What Is Cosmetic Blepharoplasty?

Cosmetic eyelid surgery is a surgical procedure that is not medically necessary and is performed solely to improve your appearance.

Unfortunately, your upper and sometimes lower eyelids may become droopy or baggy as part of the aging process. Your eyebrows also may sag or droop as a part of the same process.

The eyelid skin stretches, muscles weaken and fat pockets become more prominent as they bulge. This may be a hereditary condition that runs in your family.

Cosmetically, such conditions may detract from the overall attractiveness of your eyes and face and cause a tired or older appearance.

When Is Functional Blepharoplasty Needed?

A functional blepharoplasty (in contrast to a cosmetic blepharoplasty) is eyelid surgery performed for medical reasons.

In most cases, a functional eye lift is performed to remove loose skin from the upper eyelid if it droops low enough to impair your vision for driving or other visual tasks.

Another functional problem is difficulty wearing glasses or contact lenses, whether from baggy upper or lower eyelids.

Other medical conditions that may require functional eyelid surgery include:

  • Irritation from excess folds of eyelid skin rubbing together.
  • Forehead discomfort from overused muscles that strain to lift sagging skin in the eyelid area.

Ptosis and Eyelid Surgery

Ptosis (TOE-sis) is the medical term for drooping of the upper eyelid — a condition that may affect one or both eyes. Ptosis that is present since birth is called congenital ptosis. Droopy eyelids, in general, occur when the edge of the upper eyelid (eyelid margin) falls from its normal position.

When the edge of the eyelid falls too low and covers part of the pupil, it can block the upper part of your vision. In most cases, a drooping upper eyelid results from the aging of previously normal structures.

Typically, the tendon of the muscle responsible for lifting the eyelid stretches and the eyelid falls. Surgical correction of a drooping upper eyelid involves repairing the stretched tendon.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Eyelid Surgery?

If you aren’t sure that you are a candidate for blepharoplasty, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor, who can evaluate you for any medical problems related to your eyelids.

If you don’t have a medical reason for a blepharoplasty procedure, you can discuss with your eye doctor any concerns or interest you might have regarding cosmetic eyelid surgery.

You might consider blepharoplasty if you have excessive drooping and sagging of skin around eyes, which often is due to normal aging. Sagging skin also can be exaggerated when you have other conditions such as puffy eyes caused by eye allergies or edema.

EYELID SURGERY BY AGE (2015)

Eyelid surgery by age (2015)

If you are interested in blepharoplasty strictly for cosmetic reasons, then your doctor likely will advise you to keep expectations realistic. While cosmetic procedures can sometimes dramatically improve appearance, they are not the ultimate Fountain of Youth.

The aging process will continue and — as with any cosmetic procedure — your improved appearance due to an eye lift will not last indefinitely. And at some point in the future, you might want to consider repeating the procedure.

However, depending on your health and other factors, a blepharoplasty can last as long as 10 years.

Your eye doctor also will evaluate you for possible surgical risk factors such as dry eye problems, thyroid eye disease, and diabetes.

Keep in mind that the severity and number of any health problems might eliminate you as a candidate for blepharoplasty.

Smokers are at increased risk of surgical complications because they heal more slowly. If you are a smoker, your surgeon may advise you to quit smoking for at least several weeks prior to a procedure.

Eyelid surgery tends to be more difficult to perform on people of Asian descent because of the unique structure of this ethnic group’s eyelids. For this reason, Asians might be more at risk of having less-than-optimal outcomes than other ethnic groups.

Cosmetic eyelid surgery can potentially eliminate the “absent upper eyelid crease” appearance associated with Asian facial features. This change may “Westernize” the appearance of an Asian eyelid to a certain extent. Some Asian-American patients request this change; others find it unacceptable.

Recovery From Blepharoplasty

Following an eye lift procedure, topical antibiotic ointment will be applied. Eye patches rarely are necessary.

On the first day, you should apply cold packs each hour you are awake, for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. The ice should reduce the swelling and keep bruising to a minimum. On the second day, apply cold packs every few hours for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

After 48 hours, warm compresses should be applied to promote faster healing.

Your eye doctor will instruct you about what pain medication to take if needed. Most people need only non-prescription pain relievers. Narcotics rarely are necessary.

Expect mild discomfort during the immediate recovery period. But if the pain is severe or vision changes occur, call your surgeon’s office immediately.

While you recover, your eye area will be bruised and red with swollen eyes, particularly during the first few days. The whites of your eyes (sclera) also may become red and bloodshot. It may take a few weeks for healing to be complete, during which time you should not wear eye makeup.

You can resume wearing contact lenses when the eyelid swelling subsides enough to allow the lenses to be comfortable. If you wear eyeglasses, you can put them on carefully at any time after surgery.

Often the sutures used for your procedure will dissolve on their own in four to seven days, and you will not need to have them removed. If non-dissolving sutures are used, then your surgeon will remove them about a week after the procedure.

Most people who undergo eyelid surgery report satisfaction and improved self-image. Those whose vision was hampered by excess folds of skin often have improvements in the visual field they are able to see.

Head Doctors

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