Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess skin, muscle, and fat from the eyelids. The procedure is performed to reduce the appearance of aging and tiredness around the eyes and to restore a more youthful and alert overall facial appearance.
Blepharoplasty might be required due to factors such as aging, sun damage, smoking, and obesity, which result in the weakening of the muscles and tissues that hold up the eyelids. The recovery time can differ based on the extent of the procedure, but typically, patients experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort around the eyes for a few days following the operation.
Blepharoplasty can be performed on the upper or lower eyelid, or both, for cosmetic purposes. Transconjunctival blepharoplasty is a type of procedure that removes fat from the lower eyelid and does not result in any visible scars.
Another type of blepharoplasty is referred to as double eyelid surgery. It is an elective procedure that can be used to create an upper-eyelid crease where there is none, or to remove excess skin, fat, and muscle from the upper and lower eyelids.
These procedures have no effect on vision but may give one a more youthful and refreshed look. Patients should have realistic expectations and keep in mind that this won’t alter their faces drastically.
Double Eyelid Surgery
Double eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty or Asian eyelid surgery, is a surgical procedure that reshapes the upper eyelids to create a crease, thereby giving the eye a more open and alert appearance.
It is commonly performed on East Asians whose eyes naturally lack an upper lid crease but it can also be done for cosmetic reasons on people of all ethnicities. This procedure involves making incisions in the skin around the eye, removing excess fat and tissue, and tightening muscles and skin in order to create an eye crease.
Reasons for Blepharoplasty
Reasons for blepharoplasty might be:
- Upper eyelids that appear saggy or droopy
- Upper eyelid skin that partially obstructs peripheral vision due to excess
- Presence of extra skin on the lower eyelids
- Puffy or swollen areas beneath the eyes
The procedure may be covered by medical insurance if it is deemed medically necessary.
If the eyelids begin sagging into the field of vision, a functional blepharoplasty may be required. A determination of how much vision is affected is done by checking the peripheral visual field with an instrument called the Humphrey Visual Field (HVF) Analyzer.
To help you make an informed decision, our eye surgeon will discuss the possible risks and benefits of this surgery with you at your evaluation.
Preparation before the surgery
Preparing for blepharoplasty surgery typically involves the following steps:
- Consult with a healthcare provider
You will first consult with one of our healthcare providers to discuss your medical history, goals for the surgery, as well as undergo a complete eye exam. If you are a good candidate for blepharoplasty, you will then meet with our ophthalmologist who performs the surgery to discuss his surgical plan for you and get you scheduled.
Stop taking certain medications
You will be asked to stop taking medications that can increase bleeding, such as warfarin, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. Your healthcare provider will give you instructions on which approved drugs can be taken in the lead-up to the surgery.
- Quit smoking
Smoking can impair your ability to heal after surgery. For this reason, you should quit smoking several weeks before the surgery.
- Arrange for transportation
If the surgery is an outpatient procedure, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the surgery. You should also plan to have someone stay with you for the first night after returning home from surgery.
- Follow pre-surgery instructions
Our healthcare provider will give you instructions on what you can and cannot eat or drink the night before the surgery. You should also follow any other instructions regarding pre-surgery preparations.
After the surgery
After a blepharoplasty surgery, it’s important to follow the proper instructions to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.
Immediately following the surgery, patients should expect to experience a variety of symptoms such as swelling, bruising, light sensitivity, blurry vision, discomfort, watery eyes, double vision, and puffy and numb eyelids.
Unless our surgeon gives you different instructions, please follow these steps to aid in your recovery after surgery.
- Apply ice packs to the eyes for 10 minutes every hour on the night following the surgery. The following day, use ice packs on the eyes 4 to 5 times throughout the day.
- Use prescribed eye drops or ointments to aid in the recovery.
- Sleep with your head elevated for a few days after the surgery.
- Apply cool compresses to lessen the swelling.
- Wear dark sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and wind.
- If necessary, take acetaminophen (Tylenol or others) for pain management.
- Engage in strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting, swimming, jogging, or aerobics for one week.
- Smoke, and refrain from smoking for several weeks after the surgery, as it can impair healing.
- Rub the eyes, which can lead to complications and infections.
- Wear contact lenses for about two weeks after surgery.
- Take aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin IB, among others), naproxen sodium (Aleve and others), naproxen (Naprosyn), and other medications or herbal supplements that increase bleeding risk, unless instructed by a healthcare professional.
- Avoid drinking alcohol, as it can cause dehydration and prolong the healing process.
- Blepharoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure requiring local anesthesia and sedation, with general anesthesia an option for anxious patients.
- Patients can choose to have the procedure performed on their upper or lower eyelids or both.
- The length of the procedure varies from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on whether both the upper and lower eyelids are operated on.
- If the upper eyelid is being operated on, an incision is typically made along the natural crease, fat deposits are repositioned or removed, muscles and tissue are tightened, and excess skin is removed.
- For the lower eyelid, the incision is typically made just below the lash line to remove excess skin.
- After the procedure, the incisions are closed with sutures, tissue glue, or surgical tape, and usually lightly covered with gauze to begin the healing process.
After blepharoplasty surgery is fully healed, people often report feeling younger and more refreshed. Additionally, the procedure can improve self-confidence, as it enhances the appearance of the face.
However, patients should note that although blepharoplasty can make a dramatic improvement in an individual’s looks, it won’t radically alter the face.