Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the eyelids.
Surgery can be performed on either the upper or lower lids, or both.
Whether you want to improve your appearance or are experiencing functional problems with your eyelids, eyelid surgery can rejuvenate the area surrounding your eyes.
Specifically, eyelid surgery can treat:
- Loose or sagging skin that creates folds or disturbs the natural contour of the upper eyelid, sometimes impairing vision
- Excess fatty deposits that appear as puffiness in the eyelids
- Bags under the eyes
- Drooping lower eyelids that reveal white below the iris
- Excess skin and fine wrinkles of the lower eyelid
Eyelid surgery candidates
In general, good candidates for eyelid surgery include:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for eyelid surgery
- Individuals without serious eye conditions
Remember that the eyelids are part of the face. The appearance of a drooping upper lid may also be due to relaxation of the forehead skin and eyebrow. Sometimes a drooping eyelid is caused by stretching of one of the upper eyelid muscles, the levator.
Your plastic surgeon will evaluate your anatomy thoroughly to determine the causes of your eyelid appearance, and what procedures might best remedy them.
Eyelid surgery recovery
During your eyelid surgery recovery, lubricating ointment and cold compresses may be applied, and in some cases your eyes may be loosely covered with gauze, after your procedure is completed.
You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for your eyes, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your overall health, and when to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.
Initial healing may include some swelling, bruising, irritation or dry eyes, and discomfort that can be controlled with medication, cold compresses, and ointment. Irritation at the incision sites is also possible.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- When will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
Eyelid surgery recovery & sun protection
You must practice diligent sun protection and use darkly tinted sunglasses until the healing process is fully complete.
Eyelid surgery results
The results of eyelid surgery will be long-lasting. Your final results will appear within several weeks, but it may take up to a year for incision lines to fully refine.
While eyelid surgery can be expected to correct certain conditions permanently, you will continue to age naturally. Life-long sun protection will help to maintain your results.
Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover from surgery. As swelling and bruising subside, the results of eyelid surgery will reveal a smooth, better-defined eyelid and surrounding region and an alert and rejuvenated appearance.
Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Eyelid surgery risks and safety
The decision to have surgery is personal, and you’ll have to decide if it will achieve your goals, and if the potential risks of eyelid surgery are acceptable.
Be sure you understand the surgery and recuperation completely, and don’t hesitate to ask your plastic surgeon questions.
Eyelid surgery risks include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Swelling and bruising
- Bleeding from the incision lines
- Dryness to the eyes
- Sensitivity to sun or other bright light
- Difficulty closing your eyes
- Ectropion, an outward rolling of the eyelid
- Lid lag, a pulling down of the lower eyelid may occur and is often temporary
- Temporary or even permanent change in vision, and very rare chance of blindness
- Changes in skin sensation
- Pain, which may persist
- Poor wound healing
- Possible need for revision surgery
- Unfavorable scarring
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.