Also known as blepharoplasty or an “eye lift,” eyelid surgery is done to repair droopy eyelids.
The procedure can be done for medical and cosmetic purposes and involves removing excess fat, skin, and muscles.
As you age, there is a good chance your eyelids will stretch. The muscles that support them begin to weaken too.
As a result, fat start building up below or above your eyelids.
This is the primary cause of bags under the eyes, sagging eyebrows, and droopy upper lids. An eyelid surgical procedure is done to correct these blemishes.
This post provides an overview of the procedure, from preparation to recovery, so you can decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
Types of Eyelid Surgery
Here are the common types of eyelid surgery.
Upper Lid Blepharoplasty
Upper lid blepharoplasty is a surgery that removes fat and extra skin from the upper eyelids to make them look better and give the face a younger look.
Your doctor may use the procedure to fix sagging or drooping eyelids that come with age or are in your family.
It also improves vision by getting rid of extra skin that gets in the way.
Most of the time, your surgeon will use local anesthesia during blepharoplasty, and the procedure takes between one and two hours.
After surgery, most people return to normal activities after a few days.
Lower Lid Blepharoplasty
Lower lid blepharoplasty, also called a “lower eyelid lift,” is a surgery that removes or moves fat and extra skin from the lower eyelids.
Usually, your doctor may perform the procedure to improve the look of the lower eyelids, which can get puffy or saggy with age or because of your genes.
The procedure can also help the face look younger and more refreshed, and it can improve vision by removing any extra skin that might be getting in the way.
Lower lid blepharoplasty is usually done with local anesthesia and doesn’t require you to stay in the hospital.
It takes about 1-2 hours to complete, and most people return to their normal activities after a few days.
Related: Laser Eyelid Surgery: The Precise and Effective Way to Improve Your Eyes
Benefits of Eyelid Surgery
Eyelid surgery can have several benefits, both aesthetic and functional. Some of the potential benefits of eyelid surgery include the following:
- Improved appearance: Blepharoplasty can help to improve the appearance of the eyelids by removing excess skin and fat that can cause the eyelids to look saggy or puffy. It can help restore a more youthful and refreshed appearance to the face.
- Improved vision: Excess skin on the upper eyelids can sometimes block the field of vision, making it hard to see. Removing this excess skin can help improve vision.
- Enhanced self-confidence: Many people who have had eyelid surgery say that the procedure makes them feel more confident and happy with their appearance.
- Reduced signs of aging: Blepharoplasty can help eliminate wrinkles, crow’s feet, and sagging skin around the eyes, among other things.
- Quick recovery time: Blepharoplasty is usually quick and easy. Most people can return to their everyday lives within a few days.
It’s important to remember that the benefits of eyelid surgery can vary from person to person.
They depend on many things, such as the type of surgery done, the person’s unique anatomy, and their overall health and ability to heal.
Common Eyelid Conditions that Require Surgery
Eyelids play an essential role in protecting our eyes and maintaining healthy vision.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have problems with their eyelids that can cause irritation, pain, and trouble seeing.
Fortunately, many of these conditions can be addressed with surgery.
Below are some common eyelid conditions that require surgery and an exploration of the various treatment options available.
- Ectropion: This condition occurs when your lower eyelid rolls outward from its normal position. People with this condition often have too many tears, leading to redness and eye pain.
- Entropion: This is the opposite of ectropion. It is when your lower eyelid rolls inward, causing your eyelashes to rub against the cornea.
- Ptosis (drooping eyelid): a condition that occurs when your upper eyelid droops due to age or gravity.
- Lumps and Benign Cists: Styes and meibomian cysts are inflammations of the eye’s sebaceous glands. Though not harmful, they cause irritation and frustration.
- Eyelid Tumor: Cancer cells may grow on your eyelid just like on any other place in the body, a condition known as basal cell carcinoma.
- Blepharoplasty: is done for cosmetic purposes to remove unwanted skin or fat around the upper or lower protective fold.
