Healthbeat Report: Tired of Looking Tired?

February 3, 2012 4:50:50 AM PST
Are you tired of looking tired? If the answer is yes, a new laser technique could zap away the sun damaged, swollen skin around your eyes.They make you look tired and older. But they don't have to stay. Those unwanted bags could be a sign that something else is going on with your body. Finding a cause and a fix could help make you feel and look years younger.

Your grandparents or parents probably had them and you could too -- the sagging, swollen skin that spans from under the eye to the top of the cheekbone. They may be at their worst in the morning and get better as the day goes on. But for some people the bags hang around all day and are a common condition called eye festoons or malar mounds.

"I would get that comment frequently. Did you not rest, are you tired?," said Donna Mart, patient.

Mart, a hair stylist, was tired of looking tired. Eye bags and swollen, puffy skin were dragging her down.

Dr. Adam Scheiner, of the Tampa Eye Clinic, says he has perfected a laser technique that can literally wipe away unsightly bags and festoons. Mart says it did the trick for her.

"The results since and the comments from my clients and everybody have just been phenomenal," she said.

Structural problems beneath the lower eye lid over time may leave a gap in skin layers leading to swelling or puffiness. Also, fat deposits can gather as we age because we start to lose some tissue and ligament support.

This technique uses sophisticated erbium and carbon dioxide lasers to remove the festoons and coax the production of collagen and newer better quality skin. The laser zaps away the top layer. A second pass tightens it.

Dr. Scheiner says when coupled with lower eye lid laser surgery the procedure leads to a more natural revitalization.

"So what we can do is take swollen, sun damaged skin and make it smooth, tight and younger looking," said Dr. Scheiner.

This is not just about vanity. The bags could also be a sign of sinus congestion or allergies and if persistent it's worth bringing up to your physician.

"People can be allergic to things in the environment or even makeup they are using," said . "So we have to see if they have any redness or scaling in that area."

Other factors include lifestyle issues such as sleep, stress smoking and sun damage. Concealers and over the counter treatments can help cover up or shrink some of the puffiness.

Linda Wieber, 66, is going with a chemical peel. She does not have significant bags. So Loyola dermatologist Rebecca Tung is doing a medium depth peel to help tighten around the eyes and promote healing. The change won't be drastic, but it can help. Wieber has had peels before.

"I could tell there was a difference because there was some puffiness by the eye and it tightened some of that skin," said Wieber.

Dr. Tung says combining procedures often works best. Botox along with a chemical peel can help smooth the skin. She says a little injected filler around the eyes can also help shore things up, keeping the bags at bay.

"It sort of softens the stepoff between your lower eyelid and cheek bringing you back to a more youthful position, literally shaving off about 10 years in about five minutes," said Dr. Tung.

The eye procedure Dr. Scheiner does can cost a minimum $5,000. He's based in Florida and says people fly in from around the world to have it done.

Other surgeons ABC7 talked with in the Chicago area say they have also combined laser with surgery to fix the most severe of festoons.

Dr. Rebecca Tung
Loyola Univ. Health System

321 N.LaGrange Rd.
LaGrange Park, IL. 60526

Dr. Adam Scheiner
Tampa Eye Clinic

American Academy of Dermatology

American Academy for Dermatologic Surgery

American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery