Weight Loss and Sunken Eyes

Weight loss and sunken eyes are symptoms of conditions that are very useful to the individual because they are very easy to identify. Most people are aware of how much they weigh and how their weight fluctuates, and unexpected changes can be cause for concern. In a similar way, sunken eyes are very easy to identify in yourself and others. Together, these two symptoms could be caused by multiple conditions.

Sunken Eyes

Sunken eyes may appear darkened either due to shadowing or purple hues in the skin. It is a much different appearance than having bags under the eyes, which usually feature swelled pouches just below the eye. The eyes may appear to be set farther back than normal, giving the condition its name.

Weight Loss

Although weight loss can refer to an intentional effort to lose weight safely, when related to sunken eyes, it's almost never a good thing. Weight loss usually indicates that the body is not absorbing nutrients properly either due to failure to supply those nutrients or the body's inability to properly process, absorb and apply the nutrients consumed through your diet. Anything beyond normal fluctuation, which caps out at a few pounds for most people, should be considered unexplained weight loss. A loss of five percent of your body weight is considered significant, according to a report from Virginia Commonwealth University 1.

Possible Causes

A primary cause of sunken eyes and weight loss is malnutrition and possibly starvation. In many cases, this is seen in people whose diets aren't meeting their nutritional needs, but it could be related to a condition or digestive problem that is preventing your body from absorbing food properly. Dehydration is another possible cause -- while extreme weight loss won't occur, you may notice a change of a few pounds. You may also be suffering from other conditions that may be auto-immune or impossible to identify without a visit to the doctor.


In many cases, conditions causing weight loss and sunken eyes need to be treated before more serious complications develop. Malnutrition and dehydration can lead to death over time, and other possible conditions, such as AIDS or certain types of cancer, may require consistent medical treatment and/or emergency procedures. Other side effects may develop early on or appear as the condition worsens.


If you are experiencing weight loss and sunken eyes, you should visit a doctor quickly to have the cause identified. You may be suffering from a condition that, if left untreated, could be life-threatening. Additionally, regardless of how well you are able to diagnose yourself, a doctor can make professional recommendations of lifestyle changes that will benefit your health, and suggest or prescribe medications or other treatments.