Let's Learn About ... The Dark Circles Under My Child's Eyes
A pediatrician discusses the causes and if parents should be concerned
Dark circles under the eyes. If there is one sign on a child that parents believe is the harbinger of all awful, deadly, and scary things...it's dark circles under the eyes.
Let me make you feel better.
Dark circles under a child's eyes are usually caused by these things:
- NASAL CONGESTION
I used my friend Caps Lock there to let you know this is often the most likely cause.
The skin under the eye is pretty much some of the thinnest skin on the body. You can easily "see things under it" sometimes.
Some kids have thin skin under there. Some kids have really really thin skin under there. Genetics differentiate this.
Some kids have deeper eye sockets than others. Some kids have more veins under this thin skin than others. Anatomy.
But new appearance of dark circles under the eyes can usually just be blamed on the nose. When the inside of the nose becomes congested (think allergies, think colds), everything swells up, right? More blood is trying to get there, but it can't really go anywhere because everything is all swollen.
Blood gets backed up. Traffic jams happen. Veins draining this area get fuller and fuller.
And guess what? Some of those veins run directly under eyes. Where that thin skin is. And you can see it. Voila! Dark circles!
If it's really bad and you're worried, of course come in and we will have a good look and make sure this is all that is going on.
Notice how I didn't mention the causes of dark circles under the eyes of adults...as I sit here, the aging-by-the-minute parent of two small kids guzzling down coffee at 6 a.m.
I tried to find a picture of my son's dark eye circles, which he always gets when he has a cold, but I couldn't, so you get to see the best day of his life when he got to eat a giant ice cream cookie sandwich (hey it's kind of a "dark circle." right?!?)
Get to know Diane Arnaout, M.D.
Dr. Diane Arnaout joined the Cook Children's Willow Park practice in 2011. You can stay connected with Dr. Arnaout and the Willow Park practice on Facebook. Dr. Arnaout was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She attended college at Texas A&M University and medical school at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. She did her pediatric internship and residency at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and M.D. Anderson at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX where she served as a leader on the medical education committees. She is a board-certified pediatrician. Click to learn more.