Eyelid surgery, medically known as blepharoplasty, is the most common invasive cosmetic procedure performed on the face. About one hundred thousand people have it done annually in the U.S. to achieve a more youthful appearance or repair an issue that interferes with vision. More women than men have eyelid surgery, and it is often combined with another procedure, such as a face lift or skin resurfacing.
Why Choose Eyelid Surgery?
Like other areas of the body, eyes are subject to the effects of aging. Bags or puffiness under the eyes can give a tired appearance. Droopy eyelids can make a person look old. They can also impair vision. Since blepharoplasty is performed for either cosmetic or function, anyone considering the procedure does so based on what they need and want for their eyes. Patients can opt for upper eyelid surgery, lower eyelid surgery or both, depending on what issues they want to correct. The result should be firmer eye area skin, a fresher appearance, and less impaired vision.
An examination and consultation precedes blepharoplasty so that the surgeon can determine if the patient is a good candidate for surgery. Patients are asked about their vision, use of lenses, tear production, and reasons for wanting eyelid surgery. An explanation of the procedure is given to the patient so that it is clear what the surgery should accomplish. Patients will be told about risk factors and what factors may contribute to a more successful outcome, such as age, ethnicity, and skin type. For purely cosmetic procedures, the physician may recommend a simultaneous surgery, such as a forehead lift, to help further reduce the signs of aging.
With upper eyelid surgery, the physician marks individual lines and eyelid creases to minimize the appearance of scars. An incision is made, and the doctor removes excess fat, loose skin, and muscle. Then, the incisions are closed with fine sutures, which can help minimize scar visibility.
For lower eyelid surgery, an incision is made along the eyelash line and in the smile creases under the eyelid. The doctor then trims excess fat, skin, and muscle, and the incision is closed with fine sutures. A separate procedure called transconjunctival blepharoplasty is performed on patients with eyelid puffiness that is caused mainly by excess fat. For this procedure, the doctor makes an incision inside the lower eyelid and removes the excess fat. Sutures used to close the incision are invisible and self-dissolving.
Eyelid surgery is typically an outpatient procedure and takes one or two hours to finish. Doctors do the upper eyelid first, if both upper and lower surgery is being performed.
After surgery ends, tiny sterile bandages may be applied to the eye area, but covering the eyes is not necessary. Bruising and swelling is normal and to be expected. Patients may experience dry, itchy, sticky eyes. The doctor may recommend eye drops or ointment. Three-to-five days after surgery, permanent stitches are removed. Elevating the head and using cold compresses may boost healing and relieve pain.