Under-eye circles

The possible reasons behind those tired-looking eyes

Q: My eight-year-old has dark circles under his eyes. It doesn’t change regardless of how much sleep he gets. Is it something I should be worried about?

A: You might be able to find the cause in family photo albums: These circles are caused by thin skin under the eyes, so they may be hereditary. Most often, though, they’re associated with nasal congestion seen with allergies (common) or sinus inflammation (not common at eight years of age); in fact, they’re sometimes called allergic shiners. Eczema, which can cause thinning, may also bring them out. Finally, if your son is a snorer or mouth breather, enlarged adenoids may lead to these circles. In any case, mention it to the doctor at your child’s next visit.