Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

Eyes are a prominent facial feature and sometimes first to show signs of aging. It is the surrounding skin, rather than the eyes themselves, that conveys emotion. The tissue, muscle, fat, hair and lashes all contribute to the wide array of expressions. Age, sun exposure and hereditary factors all contribute to wrinkles, deep lines and puffiness around the eyes.

The aging process can cause unwanted changes in expression, causing us to look permanently fatigued and older than we really are. These changes in appearance can cause emotional distress and sometimes even visual impairment. If you’re bothered by the presence of droopy lids, puffy bags below the eye or a prematurely aged appearance in your eyes, eyelid surgery could be the answer you’ve being looking for.  An eyelid lift, or blepharoplasty, is designed to restore a more youthful appearance to your eyes. It may involve the upper lids, the lower lids, or both.

Are you a Candidate?

Men or women with droopy upper lids, saggy lower lids or obstructed vision due to the anatomy of the eye area can make excellent candidates for eyelid surgery.  Although most patients who are interested in blepharoplasty are over the age of 35, sometimes younger men and women can pursue eyelid surgery to correct the appearance of their eyes due to congenital reasons rather than changes related to age.  In either case, those considering eyelid surgery should be in good physical and mental health and have realistic expectations about their results.

Laser resurfacing of the eyelids is a non-surgical alternative that may delay the need for a surgical blepharoplasty.  It results in significant tightening of the skin around the eyes, but will not effect the fat around the eyes.

Some patients seek treatment to eliminate the appearance of crow’s feet, the tiny lines and wrinkles at the outer corners of the eye that crinkle and deepen when you smile.  However, eyelid surgery doesn’t typically impact the skin and muscles responsible for the development of crow’s feet.  If these fine lines are a concern for your, Dr. Nichols may recommend BOTOX.

Please ask your doctor if you have any questions about which procedure is right for you.

The Surgery

Blepharoplasty can be performed under either sedation or general anesthesia.   This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at our surgical center. It is important to arrange for care after the surgery. Someone must drive you home and be available to care for you for the first 24 hours.

Complications are unlikely when performed by a surgeon with experience in blepharoplasty. These include: bleeding and swelling, delayed wound healing, infection, drooping of eye upper or lower eyelid, asymmetry, double vision and dry eyes.

Recovery: What to Expect

The area surrounding the eyes will remain swollen in the days following the surgery. It should begin to subside after the third day. Some vision blurring is normal.

The stitches will be removed in 4-5 days. Swelling and bruising will persist for about 10 days, but you can begin wearing makeup to help conceal these concerns. You may expect to resume normal activity within a week to 10 days, and start enjoying your new look within approximately 10-14 days. It may take about 6 months for the scars to lose their redness.

Wrinkling will recur later in life, however it is unlikely that the “bags” will recur because the fat has been removed. Deeper wrinkles around the outer eye extended onto the temple are not greatly affected by the eyelid surgery. These areas may be treated with laser resurfacing.

After eyelid surgery, your entire eye area should look noticeably younger, and your entire appearance should look more relaxed and refreshed.  The upper eyelid crease will be higher and better defined, while the lower lids should look smoother and less baggy.  The results of eyelid surgery are often described as looking fresh, as if you just returned from a restful and relaxed vacation.