Veiny eyelids occur when the veins protrude or appear very prominently beneath the skin. While these veins may cause cosmetic concerns for some people, they’re usually harmless. They don’t cause health or vision problems.
Learn more about what causes these types of veins, and what you can do to treat and prevent them.
Large, visible veins in your eyelids may be a cause for concern at first. However, these veins are more of a cosmetic (aesthetic) concern, rather than evidence of any serious health problem. Here are the common causes:
Once you enter your 30s, your skin naturally loses collagen and elasticity. This can make your skin thinner. Since the skin around your eyes is already thin, losing more collagen may increase the appearance of veins.
Venous insufficiency occurs when the walls surrounding your veins become stretched and damaged from the pressure of blood moving backwards. Also more common with age, venous insufficiency can damage your veins, causing them to enlarge and create a bulging effect.
High blood pressure
Another cause of damaged and subsequent bulging veins is high blood pressure (hypertension). Left uncontrolled, hypertension can increase inflammation in the body — which may also extend to the eyelid area.
Sun exposure is perhaps one of the most common causes of vein issues on the face. The eyes may be especially vulnerable since this area is often let unprotected against UV rays. Other signs of facial sun damage include:
- spider veins
- age spots
- premature wrinkles
An unhealthy lifestyle may contribute to veiny eyelids, as well as excessive screen time and reading in dim lighting. Rubbing your eyes too much (and too hard) can also break small capillaries in your eyelids, making them more noticeable.
The causes of veiny eyelids are many, but there are only a few proven treatment options. These include:
- endovenous laser ablation
- intense-pulsed light therapy
Your provider may also recommend a combination of these treatments.
Costs for cosmetic procedures vary by region and provider. Medical insurance doesn’t cover veiny eyelid treatments, but you can talk to your provider about possible discounts, financing, and payment plans.
Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA)
EVLA requires the use of topical anesthesia, but it’s considered a minimally invasive procedure that’s done on an outpatient basis. You may experience slight pain and swelling — however, laser ablation usually does not cause scarring or other major complications.
Another benefit to EVLA? There’s virtually no recovery time required. You may decide to take some time off due to any required bandages over your eye. It’s also important to stay active to reduce the risk of blood clots.
The national average cost of EVLA is $1,525, but your bill may be less due to the small eyelid area.
Intense-pulsed light (IPL)
IPL is another type of laser therapy sometimes used to treat unwanted veins through the dermis (middle layer of skin) without impacting the epidermis (outer layer). As with EVLA, you may need more than one treatment session spaced weeks apart.
While IPL is considered minimally invasive, side effects such as bruising, pain, and redness may occur. This procedure may not be your best option if you have sensitive skin or are prone to sunburn. Scarring and hyperpigmentation may occur.
The average cost of IPL therapy ranges between $300 and $600 for each treatment.
Another option for unwanted veins is sclerotherapy. While sometimes used in conjunction with intense-pulsed lighter therapy, this procedure involves the use of injections to help get rid of spider veins. While most commonly used in the legs, sclerotherapy may be used anywhere in the body.
While considered safe for qualifying candidates, sclerotherapy does pose some risks and side effects. These include bruising, pain, and inflammation. Scarring and hyperpigmentation are also possible. Minor side effects, such as bruising, will improve after a few weeks.
The average cost of a sclerotherapy session is $343. Your bottom line will depend on how many injections and overall sessions you need.
Both men and women may develop veiny eyelids. The risk also increases as you age. Other risk factors for veiny eyelids include:
- a personal or family history of hypertension or venous deficiency
- family history of premature skin aging
- working or spending a lot of time outdoors in direct sunlight
- desk or office work, where you might spend most of your day in front of a computer
- an overall unhealthy lifestyle
While veiny eyelids are common with age, there are things you can do now to help prevent their onset:
- Reduce sun exposure. Avoid peak hours between the late morning and early afternoon. When you do go outside, always wear sunglasses and wide-brim hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. Wear sunscreen every single day to help prevent other signs of sun damage.
- Decrease your risk for hypertension. Reduce salt and saturated fats in your diet, opt for more plant-based foods, and get regular exercise to help lower blood pressure. Also, monitor your blood pressure regularly at home so you can be on the lookout for any signs of pre-hypertension. A healthy blood pressure is below 120 mm/Hg systolic and 80 mm/Hg diastolic.
- Reduce stress. Chronic stress is hard on the body, and is also a contributor to prominent veins in your eyelids and other visible areas. While you can’t avoid stress entirely, taking time to unwind each day and engage in activities you find relaxing can help.
Veiny eyelids are a common aesthetic concern that develop in women and men with age.
While you can’t prevent your skin from aging per se, you can take steps towards a healthier lifestyle to help reduce the risk of prominent eye veins.
Controlling your blood pressure, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise may also help.
If you’re still concerned about the appearance of your eyelid veins, talk to a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist about your treatment options.