Droopy, bulgy eyelids make a face look older or more fatigued than it really is. This deterioration in the support of the eyelid can be caused by sun damage, aging, smoking, obesity, and stretching, and it often shows up around the eyes first because that skin is much thinner than in other areas of the face.
Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, tightens muscles and tissue or removes excess fat and skin to lift and improve the upper and lower eyelids. Men and women alike benefit from the refreshing effects of this procedure – it’s a great way to create a brighter, more youthful face without going for the full facelift.
After rhinoplasty (nose surgery), blepharoplasty is the most popular facial plastic surgery. And it’s no wonder – two-thirds of adults see the eye as the defining feature of the face, which means this procedure can dramatically improve the overall appearance of the face. Blepharoplasty is a great way to boost confidence and create a more youthful look with a procedure that is safe and has minimal downtime.
You should be a nonsmoker in good health with no serious eye conditions to be considered the ideal candidate for blepharoplasty. Eyelids that are loose, sagging, or have puffy bags can often see dramatic, refreshing results from the procedure.
Before having the procedure, be sure to talk to your surgeon to develop realistic expectations. Blepharoplasty can enhance the appearance of the face, but it will not change the overall structure of your face or your entire appearance.
During a blepharoplasty, the patient is put under local anesthesia with sedation. Nervous or anxious patients may be put under general anesthesia. The surgery can be performed on both upper and lower eyelids, or on just one set. The procedure takes between 45 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the patient’s selection on the extent of the procedure.
For the upper eyelid, the incision is made along the natural crease. Then, the doctor may tighten muscles and tissue, reposition fat, or remove excess skin as needed to create a younger, fresher look around the eye. When operating on the lower eyelid, the surgeon will make the incision just below the lash line to remove excess skin. Following the procedure, the surgeon will suture the incisions closed and will usually wrap the area in gauze.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions for how to care for your eyes after surgery. He or she may recommend lubricating ointment and cold compresses, which help minimize side effects such as bruising, swelling, dry eyes, or irritation. Your eyes may be wrapped in gauze as well.
After the procedure, most patients can return to work within two days, but be sure to avoid strenuous activities, such as exercise, for a minimum of two weeks. By this time, swelling and other side effects have usually subsided.
The results of the procedure will become clearer as bruising and swelling fade over time – it can take up to a year for the effects to be fully revealed. The procedure seeks to create long-lasting results, and many patients are satisfied with the results and do not have the procedure again in the future.
Scars from blepharoplasty are well-hidden in the natural crease of the upper eyelid and the lash line of the lower eyelid, and they become nearly invisible as they heal and fade over time.
All surgeries carry some risk, though complications from blepharoplasty are rare. When they do occur, they can include bleeding, dry eyes, infection, skin discoloration, and inability to fully close the eyes. Minimize these risks by choosing an experienced surgeon and following all care instructions following surgery. Talk to your doctor about your concerns – that’s the best way to reduce any anxieties about the procedure.