As people age, the skin around the eyelid stretches, muscles weaken and fat pockets begin to bulge. Blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery is a plastic surgery procedure designed to reduce the appearance of the tired, droopy eyes that results from the unfortunate effects of time. This may involve the removal of skin and fat pockets in the upper and lower eyelids. Eyelid surgery will not reduce the appearance of crow’s feet, drooping eyebrows or dark circles under the eyes.
The best candidates for eyelid surgery are those who are in good physical health and those who have realistic expectations. Most patients are over the age of 35, but if you are genetically predisposed to droopy eyes, you may decide to have eyelid surgery done at an earlier age.
Patients who may not be good candidates for blepharoplasty include those with thyroid disease, insufficient tear production, high blood pressure, diabetes, a circulatory disorder or cardiovascular disease.
Upper Blepharoplasty, Lower Blepharoplasty
Esthetic (cosmetic) eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, removes the excess fat and wrinkles from the drooping skin of the upper eyelids, that makes you look tired and old. It also eliminates bags under the eyes and tightens the lower eyelids’ skin. The result is a brighter, more alert and relaxed appearance.
Eyelid Surgery Procedure
Eyelid surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia but if requested, general anesthesia can be used. The plastic surgeon begins by making incisions in the crease of the upper eyelid and behind or beneath the lashes of the lower eyelid. Then, excess fat and skin are removed and if necessary, the muscles around the eye are re-draped.
The eyelids will feel tight and sore and the head should be kept elevated for the first few days in order to reduce swelling and bruising. Stitches will be removed two days to one week after blepharoplasty and patients should be able to return to daily activities after 10 days.
Eyelid Surgery Risks
As with any plastic surgery, eyelid surgery carries some risk. Risks and complications associated with blepharoplasty include:
- Double or blurred vision – this is usually temporary and will subside in a few days
- Swelling at the corners of the eyelids – a temporary condition
- Whiteheads – these may appear after the stitches are taken out and can be removed by your surgeon
- Difficulty closing the eyes while sleeping – this is usually temporary but, in rare cases, can be permanent
- Ectropion – a rare condition involving the pulling down of the lower eyelids, which can be corrected with further surgery
- Reaction to anesthesia