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Avatar universal

Bruising under eyes from tight swimming goggles?

hello -

I wore a new pair of swim goggles with suction to prevent leaking I'd estimate about 25-30 times this summer, 20-40 minutes per swim.  I am a long distance swimmer, female, age 447.  I noticed at the end of August I was developing these marked "troughs" under my eyes and I stopped using the goggles.  I also would have reddish discoloration/ bruising under the eyes after I removed the goggles which seemed to dissipate within a couple of hours.

I now have deep dark circles with discoloration under my eyes that is marked. I was sick for a couple of weeks with a cold/post nasal drip in October which may have made this worse.  Anyway, it has been two months since I stopped using the goggles.  I am very very worried about these awful looking troughs.  

A friend asked me three weeks ago if I had a black eye and someone else remarked I looked "very tired".

I'm very concerned that I have done permanent damage to the skin under my eyes by wearing these suction type goggles with the resultant pressure and and I'm wondering if you have ever seen this problem.  Is there anything I can do?   What is the prognosis and is it possible I have done permanent damage?
57 Responses
Avatar universal
I have exactly the same problem!  I'm 50 and don't consider myself vain but the troughs, as you accurately describe, are bothersome.  I'm considering purchasing an Anew under eye cream from Avon and also will try to use cucumbers on my eyes after I swim.  I just read in RealSimple that the cucumber thing actually has some benefit for any under eye swelling.  I don't know if any of it will work.  I too am worried about long term damage.  I hope someone answers our questions!
Avatar universal
Avon under eye cream?  Hmmm..I have a friend who sells Avon, is this cream supposed to be good?

I've stopped swimming (last swim outdoors was mid-September) and I purchased a swim mask at the end of the summer, which leave marks in a different place but at least they don't cause the eye swelling.

I posted the question to another board and a derm MD answered, saying this was uncommon and to try goggles that fit to bone.  However, I believe if one has been using goggles (especially the suction kind which are the best way to keep out water leaks) for years, even decades like I have, then there must be some kind of long term cumulative effect.  I believe the pressure of the goggles has over the years contributed to my baggy eyes and now I'm waking up with incredible puffiness.  I have to put cold compresses (I use a cold moistened facecloth) over my face for 10-15 minutes in the morning.

I think at some point I will consult a plastic surgeon or derm MD although at 47 I feel I am too young for this.  Maybe in a few years....

I'm sure some of it is just aging and something I/we will have to accept as inevitable changes but I do worry that the long term use of goggles has just added years to my otherwise youthful appearance.
Avatar universal
I noticed these dark rings under my eyes last time I went swimming and thought it was just because I was getting old (51) -- or perhaps not hydrating properly. Today I went again, and I have these same dark rings. They take at least a day to go away. On another site they said that these were due to bruising, but I think it is the pressure of the goggles pushing the fatty tissue away, and we see the gray color of the bone underneath.

I agree that this makes me look years older, and actually pretty strange.

I don't want to give up swimming, but the one of the the benefits of exercise is to look fit.

Avatar universal
So glad I found all of you!  I am 50 and have been swimming for 10 years. The "goggle troughs" always went away after a few hours until recently. I agree with Greg that it looks like the goggle pressure pushed the fatty tissue away - and that it looks rather strange! I am hoping to hear some good news...that it goes away without plastic surgery, which is out of the question for me. Am curious if anyone has tried facial massage and/or lymphatic draining to help. Also wondering if anyone has seen improvements in their goggle troughs as more time has lapsed? I really don't want to give up swimming, but I also need to not look tired all the time in my profession....
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comment.  Nice to know we are not alone.  I have not tried facial massage nor lymphatic drainage...how does one do lymphatic drainage?  I'd be willing to try it if I knew it would not make it WORSE.  

I do believe that goggle pressure over a period of time does cause fat herniation (I have seen this term used by plastic surgeons) and the skin is so thin around the eyes that the bluish color is the vasculature underneath...the veins and capillaries.

I have done quite a bit of research, have emailed plastic surgeons and MD's who have written articles about goggle injuries and it seems the consensus is that once the bags or circles or are there, especially at a certain age (I'm 47.5) there's not much that you can do (short of surgery).  You can try cold compresses and then someone else said warm compresses.  I don't believe any of the creams out there will achieve miracles but maybe some of the firming creams are worth a try.

Also, some of this naturally occurs with aging depending on your genetics.  It's hard for me to tell how much of this is due to the goggle pressure or my genetics.  I am pretty convinced that the goggles have hastened this development.  

For me, I will never wore goggles again.  I am so disheartened by the change in my appearance this that my last swim was mid-September and I wore a mask at that time....I'm DONE with goggles.

I will swim again, but I will either use the mask or nothing.