- Dermatochalasis: Done to correct the baggy upper eye fold. As we age, our upper skin becomes more elastic and weaker, resulting in baggy skin and forward movement of the fat behind the eyelid.
How to Prepare For an Eyelid Surgery
Being well-prepared for eyelid surgery is critical if you are considering one.
Below are a few things you can do to get ready for your eyelid surgery:
- Choose a qualified surgeon: It is crucial to choose a qualified, experienced surgeon to perform your eyelid surgery. Look for a surgeon who is board-certified and has experience performing blepharoplasty.
- Consult your surgeon about your objectives and expectations: Before your surgery, have an open and honest conversation about your goals and expectations for the procedure. It will help your surgeon understand your desired outcomes and determine whether blepharoplasty is right for you.
- Understand the risks and potential complications: As with any surgery, blepharoplasty carries some risks and possible complications. Share your concerns with your surgeon if there are any.
- Follow the pre-operative instructions. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to minimize the risk of complications. Your surgeon will advise you on how to prepare for your surgery. It includes if you need to change your medications, stay away from certain foods or drinks, or stop doing certain things.
- Arrange for transportation: You will need someone to drive you home after your surgery, as you will not be able to drive yourself. Make sure to arrange for transportation in advance.
- Make postoperative plans: Plan for your postoperative care. It may include arranging for someone to help you with daily tasks and errands for the first few days after your surgery.
- Prepare your home for your recovery: Make sure that you have everything you need at home for your recovery, including any prescribed medications, ice packs, and any other supplies your surgeon may recommend.
If you do these things, you can ensure that your eyelid surgery recovery goes well.
The Procedure: What to Expect
Your surgeon will perform blepharoplasty in an outpatient setting, requiring sedation and local anesthesia.
The entire surgery can take 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the scope and complexity of your preferred eyelid surgery.
If your doctor is operating on your upper eyelids, they will make an incision along the natural crease lines. On the other hand, lower eyelid surgery requires an incision inside the lower lid or just below the lash line.
The next step involves removing or repositioning the fat deposits and tightening the tissue.
After the procedure, the incisions are closed using skin adhesives, surgical tape, or removable sutures.
Some patients do ask if the surgery is permanent. Your upper eye surgery may last 5 to 7 years, while the lower eye surgery may remain active for longer.
If your eyelids start to droop again, your doctor may suggest a forehead lift instead of more surgery.
Eyelid Surgery Cost
Eyelid surgery costs anywhere from $2,000 for simple procedures like fixing the lower or upper eyelid to $5,000 for more complicated ones like removing fat and tightening tissue in both eyes.
For most surgeons, the cost includes consultation, surgery, and aftercare.
Consult your doctor about your surgery if you want an accurate quote for your condition.
Most health insurance policies don’t cover cosmetic eyelid surgery and its complications.
However, if the surgery was done to remove excess skin that interferes with your vision, it may be covered by your insurer.
It is recommended that you call your health insurance company for more details.
Risks and Complications of an Eyelid Surgery
Eyelid surgery is generally a safe and effective procedure.
However, like all surgeries, it does carry some risks and complications.
The following are some risks and issues that could arise after eyelid surgery:
- Infection: There is a small risk of infection after any surgical procedure. You can reduce this risk if you do what your surgeon says about caring for your wound and taking antibiotics as directed.
- Bleeding: Bleeding is a rare but potential complication of eyelid surgery. If significant bleeding occurs, it may require further treatment.
- Scarring: All surgeries leave scars, and blepharoplasty is no exception. Eyelid surgery scars are usually well hidden in the folds of the eyelids and may fade over time. However, some people may be more prone to scarring than others.
- Dry eyes: Dry eyes are a common side effect of eyelid surgery, especially in the first few weeks after the procedure. You can manage it with artificial tears or other lubricants if it occurs.
- Vision changes: In rare cases, eyelid surgery may result in changes in vision, such as double vision or difficulty closing the eyes. These issues are usually temporary and resolved within a few weeks.
- Anesthesia complications: As with any surgery involving anesthesia, there is a risk of complications related to the use of anesthesia. These rare complications include allergic reactions, breathing problems, and other issues.
