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Hooded Eyes: What Are They? How Do I Know If I Have Them?

Hooded eyes are inherited facial features marked by excessive skin draping over the eye crease from the brow bone to lash line. You can develop hooded eyes at an early age, but the features tend to get prominent later in life because of skin changes associated with aging. Those with eye hooding can also have other disorders such as ptosis, which make the symptoms worse, necessitating medical intervention.

woman with hooded eyes

In severe cases, the extra skin tissue around the eyes causes vision problems making eyelid surgery indispensable. Hooded eye is one of the conditions that can give your eyelid a saggy appearance, leaving an old, tired look. Blepharoplasty is one possible solution.

What Are Hooded Eyes?

Although a hooded eye is a common phenomenon that can occur at any age, it gets exaggerated in the elderly.

As people age, the skin loses its elasticity and becomes wrinkled with inappropriate fat deposition. These age-related changes can lead to the formation of a mound of tissue over the upper eyelid and eyebrow resulting in an enfolded appearance called hooded eye.

Hooded eyes are folds of excess skin forming over the brow bone down to the lash line. As an inherited trait, there’s an increased likelihood of developing hooded eyes if your first-degree relative(s) had a similar eyelid morphology. Hooding can occur only in the eye, but it mostly affects both brow bones and eyebrows.

Although a hooded eye is a common phenomenon that can occur at any age, it gets exaggerated in the elderly. Unlike droopy eyes, typical hooded eyelids leave the vision intact.

How to Tell If You Have Hooded Eyes

With hooded eyes, a thick skin layer hangs down and covers a deep-set crease sitting over the brow bone. Consequently, the upper eyelids appear smaller, and the normally visible crease remains hidden.

If you want to tell whether you have a hooded eye, look in the mirror with both your eyes opened comfortably. Supposing the skin covering most of (or the entire upper eyelid with the crease above the brow bone) is invisible that indicates a hooded eye.

Aging and Hooded Eyes

If you are young, hooded eyes might only be a cosmetic problem. But as you age, the inherited feature becomes more pronounced as the usual age-related connective tissue changes set in. Generally, the skin loses its elasticity with age leading to sagging and the formation of wrinkles.

As you age, similar skin changes occur in the face with some degree of exaggeration in the upper eyelid. Fat around the eye socket, which usually cushions the eyes, begins to bulge forward as the tissue that keeps it in place within the socket rim starts to weaken. As a result, you develop puffier and heavier eyelids intensifying the hooding.

When to See a Doctor

Typically, hooded eyes are normal features that pose no health risks. But for cosmetic reasons, you can talk to your doctor about the available options of getting rid of the tired and old look caused by eyelid hooding.

In extreme cases where hooded eyes cause vision problems, you need to see an eye doctor for prompt treatment. 

Hooded Eyes vs Droopy Eyes (Ptosis)

Despite both causing sagging, hooded eyes are not the same as droopy eyes. In most instances, hooded eyes are deeply set with larger creases and prominent brow bones. The inherited trait, which can occur at any age, usually has a natural eye shape and rarely affects vision.

However, the excessive sagging of eyelids in ptosis occurs primarily due to aging. You can also develop droopy eyelids following injury to the eye. Rarely, babies with neurological disorders that affect the nerves and muscles of the eyes suffer from droopy eyes, known as congenital ptosis.

Unlike hooded eyelids, droopy eyes cause vision problems, because you cannot completely open your eyes. Therefore, you need to seek immediate medical attention.

Can You Get Rid of Hooded Eyes?

Even though hooded eyes pose little health risk, the drooping gives a tired and old appearance. If you want a more refreshed and energetic look, you can get rid of the hooded eyelids. Your doctor will take you through the various options including removing the excess fat and skin tissue through surgery.

Treatments for Hooded Eyelids

You can choose either surgical or conservative options for managing hooded eyelids.

Apart from interfering with vision, severe forms of hooded eyelids can cause tension headaches and an extremely tired look when in combination with ptosis. Such cases need medical intervention.

You can choose either surgical or conservative options for managing hooded eyelids. Among the options for treatment are blepharoplasty, botox and topical creams.

Blepharoplasty

Also known as an eyelid lift, blepharoplasty is a surgery that modifies the contour and configuration of the eyelid giving you a renewed youthful appearance. The operation involves removing excess tissue including fat, skin, and muscle that accumulates below the upper eyelid. The surgeon also tightens the supporting structures such as the canthal tendons to prevent recurrence of symptoms.

The procedure takes about 45 minutes. Since it is barely skin-deep, post-operative pain is minimal, treated with simple pain medications. Eye ointments, which the doctor will give you after surgery, limit the feeling of grittiness that often occurs with an eye operation.

Within 10 days, you should have recovered and returned to work. Like any other surgery, you need to discuss the possible complications of eyelid lift with your doctor and find ways of dealing with any eventuality.

Botox

Botox injections are a popular for treating wrinkles associated with aging. But you can also use this medication to manipulate face muscles around the eye and create a brow lift that will give you a youthful appearance.

Topical creams

Eyelift creams, sold as over-the-counter drugs, can also alleviate the sagging in eye hooding. However, creams are not a long-lasting solution according to Dr. Eric Cerrati of the University of Utah.

Hooded Eyes and Attractiveness

The hooded eye is a common trait with a high prevalence among people of East Asian descent. Many people consider this eye feature normal and attractive.

In fact, numerous celebrities have hooded eyes with the skin tissue down to the lash line. Although it might be difficult to notice because of the professional application of eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara, celebrities such as like Blake Lively, Emma Stone, Taylor Swift, Camilla Belle, and many others, have hooded eyelids.

Eye Shapes

There are different eye shapes that you can either be born with or get at different stages of life. Apart from hooded eyes, here are other terms that describe the various eye shapes:

  • Almond Eyes
  • Monolid Eyes
  • Protruding Eyes
  • Upturned Eyes
  • Downturned Eyes
  • Round Eyes
  • Wide Set Eyes
  • Close Set Eyes
  • Deep-Set Eyes

You can have a combination of these eye features. For instance, you can have hooded, deep-set, downturned eyes. The different eye shapes impact vision differently as the dynamics of refraction are altered.

FAQs

What does it mean to have hooded eyes?

Hooded eyes mean you have excess skin over your brow bone that hangs down to the lash line thereby obscuring the crease. Eye hood is one of several inherited genetic features on the face. Apart from the cosmetic concerns, hooded eyelids are normal eye traits.  

How do I know if I have hooded eyes?

You can confirm whether you have hooded eyes by simply looking in the mirror. Excessive upper eyelid skin covering the crease or mobile is a giveaway that you have a hooded eye.

References

  1. The aging eye: when to worry about eyelid problems. (October 2019). Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School.

  2. The Best Options for Droopy Eyelids, Circles, and Sags. (June 2019). Cleveland Clinic.

  3. The Curious Case of Celebrities’ Ever-Changing Eyelids. (February 2018). Life & Style Magazine.

  4. Refractive Errors. (August 2020). National Eye Institute.

Last Updated February 26, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.