If anyone has anything else to add, I'm all ears!  
Avatar universal
I agree that the cause is a combination of genetics and swim goggles, and that the goggles hastened the 'fat herniation" process (a term I learned from further research). My mom is 86 and has never used swim goggles, and the same under eye bags and dark circles are there for her. But she's 86!  

I plan to continue swimming with a mask, give the healing process more time, and pray. The body knows how to heal itself, and as for prayer, that's a longer discussion.

I am very interested in leading efforts to have swim goggle manufacturers include a warning label about possible under eye damage for older swimmers. If anyone has contacts in this industry, please let me know. Otherwise I will pursue Congress. And if anyone finds a non-surgery cure for our goggle troughs, please post!  Even if the cure was just time...
Avatar universal
I have thought about writing to people in the industry to ask about this issue.  I did find a name of someone who works for Tyr who posted on a swimmer's board about goggles.  I'll try to track his name down.  

My sisters don't have this problem but my brother (who is 58) does have bags under his eyes so perhaps I am taking after him.  When I wake up in the morning I can see the imprint of where the goggles rested on my face and there are two puffy fat pads sitting on the tops of my cheeks, just below the "troughs" and dark circles.  I did not look like this in June.  This developed and hastened after wearing the goggles (Kaiman Aquasphere) this past summer.   By the end of the day they are not as noticable as it is water retention and with gravity it lessens but for several hours after awakening it is pretty unsightly.

Sure, if there was a warning on the goggle package I never would have taken the risk.  I have thought that if this worsens (which by all accounts it may) that I may have to consider surgery maybe at the age of 50.  Not at all happy about this possibility, in fact, quite terrified but I don't know if I could face myself in the mirror.

I was wondering mpl2009 why surgery is out of the question.  Is it financial or just that you would not take the risk?    Of course, there is a risk it won't come out the way one wants.  This is what cares me.  I would be ready and willing to drop the money for the best surgeon to fix this.  But they can't even guarantee a good result.

I will also try prayer and meditation and thinking positive thoughts.  If I find any more information on people in the industry I will be happy to email them to you or post here.
Avatar universal
I am so pleased to have discovered this discussion by googling 'damage from swimming goggles'.  I'm 45 and swim twice a week for fitness, I'm only in the pool 40 mins each time but I get the pressed in/black eyes look afterwards and still have it 8 hours later although it clears by the next day.  I wear contacts so goggles are a must, I tried a mask and hated it, it felt like swimming with a box on my face and it interfered with my breathing.  Since fitness and the over 40s are such a big growth area right now, why haven't Speedo or another manufacturer got hold of this, they could grab the whole market sector if they designed a 'non invasive' goggle.  I've tried the cold tea bag treatment, I think it's just the cooling effect of the bag (same with cucumber) that helps.

Any other successes with creams or different eyewear that you have found I would be delighted to hear about.
Avatar universal
I'm a 31 y/o female and swam with goggles last night for the first time in a long time. The suction caused brusing above and below my eyes and swelling. The bruising is mostly gone (14 hours later), but the under  eye region is still swollen. I am very disappointed. I just started training for my first triathlon, but I refuse to wear goggles if it will cause these effects. I'm glad it's not just me, but that does not really help :).
Avatar universal
I am the original poster.  I tried to post something yesterday to piscenlex but it did not post as I guess I forgot to log in.

Anyway, I have not swum since October 08.  If I do swim this summer, I do have a mask from AquaSphere that is a smaller shape for women.  I have heard they came out with a newer mask model as well so it might be worth checking out AquaSphere Seal Mask on Google and see what options you find.   I will never wear goggles again if I can help it.  Not worth it.

My swelling, under eye circles, eye bags are still there and I attribute it to aging, genetics AND wearing goggles for 24 years.  So I would advise a younger woman if you have sensitive skin (I'm Irish so I do) and you plan to swim for many years and if you want to avoid "goggle eyes", consider skipping the goggles and wear a mask.  A mask will also leave marks but it will be on the parts of your face where the skin is thicker, the cheeks and the forehead.  Don't wear the mask too tight if you can help it, again you will have some marks but my feeling is they won't be as dramatic as the under and over eye marks.  And it's unlikely a mask will cause bruising.   The under eye area skin is some of thinnest on the body and thus more susceptible to swelling and discoloration when compressed.  

Best of luck all.
Avatar universal
I also posted a longer message a few days ago that didn't make it for some reason. I will be briefer in this one, in case it erases as well.

I  agree that the eye bags and dark circles are a combination of genetics, aging and (tight) goggle use. I have contacted Speedo and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and requested that goggles include a warning to inform users of this potential damage.

If I had known about this when I was in my forties, I would have stopped wearing goggles and switched to a mask. I wear and aqua sphere mask now and have adjusted to it just fine.

