Do you have droopy eyelids? Do you want a more youthful look for your tired eyes? Does the drooping of your eyelids obstruct your vision? Blepharoplasty, the medical term for eyelid surgery, has been growing in popularity in recent years and is one of the most common procedures in plastic surgery.
As you age, your eyelids stretch, and the muscles supporting them weaken causing sagging eyebrows. As a result, fat bulges may appear above and below your eyelids. In addition, sun damage and your genetics also impacts how early those changes will appear and how fast they progress.
Upper eyelid surgery: This type of surgery involves correcting heavy “hooded” eyelids, the loose skin that is often formed above the upper eyelashes and bulging pockets of fat.
Lower eyelid surgery: The purpose of a lower blepharoplasty procedure is to improve the appearance of sagging skin and fat bags under the eyes. It can also correct the eyelid position when drooping lower eyelids reveal the white part of the eye below the iris, and excess skin and fine wrinkles. It consists of a day surgery procedure, so you can go home after anaesthetic recovery, most often local anaesthesia and sedation.
Eyelid surgery is popular around the world, especially in Asian countries. Asian blepharoplasty, also known as double eyelid surgery, is designed to create a crease in the upper eyelid that brightens and enhances the contour of the eyes. It makes them appear bigger and younger looking.
Droopy eyelids and vision obstruction
Another reason my patients choose blepharoplasty is functional, as droopy upper lids with severe sagging skin around the eyes can also reduce side vision (peripheral vision), especially the upper and outer parts of your visual field. Blepharoplasty can reduce or eliminate these vision problems and make your eyes appear younger and more alert.
Other treatments that can be combined with eyelid surgery
Low eyebrows can also contribute to the problem and plastic surgeons often combine treatments for better results. Those procedures include fat grafting, brow lift and facelift.
More recently, micro fat grafting has become a powerful tool for the treatment of peri-orbital ageing, the region around the eyes. Facial fat grafting or lipofilling, uses your own fat tissue that is removed from other parts of your body. The fat is carefully harvested and processed before injection with fine cannulas. That process optimises fat quality and fat survival to achieve more predictable and consistent results.
Possible risks with eyelid surgery
- Infection and bleeding
- Dry, irritated eyes
- Difficulty closing your eyes or other eyelid problems
- Noticeable scarring
- Injury to eye muscles
- Skin discolouration
- The need for revision surgery
- Temporarily blurred vision or, rarely, loss of eyesight
- Other risks associated with surgery in general, including reaction to anesthesia and blood clots.
After surgery you will be monitored in the recovery room until you are fully awake and ready for discharge and allowed to recuperate at home.
After surgery you may temporarily experience:
- Blurred vision from the lubricating ointment applied to your eyes
- Watering eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision
- Puffy, numb eyelids
- Swelling and bruising similar to having black eyes
- Pain or discomfort
Most of the swelling and bruising after surgery normally subsides after two weeks. Ensuring that you post-surgery recovery goes well makes a big difference. Here are some tips to aid the healing process after blepharoplasty:
- Use ice packs on your eyes for 10 minutes every hour the night after surgery. The following 36hs, use ice packs on your eyes four to five times throughout the day.
- Sleep with your head raised higher than your chest for a few days.
- Take painkillers as prescribed by your plastic surgeon – they should be able to advise you on the dose and how often you should take them.
- When you sleep or rest, keep your head elevated – that helps reduce the swelling.
- Gently clean your eyelids and use prescribed eyedrops or ointments.
- Only use artificial tears and eye ointment prescribed by your surgeon.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes.
- If you use contact lenses, don\’t put them in for about two weeks after surgery.
- Wear darkly tinted sunglasses to protect the skin of your eyelids from sun and wind.
- Avoid strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging, heavy lifting and swimming for a week as it can cause bleeding and haematomas.
- Avoid smoking.
- After a few days, return to the doctor\’s office to have stitches removed, if needed.
- For about a week, avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Nurofen), naproxen, and other medications or herbal supplements that may increase bleeding. If needed, use acetaminophen (Panadol, others) to control pain.
If you’re considering eyelid surgery and have some questions, please get in touch with me so that I can answer any questions you might have.