Hooded eyes are technically defined as eyes partially covered by too-large eyelids. You can develop hooded eyes early, but they often become prominent later in life due to age-related skin changes.
Those with eye hooding can also have other disorders, such as ptosis, which worsen symptoms, necessitating medical intervention.
In severe cases, the extra skin tissue around the eyes causes vision problems, making eyelid surgery necessary. Even if you can see well, hooded eyes can give you a saggy, old, and tired appearance. You may choose cosmetic surgery to freshen up your look.
What Are Hooded Eyes?
Hooded eyes are folds of excess skin forming over the brow bone down to the lash line. Hooding can occur only in the eye, but it mostly affects both brow bones and eyebrows.
Although hooded eyes can occur at any age, the problem is common in older people. Sometimes, you’re born with hooded eyes, and they worsen with age. And sometimes, people develop hooded eyes for the first time as they get older.
How to Tell if You Have Hooded Eyes
With hooded eyes, a thick skin layer hangs down and covers the eyelid crease. Consequently, the eyes appear smaller.
If you want to tell whether you have a hooded eye, look in the mirror with both eyes open comfortably. You could have hooded eyes if skin covers most or all of the upper eyelid.
What Causes Hooded Eyes?
Hooded eyes stem from two main causes: genetics and aging.
Many people of Asian heritage lack a double eyelid fold. When their eyes are wide open, none of the upper eyelid is visible, and the eyelashes may touch the upper lid. If your genes dictate hooded eyes, you’ll be born with them.
Age can also cause hooded eyes. With each year, our eyelids stretch, and the muscles supporting them weaken. Gravity acts on these tissues, pulling them down yet more.
Aging & Hooded Eyes
If you are young, hooded eyes might be a cosmetic problem. But as you age, the issue can become more pronounced.
The following processes are at work:
- 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.
Researchers say about 16% of people older than 45 have sagging eyelids, and the issue is more common in men than women.
Should I See a Doctor for Hooded Eyes?
Your doctor’s help isn’t always required to fix hooded eyes. In years past, hooded eyes were even considered desirable. Women wanted their eyes to have single, hooded eyelids. While beauty standards change, underlying health issues do not.
You should see your doctor if your eyes suddenly become hooded. For example, if you go to bed with standard eyes and wake up with puffy versions, your doctor may want to rule out underlying health problems.
Your doctor’s help is also required if your hooded eyes make it hard for you to see clearly. Drooping eyelids can be a safety hazard, reducing your peripheral or upper vision. Procedures may help keep you safe.
You can, of course, ask your doctor to fix your eyelids and make you look better. Plenty of people do this. But you’re not required to change yourself to fit a modern beauty standard.
Treatments for Hooded Eyes
Your treatment options can vary, depending on how seriously your eyelids are hooded and what you might like them to look like instead. These are a few of your options:
Close to 45% of women have negative feelings when they’re not wearing makeup, and some men might feel the same. A shift in your makeup approaches could help you feel a little better about your eyelids.
Keep eyeliner thin, and smudge it to make your eyes look a little bigger. Wear shimmery shades on your upper lids. And ensure you choose products that will stay put instead of transferring to saggy skin.
Healthy Skin Habits
Drink plenty of water, and up your water intake when you’re hot and sweaty. Slather on lotion to keep your skin firm and healthy. These steps may not correct genetically hooded eyes, but your healthy skin may not sag as much.
Experts are divided about using Botox injections for hooded eyes. Botox works by paralyzing muscles within the face. If the shot impacts muscles that raise and lower your lids, your condition could worsen. But if your lids are worsened due to overactive frowning muscles, an injection might be very helpful.
Laser skin resurfacing, also called laser peels, can reduce facial wrinkles. The procedure involves removing the outer layer of your skin, while heating underlying tissues. After you heal, your skin may be both smoother and firmer. Some peels are appropriate for use on eyelids if performed by a professional.
Skin resurfacing may not work for all people. Doctors typically use this procedure to help with things like wrinkles or liver spots. But it’s an option you can explore with your medical team.
Blepharoplasty is a surgery that modifies the contour and configuration of the eyelid, giving you a renewed youthful appearance. The operation involves removing excess fat, skin, and muscle tissue below the upper eyelid. The surgeon may also tighten the supporting structures, such as the canthal tendons, to prevent the recurrence of symptoms.
Understand Eye Shapes
There are different eye shapes that you can either be born with or develop later in life. Apart from hooded eyes, here are other terms that describe the various eye shapes:
- Wide set
- Close set
- Deep set
You can have a combination of these eye features. For instance, you can have hooded, deep-set, downturned eyes.
FAQs About Hooded Eyes
Hooded eyes mean you have excess skin over your brow bone that hangs down to the lash line.
You can confirm whether you have hooded eyes by simply looking in the mirror.
No! In fact, numerous celebrities have hooded eyes. Although it might be difficult to notice because of the professional application of eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara, celebrities such as Blake Lively, Emma Stone, Taylor Swift, Camilla Belle, and many others have hooded eyelids.
Even though hooded eyes pose little health risk, the drooping can give eyes a tired and old appearance. If you want a more refreshed and energetic look, you can eliminate hooded eyelids. Your doctor will take you through the various options, including removing the excess fat and skin tissue through surgery.
Hooded. Cambridge Dictionary.
Updates on Upper Eyelid Blepharoplasty. (July 2017). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
The Evolution of Looks and Expectations of Asian Eyelid and Eye Appearance. (August 2015). Seminars in Plastic Surgery.
Eyes Wide Open: Understanding the Benefits of Eyelid Surgery. (August 2023). American Society of Plastic Surgery.
Last Updated September 29, 2023
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