Question: Ever since birth, my 18-month-old boy has dark eye rings, even after a long nap. My paediatrician said he probably has sensitive nose, but is too young to diagnose. May I know what maybe the cause and how can I improve the situation?
Answer: Dark eye rings below the eye can be due to sleep deprivation as well as allergic rhinitis (sensitive nose). Your 18-month-old boy should be sleeping about 13-14 hours a day, 2 hours as daytime nap and 11-12 hours in the night. You should make sure that he is getting enough sleep. Another reason could be allergic rhinitis or ‘sensitive nose’. He may have stuffy nose, running nose and frequent sneezing.
Nasal congestion as a result of allergic rhinitis can lead to congestion of blood vessels around the eye and this over long results in dark eye ring. Allergic rhinitis is cause by inhalant allergen like house dust mites’ faeces, cockroaches and dogs/cats fur, and environmental control is important. This include keeping stuff toys away from him, making sure his bedding is washed with warm water ( at least 60 degree Celsius) and changed once weekly. Of course, dark eye rings can be hereditary. If you or your spouse has dark eye rings, your children can have them too.
Dr Ellen Tay
Thomson Paediatric Centre at Novena Medical Centre
Thomson Paediatric Centre
10 Sinaran Drive #09-02/03
Novena Medical Center
Tel: 6256 3291