You are here:

Ophthalmology & Optometry/Purplish veins on the underside of my eyelid?


QUESTION: Hello Doctor,

I'm 28yo female.

I've been under horrible stress for the past 4-5 months. I suffer from Generalized anxiety and Health anxiety. In the last 1-2 months I've started having tension headaches and insomnia/hypersomnia so my eyes often feel tired and painful. So do my eyebrows area and my temples.

Around 2-3 weeks ago I had some sharp pains in my right temple & behind my right eye, which lasted for just a few seconds each time. I got them once after changing the position of my head, once when I was chewing and once after I was propping my chin against my hand. Then they disappeared and I haven't had any pain there for 2 weeks now. Only mild temple tension headache like usual. I assumed the sharp pain was TMJ-related pain because it happened when I was chewing and I tend to clench my teeth when I sleep because of stress.

Today though I noticed 2 noticeable purplish veins at the exterior corner of my right eye, both on the underside of my lid. If I pull the corner of my eye away and a bit upwards I can see them. I remember I noticed one of them a couple of weeks ago but now a new one has appeared! The newer one is more obvious and longer than the other (it probably continues behind the eyeball). They are both thin, under 1mm max in thickness and not bulging or anything, but they are purplish and easily noticeable. I am 100% sure that none of them were there at the beginning of March. I have none on my left eye's lid either.

I got really scared and I'm thinking of a tumor now that's pressing on my veins. I suffer from debilitating hypochondria and this symptom is all I needed :(

I had a cervical MRI done at last year at the beginning of December and it captured much of my eye & brain area as well and everything looked normal, but that was 4 months ago.

Any idea if these veins can be a consequence of stress, insomnia, extended computer use, high blood pressure or eyestrain -instead of some monstrous cause? My blood pressure has been very high at times because of my anxiety (up to 170/100).

Should I be very worried about something bad?

Thank you!

ANSWER: hi Cristina,,
With eyes that are so tired, dry and irritated you should suspect that as a cause, not a tumor. We all worry about the worst, and as soon as we think it may be, it spins out of control and the anxiety goes up. the reality is that it would be rare indeed for it to be a tumor, but I cannot prove it isn't and therefore recommend you have to see a doctor to make sure your eye looks normal and moves around normally etc, then you'll feel better.  But meanwhile you need to stay hydrated and use some lubricating drops to help sooth the eye. Get rested, reduce the computer work and so on. hopefully this will help the vessels reduce in size and make you more physically and emotionally comfortable.
Mitch Axelrod, OD

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Eye veins
Eye veins  
QUESTION: Thank you very much for your answer. I will buy some lubricating drops and use them, hopefully they will help.

I also took a picture of the veins and I am attaching it here - if you have a little time to just have a look at it I would appreciate it so much. Do the veins look like they could be caused by eye fatigue / high blood pressure?

I was just surprised that only one eyelid is affected, the other eyelid is fine.

Thank you so so much.

sorry for the long delay.  I showed the pic to a few colleagues, we don't really see anything bad, but it isn't the same as seeing it live with a lot of magnification.  I still say to get it looked at or try some other opinions from similar forums/doctors.  
Thank you,
Mitch Axelrod, OD

Ophthalmology & Optometry

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mitchell Axelrod


I'm happy to answer questions about eye exam findings and procedures, glasses and contact lens types/prescriptions/problems. I can also answer questions about general eye conditions/diseases. I do not answer questions concerning surgical techniques/procedures. Please state your age or within a small range when asking questions, as it is often important.


Optometrist 19 yrs.

Doctor of Optometry, cum laude; Residency in Ocular Disease

©2016 All rights reserved.