Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid surgery is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin or fat from the eyelids or, in some cases, a growth. The skin loses elasticity as it ages, In some people this causes the upper eyelids to sag and form deep creases. Bags may appear on the lower lids. This loss of natural elasticity allows the fat around the eyes to protrude, so increasing the look of bagginess. Eyelid surgery, sometimes referred to as eyelid reduction, reshapes the eyelids. Not only does this improve appearance, but can also restore the field of vision if the eyelids have drooped to an extent where they intrude upon the natural line of sight. The procedure can be carried out on the upper lids, lower lids, or both, and can be performed for both functional and cosmetic reasons. The medical name for an eyelid reduction is a blepharoplasty. Other eyelid surgical procedures include pinguecula and pterygium removal, both of which are carried out under local anesthetic to remove a growth that extends from the corner of the eye towards or onto the cornea.

Before Treatment

If your eyelids are drooping over your eyes or you have a growth, they may be causing difficulties for you to see fully.

After Treatment

After your eyelids heal, you should no longer have drooping eyelids or a growth and should be able to see significantly better.

How Do I Know If I Need Eyelid Surgery?

There are many reasons to have eyelid surgery. While a growth that interferes with vision is an obvious one, a blepharoplasty might be performed to reduce the signs of aging, improve looks, or, in the case of excessively drooping eyelids, to increase the range of peripheral vision.

 You might consider the procedure if you have:

  • Baggy or droopy upper eyelids
  • Bags beneath the eyes
  • Excess skin on the lower lids
  • The folds on your upper lids sag into your field of vision
  • Excessive puffiness and wrinkles below the eyes

Some people develop bags beneath the eyes during young adulthood—even before any signs of skin aging. In some cases, a surgeon might recommend an eyebrow lift in conjunction with (or instead of) eyelid surgery.

What Happens During Blepharoplasty Surgery?

Blepharoplasty is performed under local or general anesthetic. If you’re having both upper and lower lids reduced then the former will usually be treated first. Cuts are made across the crease of the upper lids, excess skin, fat, and muscle are removed, and the incision is closed. For the lower lids, cuts are made just below the lashes and extend out beyond the corners of the eyes. Again, excess skin and muscle are removed. Fat is either removed or redistributed.

For upper eyelids that droop excessively (ptosis), you may have a further procedure carried out in conjunction with the blepharoplasty. This is done to provide extra support to the eyebrow muscle.

Most eyelid reduction procedures are carried out using a local anesthetic to numb the eyes, along with an intravenous sedative to help you relax. After the operation, you’ll spend a little time recovering, before going home the same day.

How Can a Blepharoplasty Eyelid Surgery Help with this Condition?

Sagging, drooping eyelids, or excessive bags are usually part of the natural aging process. Skin loses elasticity as we age, the eyelids stretch, and the muscles that support the structure of the eye become weaker. It can lead to the accumulation of loose skin and folds in the upper lids and the formation of creases below the eye. This, combined with a natural weakening of the muscles, means the fat within the eye socket can protrude. Together, these can lead to a prematurely aged appearance.

In addition, drooping eyelids can sag to the point of reducing peripheral vision, even to the extent of the upper lids hanging down over the eyelashes.

By removing the excess skin, fat, and perhaps muscle, the skin around the eyes is left firmer, younger-looking, and refreshed. Any obstruction of vision is removed, puffiness is reduced (especially that often experienced during the first few hours after waking), and the eyes appear more alert. Eyelid surgery is long-lasting, with the effects on the upper lids commonly lasting from 5-7 years, and the lower lid results being pretty much permanent.

What is ptosis?

Ptosis is drooping of the upper eyelid. The lid may droop slightly or it may cover the pupil (the dark center of the eye). One or both eyelids may be affected.
Ptosis that is present at birth is called congenital ptosis. If the ptosis in one eyelid is severe, the child’s vision may not develop properly. This may lead to amblyopia (also called lazy eye, a condition in which the brain uses images only from the “good” eye). Ptosis that develops later is called adult or acquired ptosis.

What is a pingueculum?

A pingueculum is a growth on the conjunctiva (the thin mucus membrane that coats the outside of the eyeball). The growth looks like a thickened area of tissue and is often cream-colored. It may contain yellow fibers and clear crystals. Usually it grows from the corner of your eye and stops before reaching the cornea (the clear, outer layer of your eye that covers the iris and pupil).

What is double eyelid surgery?

Double eyelid surgery is carried out to create a definition to the eyelids. Some people are born with what’s known as a “single eyelid”, where there is no natural crease in the upper lid. Others naturally have a double eyelid, with a crease that gives the impression of having two parts to the lid (above and below the crease).

A simple cosmetic procedure to create a double eyelid is becoming increasingly popular, especially in oriental society or those of mixed oriental descent. In fact, it’s become such a widely requested procedure that many refer to it as an Oriental or Asian blepharoplasty. It’s important to note that this is not performed to alter the shape of the eye or to make it appear more westernized. Instead, the aim is to create a skin crease that enhances the natural shape and curvature of the eye, define the eyelashes, and allow the person to more easily apply eye makeup.

