What to Know About Under Eye Hollows

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on February 20, 2024
3 min read

If you notice that the area under your eyes looks sunken, you may have under eye hollows. Under eye hollows form in the soft spot under your lower eyelid. Under eye hollows can also make your under eye area appear darker or shaded. They may also go along with dark circles.

Under eye hollows is a condition also known as sunken eye hollows or tear trough deformity. There are many reasons why they may happen. 

With under eye hollows, you will likely notice your lower eyelid skin and muscle starting to relax, making it less tight.

When the area under your eyes starts to hollow, this “tear trough deformity” can make your upper cheek look sunken in. The area under your eyes will appear sunken. This can cast a shadow under your lower eyelid. This can also lead to making you look tired or even sad when hollows form. 

The hollowing under your eye may happen by itself. It could also go along with developing under-eye bags. This happens because the skin under your eye starts to sag. When the skin sags, it forms what looks like small bags under your eyes on top of your cheeks. 

Under eye hollows can form naturally as you age or can be a result of lifestyle choices or changes. Common causes of under eye hollows include:

Aging. When both of your under eyes are hollowed, the cause is most likely age-related. Atrophy, caused by cell degeneration of the eye muscles in your face can cause the skin under your lower eyelids to cave in.

Dehydration. When your body becomes dehydrated, a serious side effect is sunken eyes. This is more common in children than adults, but it can happen in severe cases. 

Lack of sleep.Exhaustion and fatigue can cause the spaces under your eyes to become more hollow.

Weight gain or loss. Diets that make you lose or gain a lot of weight quickly can make your face hollow out under your eyes. When your weight goes up or down quickly, the fatty areas in your face tend to shift position. This can make your eyes look sunken in. 

Genetics. Under eye hollows may be genetic in some people. If your family has them, you might be more likely to have them. 

Enophthalmos. Under eye hollows can happen to one or both eyes. If you have just one sunken eye, you may have onset enophthalmos. This is a condition that may happen because of trauma to your eye bone or as a part of bone loss from aging. Other causes of enophthalmos include:

  • Loss of facial weight
  • Inflammatory autoimmune disease called linear scleroderma
  • Orbital surgery
  • HIV infection
  • Metastatic breast cancer

In most cases, you can manage under eye hollows at home. To take care of them without invasive treatments or a visit to the doctor.

Stay hydrated. Not getting enough water or drinking too much alcohol can dehydrate you. Staying hydrated will keep your eyes from drooping. Drinking water is a great way to make your whole face look healthier and hydrated

Eat a balanced diet. Getting plenty of vitamins and nutrients is the best way to keep your face looking healthy. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a stable weight can help with under eye hollows. 

Use eye cream. Using a retinol or caffeine-based eye cream can revitalize your skin. Look for eye creams that also have vitamin c and other antioxidants. 

If these remedies don't work, you can talk to your doctor about the right treatment plan for you.

You can talk to your doctor about treatments that can firm the area under your eyes as you age.

One treatment option is using fillers. This in-office procedure can be done by a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. They’ll use dermal fillers to lift your cheek and smooth out your under-eye area. There will be a smooth curve from the lower eyelid to your upper cheek. 

Other treatment options include taking out skin, muscle, or fat with surgery or the use of lasers, radio frequency, or chemical treatments. Talk to your doctor about which treatment is best for you.