Giving Your Eyelids a Lift

If the eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, the eyelids are the curtains. The eyelids are critical to vision and communication. They also reveal the signs of aging. Eyelid surgery can improve both function and facade.

What is eyelid surgery?
Eyelid surgery is called blepharoplasty. It’s done to remove excess fatty tissue and tighten sagging skin around the eye. This may be done to improve appearance or aid vision.

With age, the skin on and around the eyelids stretches, muscles weaken, and fat pockets become more noticeable. This may cause the eyelids to become droopy or baggy. Not only can this affect your appearance, it may even interfere with your vision. Droopy or baggy eyes also can be hereditary. They affect some people more than others.

Cosmetic eyelid surgery may be done by facial cosmetic surgeons. It may also be done by ophthalmologists who specialize in diseases and conditions that affect:

•The eyelids
•The bone cavity around the eye
•The facial structures around the eye, such as the eyebrow
How is the surgery done?
There are various techniques to improve the look and function of the eyelid. Typically, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the natural folds of the eyelid. This is the crease of the upper lid and just beneath the lashes or just inside the lining of the lower eyelid. Excess fat, muscle, and loose skin are removed and fine stitches are used to close the incisions.

What can eyelid surgery do for me?
Blepharoplasty can help your eyes look firmer and more alert. It may also be used to remove puffiness under the eyes. An eye lift is not used to remove crow’s feet (wrinkles around the eye) or dark circles.

Before you decide to have surgery, think about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

Am I a good candidate for eyelid surgery?
You may NOT be a good candidate, if you:

•Have any eye or circulation problems
•Have another serious medical condition
Where is eyelid surgery performed?
Eyelid surgery may be done in a surgeon’s office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It is done mostly on an outpatient basis.

This procedure typically takes from 1 to 3 hours. It is often done with local anesthesia.

What are the possible complications?
The removal of too much skin or uneven amounts of fat can result in a taut or uneven appearance. Additional surgeries may be needed to reverse this problem.

Other problems may include:

•Bleeding or blood clots
•Failure of the eye to close properly
•Temporary or permanently impaired vision
•Damage to the tear gland (lacrimal)
Plus, there is the chance that you may not be happy with the results.

What can I expect after surgery?
After the surgery, your eyelids may feel tight and sore as the anesthesia wears off. Your doctor may lubricate your eyes with ointment and put bandages over your eyes.

Swelling, bruising, and some pain are to be expected after the operation. These problems should go away within 2 weeks. Cold compresses may help. Elevating your head when lying down can also help while healing. But follow your doctor’s instructions closely.

For 1 or 2 weeks after your surgery, you will need to keep the eye area clean. Your eyes may feel sticky, dry, and itchy. Your doctor may recommend eye drops. For the first few weeks, you may also have excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, or blurred vision. Discuss any concerns with your doctor immediately.

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