My eye bags bother me a lot. I have considered eye surgery but don't think I'll go that far to fix them. They are better when I'm not tired, when I'm happy, and as they day goes on. But they do return in the morning and I think it's because the fat pads have herniated.

Guess the only 'good' that can come from this is to prevent others from suffering by getting the word out. So if you're so inclined, contact google manufacturers or the CPSC at http://www.cpsc.gov/

Best to all...
Avatar universal
I appreciate all the research you all have done on this goggle/eye problem. I have worn the Speedo small suction goggles for years and believe they added to the dark rings & puffy under eye look I've endured. I am now age 70 and a few months ago had plastic surgery on upper & lower lids and now wear an old AquaSphere mask that leaves dents on my forehead and cheeks. These lines do go away after several hours or the next day...not perfect but the best solution I could find.

A few years ago I purchased an expensive pair of Barracuda Goggles that were not supposed to make marks but they leaked. Does anyone know a place that fits these goggles to ones face?
Avatar universal
Hey guys, I'm 25 and have just started swimming for fitness cause I have always had trouble losing weight and having a decent body shape. I've been swimming for about 1.5 months, 5 days a week at 1~1.5rs a day. I've already lost 5kg; but better than that, my physique is looking awesome. I plan to make this a long term form of fitness. One problem is that I wear glasses, so I use prescription goggles. The goggles are now causing the dark circles which stay until the next morning even. I am worried that the circles might become permanent.

Someone suggested wearing contact lenses and using swedish goggles. I bought the goggles, but I'm not sure that they are preventing the dark circles because they press along the same location as my normal goggles. Also, they are very uncomfortable and leak a lot. I haven't bought the contact lenses because I've never worn contacts in my life. Anyone have any experience with the swedish goggles solving the dark circles problem?
I guess the worst case scenario is to wear a mask with contact lenses. I would appreciate any suggestion. (cos I don't want to stop swimming because it is the only sport that has given me the results I was looking for)

Avatar universal
I thought when I typed "dark circles from swim goggles" into Search, there'd be no results for me.  Yikes--this is a common problem!!  I caught on to the prob when co-workers were telling me I looked "beat" and here I felt great from my new-found swimming routine. Like Alex, I'm new at swimming laps and like the results--it relaxes & tones my "computer" body--so I'm eager to get this figured out.
I wear prescription Speedos.   I'm very nearsighted, so without my prescription goggles, I sorta lack confidence in the pool setting.   I tried using contacts/goggles but most goggles leak.  I think I'll bite the bullet and try the "no goggles" approach as the mask sounds cumbersome.  Also slathering on creams right after the swim makes sense--my older relatives rubbed tiny amounts of Preparation H on upper cheeks to rid puffiness and circles--seems silly but I might give it a whirl.
So glad you were all honest about the circles not going away over time.
And thanx to those contacting manufacturers.
Avatar universal
have just bought some aquasphere vista goggles - a miracle, no puffiness, no red marks no bruising on my 50 year old skin would thoroughly recommend them. can now swim in the morning before work or before a night out. never possible before as looked such a mess.
Avatar universal
I am happy to have found this thread! I also am frustrated about puffy circles under my eyes, and have been a long time swimmer. I in my thirties, and have always had a bit of circle under my eye, but it recently has gotten puffier and more tired looking, and less like just a natural feature of my face. I chalk the change to fatigue, getting older, realizing I had some allergies (down, dust, pollens), but also to using swim goggles. Many older family members have similar puffy circles under their eyes, so maybe it is just my fate, but I am determined to try and counteract them.

-I have been using a cream called MyChelle Fresh Eyes, and it seems to help. I always apply it directly after swimming, and it seems to take the puffiness and lines down. They have a website: www.mychelle.com.
-I have also been told that if your liver and kidneys are having any kind of deficiency, it can show up in circles under your eyes. A Chinese doctor who did acupuncture on me, as well as a different naturopath, both told me that they thought my liver was a little bit weak, so that is another avenue I am looking down.
-I decided after my last swim that I am just going to try and swim without goggles. I have used goggles since my earliest days on swimteam at age 7, but I figure if I can count my strokes and swim straight, maybe I can do without them. We'll see. I'll try those Aquasphere masks otherwise.
-I can't imagine myself ever getting plastic surgery or botox, but I was reading about this thing called carboxy, where they inject carbon dioxide under the skin and can potentially reduce dark circles (and other undesireable features, I guess) because it increases circulation in the area or something. I don't know that I would ever try it, but maybe it's an option for people who are talking about considering plastic surgery.
-I also like the positive attitude option that a few people mentioned above. That certainly helps with most things.

