Under-Eye Circles

Q: I’m worried that my 6-year-old doesn’t get enough sleep. Often he has dark circles under his eyes.

A: You needn’t worry, according to Barton D. Schmitt, M.D., director of general consultative services at the Children’s Hospital of Denver and author of Your Child’s Health. “Dark circles under the eyes are generally not a sign of poor health or troubled sleep in children,” Dr. Schmitt maintains. “In fact, the most common cause of dark, bluish circles under the eyes is congestion of the nose, when the veins around the eyes become larger and darker.”

In many cases, the root of nasal congestion is an allergy or hay fever, adds Dr. Schmitt. “Dark circles can be caused by chronic sinus infections, by recurrent colds, or by frequent mouth breathing due to large adenoids,” he says. “And dark under-eye circles tend to be more noticeable in children with a fair complexion.”

Usually, if you treat the underlying cause of your child’s nasal congestion, the dark circles will disappear.

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