What is dark circles under eyes in children?

Dark circles are the appearance of dark spots or discolorations under your eyes. Typically, they are not painful, uncomfortable, or associated with other symptoms, but the discolorations can project the appearance of age, fatigue, or illness. Circles under the eyes are primarily found in adults, but they can occur in children, as well. This appearance has also been described as ‘raccoon eyes’.

Dark circles can occur when the skin under your eyes thins, exposing the blood vessels, which produces the dark discoloration. Fatigue and aging are the most common causes of dark circles, but allergies, anemia, congestion, eczema, lifestyle factors, and irregular pigmentation can also contribute to the existence of dark circles. Eye irritation, heredity, nasal congestion, history of sun exposure, and loss of skin elasticity can also cause dark circles. Either accidental or nonaccidental (abuse) trauma can cause dark circles to appear as a consequence of superficial or deep hemorrhages.

Dark circles in children are unusual, but they can be caused by allergies and congestion. Frequent congestion, in particular, can cause visible discoloration in the veins under the eyes. The most worrisome condition that causes dark circles around the eyes of children is neuroblastoma – a malignant tumor of the sympathetic nerves.

If your child continues to experience dark circles under the eyes, seek prompt medical care. This may be attributed to a respiratory infection or dehydration.


What other symptoms might occur with dark circles under eyes in children?

Dark circles under the eyes may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Allergy symptoms that may occur along with dark circles

Dark circles may accompany other symptoms affecting the eyes, throat and sinuses including:


What causes dark circles under eyes in children?

Dark circles in children are typically caused by allergies and nasal congestion, which can thin the skin around the eyes, revealing the blood vessels. Congestion is swelling in the tissues that line the inside of the nose.

Allergies are a common cause of congestion. Common childhood allergies include foods (including strawberries, peanuts, shellfish, and dairy), pet hair or dander... Read more about dark circles under eyes in childrencauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Allergies and the Immune System