Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)
Eyelid surgery, also called an eyelid lift or blepharoplasty, can rejuvenate puffy, sagging or tired-looking eyes by removing excess fat, skin and muscle from the upper and/or lower eyelids. 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 eyelid surgery do for me?
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 laser procedures to achieve these results.
Am I a good candidate for an eyelid lift?
Your doctor will talk to you about whether you are a good candidate for eyelid surgery. The best candidates for blepharoplasty:
- Are generally healthy
- Do not smoke
- Have realistic expectations
- Do not have any serious eye conditions
How is a blepharoplasty performed?
Eyelid surgery is usually performed in an office, usually with local anesthesia and IV sedation. The procedure can take less than 45 minutes.
Incisions are made along the eyelids in inconspicuous places: in the natural creases of the upper lids for upper eyelid blepharoplasty and just below the lash line on the lower lids for lower eyelid blepharoplasty. If no skin needs to be removed, the surgeon will likely perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty, where the incision is made inside the lower eyelid and there are no visible scars.
In all cases, the surgeon then removes excess skin from the eyelids using a scalpel, laser or radiofrequency (RF) tool. Fat may be removed as well. He or she then closes the incisions with fine sutures, tissue glue or surgical tape.
What is recovery from eyelid surgery like?
Bruising, swelling and a sense of tightness in the eyelids are common after eyelid surgery. These should subside within 2 to 4 weeks. Most patients resume activities in 3 to 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.
Contact lenses may not be worn for two weeks. Eyes can be sensitive to light and wind and may be slightly irritated for a short while; your surgeon may prescribe eye drops and cool compresses to ease any discomfort.
What are the risks of eyelid surgery?
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 whiteheads, 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.
Read more about eyelid surgery from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.