Cosmetic eye surgery or Eyelid surgery, medically referred to as blepharoplasty, is designed to remove fat and/or excess skin from the eyelids to rejuvenate puffy, sagging, or tired-looking eyes.
It can be performed on the upper or lower eyelids, or both. Blepharoplasty can be performed to help you look younger, more refreshed and more alert, but it is sometimes covered by insurance when the peripheral vision is affected by drooping skin.
Eyelid surgery is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures today. In 2007, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 241,000 eyelid surgery procedures were in performed in the United States alone.
Eyelid surgery may be performed for cosmetic reasons or to improve sight by lifting droopy eyelids out of the patient's field of vision.
What can I expect from my Blepharoplasty or Cosmetic eye surgery
Blepharoplasty is ideal for the correction of:
- Loose, sagging and/or folded upper eyelids that may limit vision
- Puffy fat deposits in the upper eyelids
- Under-eye bags
- Sagging lower eyelids that may show the white of the eyes below the iris
- Excess skin in the lower eyelids
- Fine wrinkles in the lower eyelids
What won't blepharoplasty correct?
Blepharoplasty cannot raise the eyebrows or reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles, crow’s feet or dark circles under the eyes. However, eyelid lifts can be combined with other procedures such as brow lifts, BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments and other treatments to achieve these results.
Types of cosmetic eye surgery procedures
There are various methods used to enhance eyelid appearance. The following information will give you a basic understanding of each. It is important to note that each of these procedures carries their own set of risks and benefits.
Upper eyelid surgery
Upper eyelid surgery can improve two common problem areas:
1.) Excess skin on the upper eyelid itself, often called “hooding" of the upper lid, and
2.) Puffiness in the inner corner and middle of the upper eyelid caused by herniation (pushing forward) of fat.
Hooding of the upper eyelid can obstruct your vision, so its removal could actually improve the quality of your peripheral vision. Puffiness in the upper eyelid can cause patients to look old and tired; and upper eyelid surgery can create a more alert and younger appearance. Upper eyelid surgery can enhance the shape, position, and depth of the eyelid crease.
Lower eyelid surgery
Lower eyelid surgery is performed to remove the puffiness found in the lower eyelid. Some people refer to this as “bags” under the eyes. There is normally fat found around the eyeball.
Over time, the tissue that holds the fat around the eye weakens, and the fat protrudes, making the eyelids look puffy, which makes you look old and tired. Removal of bulging fat, or sometimes just tightening the tissue that holds the fat back, can result in a younger, rested and alert appearance.
Dr. Dana Goldberg performs different types of eyelid procedures depending upon the age of the patient and whether the problem is wrinkles, loose skin, excess fat or poor elasticity.
The least invasive type of lower eyelid surgery is to use a laser to resurface the lower (and upper) eyelids. The laser tightens the skin and eliminates fine lines and small wrinkles. This is best performed on younger patients but works well after traditional eyelid surgery when the surgery eliminated excess skin but did not correct the fine lines.
What are the benefits of an eyelid procedure?
There are many reasons why you would want to undergo eyelid surgery. Even though reasons vary from person to person, the more common include:
- Improving peripheral vision
- Gaining a fresher, more alert appearance
- Restoring a youthful eyelid appearance
- Enhancing overall appearance
- Gaining a boost in self-confidence
If you’re experiencing droopy upper eyelids or bags under the eyes, and are otherwise healthy, an eyelid lift may be appropriate for you. If the brow has also descended, you may be a candidate for a brow lift as well, to create the most attractive result.
Good candidates for eyelid surgery:
- Are generally healthy
- Do not smoke
- Have realistic expectations
- Do not have any serious eye conditions
Dr. Goldberg will talk to you about whether you are a good candidate for eyelid surgery.
How is an eyelid surgery performed?
Eyelid procedures are performed under local anesthesia, IV sedation or general anesthesia in an accredited surgery facility as an outpatient (meaning you do not stay overnight in the hospital). Procedures involving the skin only can be performed under local anesthesia in the office. The actual procedure will take between 1 and 2 hours.
In upper eyelid surgery, an incision is created that follows the natural lines of the eyelids. Working through the incisions, excess skin and fat are removed. The incision is closed with fine sutures, which will leave nearly invisible scars.
During lower eyelid surgery, the incisions are also made following the natural lines of the eyelids, just below the lashes in the lower lids. The fatty deposits are then typically repositioned (to prevent a hollow look) or removed. In some cases, excess skin is removed with an incision placed under the lashes.
As with the upper lids, fine stitches are used to close the incision. Occasionally if there is only puffiness with no extra skin, the incision can be hidden on the inside of the eyelid. Lubrication with ointment is applied at the completion of both upper and lower eyelid surgery.
During your consultation Dr. Goldberg will also discuss the bony anatomy of your eyes and orbits. For some patients with significant upper cheek hollowing we may recommend fat grafting to re-contour the cheek.
Recovery from an eyelid surgery
The recovery period for eyelid surgery is approximately one to two weeks. In that time, patients must follow post-operative instructions to promote better healing, reduce chances of complications, and to add more comfort during recovery. Eye drops may be recommended because the eyelids might be dry, and eyes may burn or itch.
Also, patients who wear contact lenses must avoid wearing them during the recovery period. Because the eyes will temporarily be sensitive to sunlight, wind, and other irritants, wearing sunglasses and sunblock is highly recommended. Patients will also be instructed on how to clean their eyes while recovering
Upper and lower eyelids are each performed differently and each displays a different result. Scars will still be visible six or more months after surgery in a slightly pink form, and then eventually fade to thin, nearly invisible lines. The results can last for many years, and in many cases, are permanent.
Bruising, swelling and a sense of tightness in the eyelids are common after eyelid surgery. These should subside within 2-4 weeks. Temporarily, the eyelid may pull slightly away from the eyeball until swelling completely resolved. Most patients resume activities in 3-5 days, when non-absorbable stitches are removed, and return to work in about 10 days.
By one to two months after surgery, you should see the true results of your eyelid lift: a more awake and cheerful look around the eyes, and greater self-confidence.
Risks of an eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty
Complications from blepharoplasty are uncommon, but can include infection, reaction to anesthesia, dry eyes, double or blurred vision for a few days, temporary swelling of the eyelids, tiny bumps along the incision, and difficulty closing eyes when going to sleep.
Uneven healing and scarring, and ectropion (pulling down of the lower lids) are very rare and may require surgical correction. Patients with thyroid problems, dry eye, high blood pressure, diabetes, detached retina, glaucoma or other health problems should consult with an ophthalmologist about eligibility.
Cosmetic eye surgery costs between $3,500 and $6,500 depending on the patient with Florida plastic surgeon, Dr. Dana. The variance is price is mostly due to the time required for the surgery and the extent of the eyelid surgery.