " You look great! What have you been doing?" You just can't get that type of result from creams or other non-surgical options.

I hope this info helps!

Adam Rubinstein, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Treatment of lower eye bags

Treatment of lower eyelid bags used to be blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery ) alone. With increased understanding of the aging process, we know that 'bags' of the lower lids can be caused by any of a number of anatomic issues. At the same time, our ability to treat this area has expanded with the addition of newer surgical procedures (fat sparing blepharoplasty, midface lifts, fat transfer, to a new a few) and new non-surgical procedures (injectables, peels, etc). An experienced surgeon can help determine what is right for you based on your anatomy.

Hope this helps.

Sam Most, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 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.