What do our eyes say about our faces?
Since the start of the pandemic, masks have become a part of our lives. They cover half of our faces, making the eyes the focus of most of the attention given to us during conversations. What do the eyes tell us about the face?
On my subway ride I see puffy eyes, tired eyes, dark circles and bags under eyes, droopy eyes, sleepy eyes…
As a myofunctional therapist, I am attuned to seeing a deep story in the eyes of passers by.
Puffy eyes or dark circles may be related to congested nasal airways, allergies, nose polyps or enlarged adenoids; Traits that often lead to habitual mouth breathing. The face under the mask may reveal a longer face and narrow upper jaw.
Droopy eyes may suggest underdeveloped maxilla (the upper jaw). The maxilla makes up a dominant portion of the face; It holds the roots of upper teeth and forms most of the hard palate (roof of the mouth). The roof of our mouth serves as the floor of our maxillary sinuses (under the eyes in the cheek bones) and orbits of the eyes. Properly developed and positioned maxilla lifts the eyes and also gives the appearance of high and full cheekbones. If one has a narrow upper jaw (and therefore a narrow palate), it is likely they also have narrowing of the sinuses.
The maxilla gives support to the eye bony socket and soft tissue around it. Therefore, “droopy” eyes may hint to some maxillary development deficiency. Such a deficiency may be an indication of compromised airway, and sleep-disordered breathing. As an orofacial myofunctional therapist, it is my job to:
- recognise these issues and establish correct rest posture of the tongue
- evaluate breathing patterns
- establish nasal breathing with proper lip seal
- make necessary referrals the correct specialists
- For example, to see an orthodontist for palate expansion, or an ENT and allergist, or see a physician who specializes in sleep medicine.