Other reasons for having double eyelid surgery is if a single eyelid intrudes upon the field of vision, you wish your eyes to appear larger, or you have one single and one double eyelid and want them both to look the same.

How to qualify for eyelid surgery?

As with any form of cosmetic surgery, defining why you want it is as important as the procedure itself. When it comes to functional reasons, such as a drooping eyelid reducing your field of vision, your eye doctor will advise as to the types and level of intervention necessary to improve your line of sight.

For cases of congenital ptosis (where a child is born with a drooping eyelid), surgery is generally the only option to correct this. Again, the eye surgeon will provide advice regarding if and when this should be carried out. In most cases, a blepharoplasty carried out early on will give the best outcome for normal vision development.

When eyelid surgery is performed for cosmetic reasons, your chosen cosmetic eyelid surgeon will need to determine your reasons for wanting the procedure. As a medical professional, they have a duty of care to ensure that you’ve fully considered the options available to you, understand the risks, and have managed your expectations before going ahead.

What is eyelid surgery?

Eyelid surgery is a procedure carried out to remove excess fat and skin from the eyelids. The aim is to reduce hooded or drooping eyelids, bags, and create a more youthful, alert appearance. The medical name is blepharoplasty and is a form of cosmetic surgery. An eyelid surgery surgeon may also be an ophthalmologist (a specialist eye doctor).

While eyelid surgery is often carried for cosmetic reasons, functional reasons also exist. In some cases, drooping or sagging eyelids can interfere with vision, prevent your eyes from opening properly, or pull down your lower lids. It’s common to have the procedure carried out on both the upper and lower lids at the same time.

Is eyelid surgery painful?

Eyelid surgery is generally carried out under a local anesthetic as an outpatient procedure. This entails injections to numb the eyes and surrounding area, and you’ll likely be given some intravenous sedation to ensure you’re relaxed. Because of this, you won’t feel anything—indeed, the sedation will probably mean that you’re barely aware of what’s going on.

Post-procedure you may experience some pain or discomfort. This can generally be controlled with an over-the-counter painkiller (Tylenol, etc.) or your eye doctor will advise on appropriate analgesia. Some swelling and bruising are to be expected—similar to having black eyes. This can be reduced by applying cold compresses for a few days. Any sutures that are inserted will probably be self-dissolving, so there’s no need for these to be removed.

What is eyelid surgery called?

Eyelid surgery that removes drooping lids and bags is officially called a blepharoplasty. You may also hear it referred to as an “eyelift”.

What is blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is the medical term for surgery to the eyelids—also referred to as an eye lift. It can be carried out by a cosmetic surgeon or an eye surgeon/ophthalmologist. It’s done for both functional and aesthetic reasons. Whatever the reason, you should satisfy yourself as to the expertise of the clinical professional you select to carry out such eyelid surgery. Boca Raton-based residents and those who live in South Florida can take advantage of the globally-renowned West Boca Eye Center, headed by Brent Bellotte MD., a clinician considered to be one of the leading ophthalmologists and eye surgeons in the US and the world.

How much is eyelid surgery?

Eyelid surgery, as with any other form of cosmetic or functional procedure, varies in cost depending on the patient’s exact needs, the location it’s carried out, and the expertise of the clinician. 

According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost is $3282. However, this doesn’t take into account aspects like operating room facilities, anesthesia, a surgeon’s fee, medical tests, prescriptions, and other related expenses.

It’s worth noting that when searching for an eyelid surgery surgeon, while inputting “blepharoplasty surgery near me” will bring up your local options, you may want to extend your search to find the ultimate clinician, rather than selecting them based solely on location. Rather than seeking eyelid surgery near me, it’s far preferable to select a professional with an extensive track record, a high level of experience, and a facility that’s set up to deal with every eventuality. That way you can relax that your operation is in safe hands and that the results will be as expected.

What is eyelid surgery recovery like?

Full recovery from eyelid surgery can take from 4-6 months. However, the initial swelling and bruising will disappear after a few weeks. An average timeline for eyelid surgery recovery is as follows: 

  • First 24 hours: Return home the same day as the procedure. You’ll be advised not to drive or use machinery for at least 24 hours.
  • Days 2-5: You’ll experience some bruising and swelling. There may be mild pain and discomfort. This can be controlled with over-the-counter pain relief (your eye surgeon will tell you which ones to avoid) and the application of cold compresses. If necessary, you’ll return to have any sutures removed after a few days (although many surgeons use those that self-dissolve). It’s common to have watery eyes as the swelling prevents the tear ducts from draining as normal. This can last a few weeks.
  • Days 6-14: The bruising and swelling will gradually subside.
  • Week 2 onwards: It’s not uncommon for the skin around the eyes to feel tight. The scars will remain pink for a few months—eventually, they will fade and be virtually invisible.

Protect this delicate skin with dark glasses when outside for the next few months. After 4-6 months the final results will be wholly visible and long-lasting. Upper eyelid surgery typically lasts for up to 7 years. Lower eyelid surgery is virtually permanent.