Content provided by Cleveland Clinic.
What is blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure that reduces bagginess from lower eyelids and raises drooping upper eyelids. The procedure calls for the removal of excess skin, muscle and underlying fatty tissue. While it is primarily a cosmetic procedure, blepharoplasty is also an effective method for improving sight in older patients whose sagging upper eyelids obstruct their vision.
If you are of Asian descent, blepharoplasty can add an upper eyelid crease but will not hide your ethnic or racial heritage. Blepharoplasty does not eliminate dark circles under the eyes or remove crow’s feet or other facial wrinkles. Often, blepharoplasty is performed in conjunction with other facial surgery procedures, such as laser resurfacing or brow lifts.
What is the eyelid aging process?
As skin ages, it gradually loses its elasticity. A lack of elasticity, combined with the relentless pull from gravitation, causes excessive skin to collect in the upper and lower eyelids. Excess skin on the lower eyelid causes wrinkles and bulges. On the upper eyelids, an extra fold of skin forms that can hang over the eyelashes and obstruct vision. Bulges on the upper and lower eyelids can also be caused by the fat that cushions the eyeball from the skull. The thin membrane that holds the fat in place weakens with age, allowing the fat to protrude into the lids.
Who is a good candidate for blepharoplasty?
The best candidates for blepharoplasty are individuals with good physical and mental health, and realistic expectations. Most are 35 or older, but if baggy or droopy eyelids are hereditary, you may decide to have the surgery at a younger age.
Eyelid surgery can enhance your appearance and help build your confidence. However, the surgery may not result in your ideal look, nor cause people to treat you any differently. Many people have eyes that are not perfectly aligned or that appear to be different sizes. Asymmetrical features occur during the early stages of development. Blepharoplasty will not alter your facial structure. It is important to know your face well before you decide to have surgery. Think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.
What can I expect from the procedure?
Blepharoplasty takes about two hours if both upper and lower eyelids are done at the same time. There will be a stitch in both upper lids that will remain for about a week. The lower lids do not require sutures. It is common for swelling and, occasionally, bruising to occur, but within one to two weeks the upper eyelids will look good. For the lower lids, it is only a matter of days.
Expect to stay home from work and limit your activities for several days after surgery to allow your eyelids to heal. Some patients experience dry eyes after surgery, but the condition rarely lasts more than two weeks. If you have dry eyes for more than two weeks, contact your doctor.
Are the changes permanent?
Blepharoplasty will not stop your eyes from aging. However, the results usually last a long time. Upper-eyelid surgery can last anywhere from five to seven years to an entire lifetime, while lower-eyelid surgery rarely needs to be done more than once.
If you begin to notice that your eyelids are once again sagging, you may need a brow lift, not another blepharoplasty.
Are there possible complications?
As with any surgical procedure, there is some degree of risk. Complications and bad results from blepharoplasty are rare, but sometimes they do occur.
Problems that can occur include bleeding, infection, dry eyes, abnormal discoloration of the eyelids, abnormal folding in or out of the eyelid skin, an inability to fully close the eyes, a pulled-down, lower-lid lash line or a possible loss of vision.
However rare they might be, it is important to be aware of potential complications before you decide to have the surgery. Most patients have a very satisfactory result following the blepharoplasty procedure.