Dennie-Morgan Lines: Allergic “Wrinkles”

Christine Franzese, MD, FAAOA

Allergies and the inflammation caused by allergies can do a lot different things to your body, but not many people realize that allergies can cause or contribute to under eye “wrinkles”.

Most people think of old age when someone has under eye wrinkles, but allergies can cause this too, and not just in adults. One of the things that that separates “allergic wrinkles” is that you can see them younger people, even young children.

The medical term for these “allergic” wrinkles is Dennie-Morgan lines, or sometimes they are simply called Dennie lines.  These lines are creases or folds, essentially wrinkles, that form on the lower eyelid, mainly underneath the lower eyelid margin below the lashes. These lines can be a more subtle physical finding in someone who has allergies, but are noticeable and can be seen in a wide age range of patients. Even very young children can have Dennie lines.

How is it that allergies can cause these lines or “wrinkles” to form? Allergic inflammation causes congestion in the nose, and this congestion causes poor blood circulation, or “back up” of blood flower in the eye region.  This poor blood circulation results in a condition where there is low level of oxygen in the surrounding tissue, called “hypoxia.” It’s thought this low level of oxygen causes a particular eyelid muscle, Muller’s muscle, to spasm.  Continued spasms result in these under eye wrinkles, or lines.

Treating allergies can make these lines go away, but the longer the lines have been there, the more likely they are permanent. Still, if you’re thinking about getting something done for eye wrinkles, it’s a good idea to treat your allergies too. It will make it less likely for these lines to come back.

Source: “The Patient with Allergies”: Franzese, CB, Burkhalter, NW. “The Patient with Allergies.” Medical Clinics of North America, 2010, 94 (5), pp. 891-902

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If you’re interested in learning more about allergy and sinus treatment options from Dr. Franzese and her team of specialists please call her office directly at (757) 889-5632.

About Dr. Franzese
Christine Franzese, MD, FAAOA, is a board certified otolaryngologist. She completed a residency in Otolaryngology at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Franzese’s specialties include: allergies and allergy shots, sinus problems (acute and chronic), mild asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid masses or nodules, salivary gland disorders and nodules, and pediatric ENT issues (ear infections, tonsillitis). She has surgical expertise with removing tonsils and adenoids, thyroidectomies, parathyroidectomies, parotidectomies, and has extensive experience with sinus surgeries. She offers functional endoscopic sinus surgery, image-guided sinus surgery, and balloon sinuplasty procedures.

2 thoughts on “Dennie-Morgan Lines: Allergic “Wrinkles”

  1. rashmi Shetty

    I have had dennie morgan folds since I was 10 months old.I would like to know if it’s been there for 17 years give or take a few months will it be permanent? I have been under going allergic treatments(homeopathy) to bring down my IGE levels,will these treatments help get rid of these dennie morgan folds??

  2. Jacqueline Jordan

    For the last two to three weeks I’ve been suffering with allergies and this morning I’ve notices the wrinkles under my eyes. What can use for the wrinkles as well as to raking something for my allergies that won’t make me sleepy?? Thank you, Jacqueline

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