If our eyes are windows to our souls, then large veins creeping up those windowsills are both obvious, and disturbing to those staring into them, and that’s exactly what periorbital veins do to those who behold your visage.
If you are looking into the mirror and finding your eyes being surrounded by visible blue veins on the underside, you might be suffering from periorbital vein issues. An increasingly common issue, periorbital veins can make you look old and tired.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what periorbtal veins are, what causes them, and how you can treat them.
What Are Periorbital Veins?
Periorbital veins are the small veins that help your body move blood to and from the blood vessels in your eyes. Usually, these veins start at the bridge of the nose, then run below and above the eyes, ending up meeting other veins near or in the temple area.
Periorbital veins are usually blue but can also appear as purple and yellow. They can function without showing themselves but ageing can cause them to bulge and become obvious.
The area near our eyes tends to be delicate and is more likely to be first affected by aging, leading to these unsightly blue lines showing up. For some people, periorbital veins can give the appearance of dark circles under the eyes, making them look more tired than they feel.
While they are entirely harmless, having highly prominent blue veins popping out around the eye area can be visually disturbing, and cause self-esteem issues.
What Causes Periorbital Veins
A mix of factors causes these veins to start popping out. For a start, genetics can be a big factor in determining if you are going to get this condition. For some people, periorbital veins run in the family. So if close family members who are older have started to exhibit signs of this issue, you might also end up having to deal with these prominent veins around the eye area.
Repeated sun exposure is another factor. The area near and under our eyes has very thin and sensitive skin. This means that if you keep exposing the area to sunlight without any protection in the form of sunglasses or sunscreen, you can potentially set yourself up for periorbital vein issues as you age.
Additionally, regularly engaging in activities that damage your skin or vascular system, like smoking or heavy alcohol use, can cause the veins around your eyes to show up more obviously as you get older.
Finally, aging is a key culprit in the formation of periorbital veins. Without proper care, skin under the eyes loses elasticity, becoming thinner and even more delicate. This causes the veins that lie underneath the skin to become more apparent. In many older people, this condition can cause more than just one or two obvious veins to appear.
What is Periorbital Veins Laser Treatment?
In the past, periorbital veins were removed with micro-surgery, or a procedure called sclerotherapy, which is also used to get rid of varicose veins. This procedure involved injecting small amounts of sclerosant into the veins which were showing.
The introduction of this sclerosant would cause the veins to collapse and harden (a process known as sclerosis). Once that happens, the hardened veins would then degrade over a 3 to 6 week period of time, eventually ridding the area of the offending vein.
However, there is a risk of scarring with sclerotherapy. It seems that the stronger the concentration of the sclerosant injected into the veins is, the greater the risk for discoloration or scarring of the skin there is.
However, new ways have been developed to deal with these unsightly veins and with less hassle. Today, laser therapy can be used to treat periorbital veins. Laser therapy is quick, requires less down time, but might need a few sessions to work its full effect.
This technique is non-invasive and only involves thermal heating of the veins. Using a neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnetvein (Nd:YAG) laser that operates at a wavelength of 1064nm, doctors are able to gently warm up the haemoglobin inside the offending veins, causing them to permanently close.
After a while, the closed veins are no longer visible as they get reabsorbed into the body. Nd:YAG lasers are widely-used, and have been safely deployed in many forms of medical treatment outside of the medical aesthetics field.
After the procedure, the affected area is brighter and smoother-looking. This treatment does not cause any change in blood flow to your eye. If the target periorbital vein is large, your treatment will be over multiple sessions to ensure that the area is not overheated. This is important, as overheating the area can cause unwanted scars to form.
How Effective is Periorbital Veins Laser Treatment
Laser treatment for periorbital vein using a Nd:YAG laser has been found to be rather effective. In a 2012 study, 26 patients who had infraorbital dark circles (dark eye circles) caused by visible prominent veins were treated with a Nd:YAG laser.
They were then examined 12 months after the final treatment. The study found that all patients had high objective improvement scores, meaning that their periorbital vein condition had improved. Self-reported satisfaction scores were high as well, with all patients stating that they were completely satisfied.
This helped the researchers conclude that the Nd:YAG laser does appear to be a safe and effective treatment for periorbital veins. Since then, other similar studies have been conducted, with more or less similar results.
In another study, an 8 year follow up was done on a 41-year-old female patient who had a very obvious periocular lower eyelid vein. When she first came for treatment, she had not undergone any other previous treatment and was treated with three consecutive sessions of Nd:YAG laser. The sessions were performed monthly without topical or local anaesthesia, and her eyes were protected with specific eye wear. The vein was effectively treated and absorbed after the third session.
8 years after the initial treatment, the patient came back for a consultation on a different matter, and the doctor examined the region that was previously treated with the laser. There was no skin pigmentation, nor evidence of any periorbital vein recurrence .
Who Should Get Periorbital Veins Laser Treatment
While laser therapy for periorbital veins tends to be safe, there are some conditions people should be aware of before going for this treatment:
- Sensitive skin, or easily irritated skin: If your skin flares up easily, it might not be advisable for you to undergo laser therapy.
- Acne, or other inflammation: If the under-eye area, or the area near the periorbital vein is currently inflammed for any reason (eg. Acne outbreak), then the laser treatment is not advisable. You should wait until the inflammation subsides before you commit to laser therapy.
- Eye problems: If you have any eye issues, you should tell your doctor before the procedure. Laser treatments of this nature require the insertion of metal internal eyeshields. Therefore your doctor must be notified of any issues with your eye before proceeding with the treatment to prevent any possible complications.
- Epileptic seizures: While this is extremely rare, there is a possibility that flashing lights from laser treatments can accidentally trigger an epileptic seizure.
As a general rule of thumb, you should always declare any pre-existing conditions, or medications that you are currently taking to your doctor during the pre-treatment consultation.
Periorbital veins are not harmful to your health. However, they present an aesthetic issue that may cause emotional distress and lower your self-esteem.
The appearance of periorbital veins tends to be a direct result of aging, with the eye area vulnerable due to its thin and delicate nature. While genetics and lifestyle choices play a role, periorbital veins appear due to the natural loss of elasticity and tissue in the area with the passage of time.
The treatment of this condition has changed through the years. While sclerotherapy used to be the least invasive method of treating this condition, it is no longer the case. The advent of laser therapy has ushered in a painless, non-invasive way to deal with this condition. Periorbital veins can now be treated using Nd:YAG lasers which remove the appearance of the veins.
If you are thinking of using lasers to treat your periorbital vein condition, we recommend that you speak with your doctor before deciding to undergo any form of laser treatment. Based on your age, overall health, and budget, your doctor can work with you to build a treatment plan that will help you overcome your periorbital vein issue.
We Can Help!
Performing periorbital veins laser treatment on your sensitive eye area requires technique and skills, and a treatment plan tailored to each unique individual patient. If you want to receive periorbital veins laser treatment, then it is important that you consider a detailed examination by our doctors, who will then customise a suitable treatment plan based on your skin type, skin condition and any other medical conditions you might have.
If you want to look into the mirror and see a rejuvenated face and better skin through periorbital veins laser treatment, SL Aesthetic Clinic can provide you with the necessary diagnosis and treatment to alleviate your aesthetic concerns. Call us now at 6235 3246, or Whatsapp us at 9850 7112.