The skin around the eye begins to lose elasticity with aging, resulting in changes in the eyelids. The saggings in the upper eyelids and puffiness under your eye make you look older and tired. Sometimes these saggings may even obstruct your vision. Excessive skin around the eyelid and aging symptoms can be removed by eyelid surgery, providing a more serene and youthful look.
What is cosmetic eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty)?
Cosmetic eyelid surgery is technically called blepharoplasty, which is a procedure to remove fat along with excess skin and muscle from the upper and lower eyelids. However, blepharoplasty does not correct crow’s feet and other wrinkles or eliminate dark circles under your eye and lift sagging eyebrows.
Blepharoplasty can be performed alone or in combination with other facial procedures (e.g. facelift, brow lift).
Who is a good candidate for eyelid surgery? Who should not undergo eyelid surgery?
Blepharoplasty candidates are usually 35 years and older, however, if droopy and baggy eyelids are common in your family, you may decide to have the procedure at a younger age.
A few medical conditions make blepharoplasty riskier. These include thyroid problems (e.g., hypothyroidism and Graves’s disease), dry eye or lack of sufficient tears, hypertension or other circulatory problems, cardiovascular conditions and diabetes. Eye diseases such as detached retina or glaucoma require caution. If you experience any of these or similar conditions, you should share this information with us during the planning stage of the operation.
How should I prepare for the surgery?
You should inform us of any medications you are taking during the planning stage of the operation. Since smoking delays healing process, we advise you to quit smoking before the procedure. If you have any allergies, you should also share this information with us.
Where can I get eyelid surgery?
Blepharoplasty should be carried out in an operating room setting at a general hospital.
Do I need to get an anesthetic for the eyelid surgery?
Eyelid surgery is usually performed under sedation with local anesthesia, which will numb the area around your eyes. You will be awake during the procedure, but you will not feel any pain, but feel relaxed; rarely you may feel some tugging or discomfort.
How long does the surgery usually take?
Blepharoplasty usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours. If all four eyelids will be operated, then we will first work on the upper eyelids, and then on the lower eyelids.
What kind of a procedure is performed during the cosmetic eyelid surgery?
A typical procedure includes incisions in the natural lines of eyelids, in the creases of upper lids, and just below the lashes in the lower lids. The incisions may extend into the outer corner of the eyes (crow’s feet) or wrinkles which appear more prominent while laughing. We work through these incisions to separate the skin from underlying tissue and muscles and remove the excess fat, usually along with sagging skin and muscle tissue. Then we close the incisions with fine sutures.
A transconjunctival blepharoplasty can be performed if you have fatty bags beneath your lower eyelids and there is no need to remove any skin from this area. It requires an incision, leaving no visible scar inside your lower eyelid. It is usually performed on younger patients with thicker and more elastic skin.
Will I be admitted to the hospital after the surgery?
Patients are usually discharged from the hospital the same day after blepharoplasty.
Is eyelid surgery a painful procedure?
You may feel tightness and pain around your eyelids as the anesthesia wears off, but painkillers will ease the pain and discomfort. You should contact us if you feel any severe pain.
What should and shouldn’t I do after the surgery?
You need to keep your head elevated and use cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising for a couple of days. Although the extent of bruising may vary from person to person, it usually resolves in one week with the help of moisturizing creams. Your eyes may feel gummy for a week or two. We usually recommend eyedrops since your eyelids may get dry at first, and your eyes may burn or itch. Excessive tearing and sensitivity to light should be expected for the first weeks.
The sutures will be removed 5-7 days after the surgery. You will start to feel and look better as the swelling and discoloration around your eyes gradually fade following the removal of the sutures.
How long does it take to go back to my normal life?
You should be able to read the newspaper or book and watch TV after 2 or 3 days. However, you should wait approximately two weeks to wear contact lenses; you may still feel uncomfortable for a while after that period.
Most people feel ready to return to their social life and work in 7 days. You may be sensitive to sunlight, wind and other irritants for several weeks, so you should wear sunglasses and special sun-block for eyelids when you go out.
You need to limit your activities at least for three to five days, and avoid strenuous activities for the first week. You should especially avoid any strenuous activities that may increase your blood pressure such as bending, lifting and demanding sports etc. Also, you may be asked to abstain from alcohol to prevent fluid retention.
Will there be a surgical scar?
Healing is a gradual process, and your surgical scar may remain slightly pink for six months after the surgery. However, eventually, it will fade into a thin, nearly invisible white line.
What complications are expected after the surgery?
Complications due to eyelid surgery are uncommon and usually minor in the hands of an experienced surgeon. Still, it is always likely to have infection and bleeding.
Some minor complications that may occur after blepharoplasty include a double or blurred vision for a couple of days; temporary swelling at the corner of the eyelids; and a slight asymmetry in the area of healing or scarring (surgical scar). Small whiteheads may appear after removal of the sutures; they can be eliminated by a very fine needle.
Some patients may have difficulty in closing their eyes while sleeping after the surgery; it is rarely permanent. Another rare complication is ectropion, pulling down of the lower eyelids, and it may require a further surgery.
Will my new appearance be permanent? The aging process that still goes on following the eyelid surgery will result in changes again. However, fresher and more youthful looks, which are positive results of the eyelid surgery, will last for many years. For many people, these results are permanent.