Your surgeon can tell you about your procedure’s specific risks and complications and help you decide if eyelid surgery is right for you based on that information.
What to Expect During Recovery
Most people are happy with the results of blepharoplasty, such as looking younger and having more confidence.
The time and period a patient takes to recover from the surgery vary from one patient to another.
You will experience swelling, bruising, and soreness after surgery, which will go away in 10 to 14 days.
Your vision may be blurry, and your eyes may be watery, sensitive to light, and itchy for a few days.
Typically, the stitches on your eyes dissolve on their own if not so, they may be removed by your surgeon after 3 to 5 days.
To avoid problems, you should clean and care for your eye the way your surgeon tells you to.
Return to Work
Depending on the type of surgery performed, most patients return to work in about 10 to 14 days.
After surgery, you may find it difficult to close your eyes and sleep.
If this occurs, you can speak with your doctor about it, whereby he will give you a gel to apply to keep it moist.
How to Take Care of Your Eye at Home After an Eyelid Surgery
Suppose you’ve had surgery on your eyelids.
In that case, it’s crucial to do what your surgeon tells you to do afterward to reduce the risk of complications and ensure you heal well.
Some general guidelines for caring for your eyes at home after eyelid surgery include the following:
- Rest. Getting plenty of rest after eyelid surgery is vital to allowing your body to heal. Avoid strenuous activities and try to get as much sleep as possible.
- Keep your head elevated. Keeping your head elevated, especially when lying down, can help to reduce swelling and bruising. Use extra pillows to prop up your head while you sleep.
- Use cold compresses. Applying cold compresses to your eyes can help reduce swelling and discomfort. Follow your surgeon’s instructions for how often to use the compresses and for how long.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes. It is vital not to scratch them, as this can make them hurt and slow down the healing process. Use a clean, damp cloth to remove any crusting or discharge from your eyes.
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions for wound care. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions on how to care for your incisions. It may include keeping the incisions clean and dry, applying ointments or dressings as directed, and avoiding activities that could cause the incisions to open or get infected.
- Take prescribed medications as directed. If your surgeon has prescribed medications, take them as directed. It can be painkillers to help with any pain or antibiotics to prevent an infection.
- Avoid wearing makeup. It is usually best to avoid it for at least a week after eyelid surgery. When you start wearing makeup again, use a gentle, oil-free formula and avoid applying it to the incision sites.
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions for when to return to normal activities. Your surgeon will tell you exactly when you can return to your everyday life, including when you can return to work and start exercising again.
It is essential to follow these instructions to ensure a smooth recovery.
Eyelid Surgery Alternatives
Blepharoplasty is a great way to fix some problems with the eyelids, but it is only suitable for some.
Some alternatives to eyelid surgery include:
- Non-surgical treatments: Several non-surgical treatments can help improve the appearance of the eyelids without the need for surgery. These may include injectable treatments such as Botox injections, dermal fillers, and laser or chemical peel treatments.
- Skincare products: Using skincare products such as creams, serums, or eye masks can help improve the appearance of the skin around the eyes.
- Lifestyle changes: Getting adequate sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and avoiding sun exposure help enhance the skin around the eyes.
- Eyelid tape: Eyelid tape is a non-surgical method of temporarily lifting the eyelids. Adhesive tape lifts the eyelid and holds it in a more youthful position.
- Eyelid ptosis surgery: If your eyelids droop or sag due to ptosis rather than excess skin or fat, you may be a candidate. This procedure relocates the eyelid muscle, enhancing the eyelid.
Talk to a qualified healthcare professional to determine which treatment will work best for your needs and goals.
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- Eyelid Surgery ( 2019). webmd.com/beauty/cosmetic-procedures-eyelid-surgery#1
- Double-Eyelid Surgery Using Septoaponeurosis (2013). researchgate.net/publication/266625218_Double-Eyelid_Surgery_Using_Septoaponeurosis_Junctional_Thickening_Results_in_Dynamic_Fold_in_Asians