Lately, you’ve noticed that your eyelids seem to be sagging a bit. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your eyes are causing you to look fatigued or older than you actually feel. Maybe you are beginning to experience a shrinking field of vision due to sagging eyelids. Whatever the reason, it may be time to consider eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty.
Eyelid surgery is the fourth most popular cosmetic surgery in the United States, with nearly 150,000 procedures performed annually. Among men, blepharoplasty is the third most popular surgery, and among women, is the fifth most popular cosmetic surgery. It is no wonder that eyelid surgery is so popular since the eyes are often described as the windows to the soul. We often form our opinions of others based on the eyes — making eye contact with others establishes trust, respect, and authority. Youthful eyes that appear rested and energetic are more likely to be ones that others are drawn to. We use our eyes to help us make and keep connections with others.
Depending on how soon a patient’s skin begins to show signs of aging, patients may seek out eyelid surgery anywhere from their 30s to their 60s and beyond. Regardless of your age, it is inevitable that you will experience the signs of aging at some point during your life. The most common causes of aging around the eyelids include genetics, natural aging and gravity, and sun exposure. Over time, skin naturally loses its elasticity, and, along with underlying fat and other tissues, begins to show the effects of gravity through sagging. In addition, fat deposits may begin to shift in position. Collagen and other connective and supportive tissues also begin to breakdown. All of these lead to sagging, puffiness, and signs of aging.
Corrective eyelid surgery aims to address the changes in the eyelids by removing excess fat, skin, and tissues, repositioning fat and muscle, and tightening loose tissue and skin. Overall, the goal is to balance alterations to eyelid volume and tissue with refreshing the appearance of the eyes.
Eyelid surgery may be performed on both the upper and lower eyelid, or just the upper or lower lid. Your surgeon may offer guidance on the best option for your needs and goals. Whatever the situation, the best approach to eyelid surgery is one that is tailored to your individual needs. Eyelid surgery may be performed for both cosmetic and functional reasons. Some patients may simply wish to appear younger, refreshed, and energetic, while others may have a significant amount of hooding, or drooping of the eyelids to a degree that it inhibits their field of vision.
Most eyelid surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you will go home the same day you have your procedure. Eyelid surgery may be performed with a local anesthetic, IV sedation, or general anesthesia. Most patients don’t require general anesthesia, however. Typically, a local anesthetic is injected in or around the eyelid to numb the area being treated. Your face will be cleansed and prepped with special attention around the eyes, and sterile drapes, or clothes, will be placed around your face and hairline to ensure a clean, sterile surgical field. Then, your surgeon will perform your procedure based on the options discussed during your consultation with your surgeon. Most patients have their incisions closed with either stitches, surgical tape, or skin adhesive. If you have stitches, they will typically be removed in five to seven days.
Immediately after surgery, avoid significantly bending over or making jarring motions. Most patients only experience minor discomfort after their blepharoplasty surgery, taking little more than an over-the-counter pain reliever combined with cold compresses. It is quite normal to have some bruising and swelling over the first week to ten days, but these usually resolve on their own without complications. The swelling is usually most obvious in the first 24 to 48 hours and then begin to go down.
Although it is temporary, some patients may experience mild blurring of the vision during the first few days up to a week after eyelid surgery. For some patients, ointment used during blepharoplasty may cause some blurring, while in other patients, blurred vision or eye irritation may occur while the eyelids are healing and recovering from surgery. Once you are fully healed, your incisions should be well hidden in the natural creases of the upper eyelid or in the lash line of the lower lid.
You are a good candidate for eyelid surgery if you are in overall good health and don’t have any serious eye health conditions or those that could impede healing. Let your surgeon know if you have any eye health conditions, including glaucoma, detached retina, or chronic dry eyes. It is also important to let your surgeon know if you are taking any blood-thinning medications, have any form of cardiovascular disease, or are diabetic. In addition, keep in mind that blepharoplasty is meant to treat excess skin and tissue, sagging or drooping of the lids, and related conditions. Eyelid surgery is not meant to treat dark circles, crow’s feet, or forehead wrinkles. However, it is often easily combined with other procedures that do treat these conditions, such as Botox, dermal fillers, skin treatments, or a brow or face lift.
To learn more about eyelid surgery, please call Monarch Plastic Surgery today at (913) 663-3838 for our Leawood and Lansing offices or (816) 436-3262 for our Kansas City location. We look forward to seeing you soon.