Can glasses cause dark circles? I first touched on this topic back in 2014 and even now 4 years later, this is still one of the most searched articles on the MGAM blog month in, month out. I am a guest columnist for NZ optics and I have also written an article on this subject for their May issue. So, I think it is safe to say optical wearers do want an answer to this question. I am here to tell you now, after more research for the NZ optics article. The answer is yes, they can! Read on to find out why and how to help reduce the appearance of dark circles.

So, why on earth does something that helps us see causes the dreaded dark circles? There are a few factors but first I will give you a quick explanation on what causes dark circles ordinarily, there are 4 major factors.

  1. Skin type, the skin around our eyes is naturally thinner. Some people naturally have thinner skin so the skin around their eyes will be even thinner still.
  2. Ageing, as we get older, our skin also gets thinner
  3. Build up of oxygenated blood pooled beneath the skin’s surface.  This is basically dilated blood vessels caused by tiredness or not enough circulation
  4. Several external factors such as smoking, allergies, excess salt, alcohol, or in rare cases, liver, kidney, or thyroid diseases.

The appearance of dark circles is mainly caused by dilated blood vessels.  That is what gives our skin the dark bluey-black colour and the thinner your skin around your eyes, the more prominent they will look. I hear hear you shouting at me “But what has this got to do with wearing glasses?”. Well beauty expert Mary Overton from CACI International (who is also a glasses wearer herself) shared a theory on the topic.  Mary states:

“wearing glasses which press too tightly around this delicate area can slow lymph circulation causing the appearance of dark circles”.

What that basically mean is, nose pads resting around that area slow down the blood circulation so over time, the skin around that area darkens and out come the appearance of dark circles.

From an optical experts point of view,  Clive Marchant, Vice President of ABDO have another theory on this subject. he thinks UV rays play a part.  Clive says,

“The fact that lenses and frames filter UV light means that the area around the eyes does not obtain a healthy glow or tan in the same way as if we stay indoors in dark rooms we become pale and get a grey skin tone. At the same time, UV protection is important to avoid increasing our risk of skin cancer.”

Incase you are not aware, with the latest lens technology, almost all optical lenses now offer UV filters as an option.  If you think, well I am not wearing sunglasses so how can that be the case? Your optical glasses can protect you from UV rays too so we are effectively wearing sunscreen around our eyes all the time.

If you have been wearing glasses for as long as I have (22 years) or even longer, than I think the nose pad resting factor is probably causing the eye area some discolouration. I am obsessed with this topic because before becoming a mum, I always felt my skin looks darker or just different and I finally got the answer. Now I am a mum I never have enough rest, therefore I am screwed. ha!

So, as an optical wearer, how can we reduce the appearance of dark circles? Here are some handy tips.

  1. Wear contact lenses to give your eyes a break but this only applies to people who actually embrace both contact lenses and glasses.
  2. Take your glasses off whenever possible.  When your eyes feel tired massage the area very gently in a circular motion to encourage blood circulation.
  3. Try eye creams which can help to reduce the appearance of dark circles and tackle not just the top layer of the skin but the deeper layers too.
  4. When applying eye cream, be extra gentle because the skin around our eye area is thinner, more care is needed.  
  5. Covering dark circles with makeup is just a temporary solution but if you do wish to cover them up, always pat the makeup on and never rub to avoid damaging the delicate skin.
  6. Finally, treat your eyes to an eye mask.  Use a cooling eye patch/mask that you keep in your fridge everynight before bed.  The cooling sensation helps to reduce the size of the blood vessels. Therefore helps to reduce the appearance of dark circles.

All of the methods mentioned above will take time to see results so don’t expect miracles to happen overnight because you will be disappointed. Get into a routine which suits you and your lifestyle.  However, I cannot stress enough, the importance of protecting your eyes so wear UV filtered lens and sunglasses of course.