Visible veins and blood vessels can develop underneath the eyes and in the eyes. Causes include extreme dryness, foreign debris or bleeding.
Aging is a primary factor for prominent veins around the lower eyelids. You’re also more likely to experience visible blood vessels if you have a fair skin tone.
You can delay the appearance of unsightly veins and blood vessels by taking good care of your skin with moisturizers and sun block. Adopting a lifestyle that slows the skin-aging process can also help.
Blood vessels inside and around the eyes play a vital role in maintaining your vision. They supply oxygen and nutrients, but they should remain invisible. But they don’t always stay that way.
When you have bloodshot eyes, some veins in the white part of the eye called sclera may have a problem. The vessels become visible, which can be a cosmetic issue, a medical problem or both.
Nobody likes to have visible veins under their eyes, either. Although there is usually no discomfort, they can be unsightly, conspicuously bulging in one or both lower eyelids.
Whether you have blue veins under your eyes or red blood vessels in your eyes, eyecare professionals have various safe and effective treatment options.
Causes of Veins in and Under Eyes
There are variety of reasons why someone can develop prominent veins under the eyes and blood vessels in the eye that others notice. The cause depends on which condition you have.
What Causes Veins Under Eyelids to Become Visible
Blood vessels may begin to protrude in the lower eyelids and become visible for various reasons, some of which are age-related.
If you’ll ever need to remove this type of vein, you should consider the thin skin around the affected region as a possible root cause. There’s usually little or no fat tissue under the skin in this region, which may be loose and elastic when you’re older.
These factors allow the eyelid veins to appear more prominent than other facial vessels.
What Causes Red Veins in Eyes?
Blood-filled red veins in your eyes can become visible when they’re swollen or dilated. Reasons for the swelling vary widely, including excessive sun exposure and extended duration of eye dryness.
Foreign debris is generally bad for your eye health and can trigger swelling of blood vessels on the surface of the eye. If an infection is involved, you may experience pain and vision issues besides the bloodshot eyes.
A visible vein in the eye is probably bleeding if there are blood spots or patches on the white portion of the eye.
While most visible veins are not cause for alarm, others can signify a major threat to your vision. Painful, inflamed red eyes usually require medical intervention.
Aging is the main predisposing factor for prominent veins around the lower eyelids. You’re also more likely to experience these visible blood vessels if you have a fair skin tone.
Some people get the unwanted eyelid veins after weight loss.
Risk factors for red eye veins include:
- Sun exposure
- Glaucoma (excessive optic nerve pressure)
- Conjunctivitis or pink eye (occurs when the tissue layer covering the surface of the eyeball is swollen)
- Eye strain
Because blue veins under the eyes are typically age-related, you can delay their appearance by taking good care of your skin. Adopting a lifestyle that slows the skin-aging process can also help.
You may try these preventive measures:
- Regularly eat a balanced diet that includes proteins to maintain skin cell renewal and repair and minimize loss of elasticity.
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Avoid tobacco products as these are closely linked with age-related degradation of facial skin.
- Protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- Eat plenty of Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E as these are rich in anti-aging ingredients to keep your skin looking youthful for longer.
To avoid developing visible veins in your eyes, try these tips:
- Avoid eye strain or fatigue.
- Treat infections that can cause noticeable inflammation of your eye veins.
- Protect your eyes from dust and injury.
There are self-care measures you can take to make your veins under or in your eyes look less conspicuous.
Home remedies for red eyes
- Resting your eyes
- Over-the-counter decongestants, artificial tears, and anti-histamine eye drops
- Applying cold compresses on your closed eyes multiple times daily
- Dehumidifying your home
Home therapies for veins under eyes include makeup. You can apply a concealer over veins under eyes to reduce their visual prominence. For blue blood vessels, try concealing with yellow or peach makeup.
How to Make Veins Under Eyes Less Visible
Here are some treatment options to make veins under eyes less conspicuous with significant aesthetic enhancements:
With this treatment, a laser shot is targeted at the visible vein, constricting it. You’ll typically require multiple consecutive laser sessions to make the vessel disappear completely beneath the skin.
Surgery, especially phlebectomy, can be an option to treat prominent veins under the eyes. Your surgeon may consider using this procedure if the bulging vein is too large to remove with alternatives like laser.
During surgery, tiny cuts are made into the skin to eliminate the unsightly vein. Before accepting this treatment, discuss with your surgeon how the sensory nerves and the surrounding tissues under the eye might be impacted.
Soft Tissue Fillers
If you wish to avoid the risk of invasive procedures, you may treat your visible facial veins with dermal fillers. Your cosmetic or oculoplastic surgeon will inject soft tissue into the area under your eyes, adding texture and thickness to the skin.
While dermal fillers have a low complication rate, they only last from 6 to 24 months. So, you may need this treatment again to keep your refreshed facial appearance.
Sclerotherapy is the injection of a special foam or solution into a vein to destroy it and make it disappear underneath the skin. To remove larger veins around the lower eyelid area, you may need multiple injections.
However, some surgeons advise against using sclerotherapy for prominent veins around the eyes. Their main concern is the risk of complications.
Damage to tiny blood vessels can occur, causing skin complications or even loss of vision in one eye in rare cases.
When to See a Doctor
If you need your veins under eyes removed, you should see a primary care doctor for advice even if you have no symptoms. Your physician may refer you to a skin specialist, cosmetic surgeon or eye surgeon for examination and treatment.
See your eye doctor for the treatment of red veins in the eye if:
- You have eye pain
- You experience vision changes
- Your bloodshot eyes don’t heal in about two days
- The affected eye has a greenish or yellow discharge
Why are the veins on my eyes so visible?
Veins in the eyelids may become more visible with age as the thin skin over the facial blood vessels loosens. These veins are more conspicuous in people with a fair skin tone.
Are visible red veins in my eyes normal?
Red veins in the eye are abnormal and may mean that the blood vessels are swollen or even bleeding. Eye infection, injury, strain, and allergies are some of the potential causes of redness in your eyes.
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Home Remedies for Bloodshot Eyes. (May 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
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Facial Veins – Diagnosis and Treatment Options. (January 2019). The PMFA Journal.
Complications After Cosmetic Periocular Filler: Prevention and Management. (June 2020). Plastic and Aesthetic Research.
Sclerotherapy. (February 2021). Mayo Clinic.
Last Updated March 1, 2022
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