Avatar universal
Just an option to those who do not want to quit swimming. Speedo makes a strapless stick-on goggle. It uses a medical grade adhesive. You can get them at swimoutlet.com. I haven't tried them myself, but i figured you might want to know about them. Not sure how the adhesive will affect the eye area though.
Avatar universal
I am age 51, been swimming twice a week for about six years and have always noticed the rings around my eyes after swimming but until recently they have always went away after a few hours. I just noticed in the last week or two that the lower darker ring under my eyes isn't going away at all. So I finally decide to do some research and through Google I read these postings for the first time and find out what is happening.

Thank you all for your stories. I'm sure there's millions of others who have had the same experience. Fortunately, I am a very un-vain male who wears glasses and doesn't have to worry too much about my appearance but I'd like to correct this problem if I can.

When I swim today, I'm going to loosen my Speedo goggles as much as I can but frankly, without suction, they're going to leak which defeats the whole purpose of goggles in the first place.

I'm an occasional scuba diver and I have a great mask at home that I will try swimming with next week, which will stop this other issue from happening but I, like others, don't know how lap swimming will be with my scuba mask but I'll give it a try and report back here.

Finally, it will be interesting to see if these marks go away if I quit using my goggles.
Avatar universal
Original Poster here.  I stopped swimming for several months and it did seem to help my puffy, discolored eyes.  No one asked me if I had black eyes anymore.   But I started up again this past summer and I used the AquaSphere Seal XP mask for Ladies.  It does leave some marks against the cheeks and sometimes it pressed too much against the bridge of my nose and leaves a mark but these usually go away.  It's not nearly as bad as the marks I got with goggles.  You can find this mask on line in certain colors for $19.99.  There is also the Vista mask which is superior (and I think unisex) but pricier.  The Seal XP also comes in unisex style, and is just a big bigger and wider.

I do still have some "bags" but I attribute them more to genetics and aging.  I doubt the goggles for 20+ years helped but there's not a lot I can do about it except wear a mask and try to not worry about vanity so much!
Avatar universal
I've been swimming with goggles for two decades, and now at 44 find that the rings around my eyes just don't seem to go away, either. Ugh!  I'll try swimming with no goggles but as a contact lens wearer that's kind of annoying because of the chlorine residue.  Swimming has such huge mental and physical benefits, just wish the goggles problem would go away!
Avatar universal
Hi folks, I'm 31 and have been swimming for 25 yrs - wearing goggles almost every week. Yes googles can cause or exaserbate under-eye dark circles. These circles go away-no lasting damage. I had some googles that made this noticeably worse. So even though they worked well I had to switch. I've found that the smaller eye socket type goggles are worse (swedish style). I've found that the Speedo graded seal foam goggles work well for me - GCG. The trick is to try different types and find which fit your face well and create a seal with the least amount of pressure = least bruising. Goggles that press again firmer areas of your face and not the soft tissues adjacent to your eye accomplish this but are a very individualized fit. There are goggles that rest completely out of the eye socket (not nearly as streamlined) such as the vista goggles mentioned above. Dark circles can be caused by aging and lack of sleep/tiredness. Excessive swimming can lead to tiredness :) so make sure you get enough after a good workout. My wife discovered a miracle eye cream called Eyewish by Karavita which works well in the other instance. Hope this helps and happy swimming.
Avatar universal
To everyone that is having problems with googles making permanent marks on their faces...
I bought the Aqua Sphere Vista yesterday.  Used them this morning.  THEY ARE A MIRACLE!!!!!!
I had a slight mark on my upper check but was gone before I got out the shower. What a fun experience to swim and not have to plan my meetings around if i swam earlier or not.  Just couldn't face the stares when my eyes were bruised and covered in suction marks for the day.
Good luck!
Avatar universal
The other day, after a two hour practice, everyone was comparing goggle marks. Some people commented that mine were the worst, which I dont deny. I'm trying to make it so I dont get them  anymore, or so they're at least not so bad. I'm trying to decide between the Aquasphere vistas (which i dont find very pretty but if they work ill try them), and the swedish goggles (which a lot of reviews said leave no rings). Help?
Avatar universal
I swim laps for fitness, and have become very concerned with the under eye damage that I believe can be caused by swim goggles.  I am 31 years old and have lately noticed a darkness under my eyes that was not there a few years ago.  Some may be the result of getting older and heredity, but I want to prevent any future damage that could result from the suction of swim goggles pressing against the delicate eye area.  I am also wondering if sweedish goggles are a good or bad idea.  They do not seem to use suction; however, the low profile fit means they would be sitting near the eye where the skin is the most delicate.  Any suggestions would be appreciated. I would like to order my goggles from swimoutlet.  I am not willing to give up swimming since the numerous benefits seem to outweigh the downfalls..but I am really worried about dark circles.
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