Woman's eye

Puffy or saggy eyelids are a common problem many experience as they age. Over time, our eyelids naturally stretch out and muscles weaken. This can be a cause of insecurity, and the problems are often not limited to cosmetic issues. Severely droopy eyelids can sometimes impair your peripheral vision.

Plastic surgery offers a solution for these issues. A blepharoplasty – often called an “eyelid lift” – is a common type of cosmetic surgery that repairs droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, muscle, and fat from the area around the eye. This can improve your appearance and even your vision, leading to a better quality of life overall.

Considering blepharoplasty? Below, we will provide a quick overview of the procedure to help you decide whether it is right for you.

How Do I Schedule A Blepharoplasty Procedure?

Before undergoing blepharoplasty, you will have a consultation with a plastic surgeon and an eye specialist to ensure you are a good candidate. 

You will need a complete physical exam and a vision exam. You also need to have your eyes photographed from various angles. This allows your surgeon to plan your surgery to meet your specific medical needs.

There are a number of medications you need to avoid in the weeks leading up to blepharoplasty, including aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and various herbal supplements associated with increased bleeding. Go over all your current medications – both prescription and over-the-counter – with your surgeon.

If you smoke, your surgeon will ask that you quit several weeks before surgery and not resume during the healing process as smoking can inhibit your body’s ability to heal.

What Happens During A Blepharoplasty?

On the day of your surgery, you will need someone to drive you to and from the hospital. A blepharoplasty is an outpatient procedure, so you will return home once your surgery is over.

Your surgeon will inject numbing medication into your eyelids. You will also receive intravenous medication to help you remain calm during the procedure.

Everyone’s surgery differs slightly depending on your needs. In most cases, your surgeon treats the upper lid first. They will make an incision along the fold of your eyelid and remove excess skin and in some cases, muscle and fat, as well.

The process for the lower lid is similar. Your surgeon makes an incision along the lash line or slightly inside the lower lid and removes fat and skin. In many cases, fat can be repositioned instead of removed.

What Is Recovery Like?

The night after surgery, your surgeon will usually advise you to use ice packs on your eyes every ten minutes. You will need to continue to apply ice the following day, usually between four to five times. Ask your surgeon for specific guidelines. Your surgeon may also prescribe eye drops to be used during the healing process.

It is common to experience issues like watering eyes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, swelling around the eyes, or mild pain and discomfort after surgery. These issues should pass within a few weeks and are not typically a cause for concern.

Everyone’s recovery is different and your surgeon will give you specific guidance based on your lifestyle and medical needs. Following surgery, most patients need to:

  • Use prescribed eyedrops
  • Avoid exercise for a week, including both aerobics and weight lifting
  • Sleep with their heads raised higher than their chests
  • Avoid certain over-the-counter medications that increase bleeding, such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen
  • Refrain from smoking
  • Avoid rubbing their eyes

Within 10 to 14 days, your bruising and swelling will have mostly subsided. There is little to no scarring associate with a blepharoplasty and the redness of the incision around your eyes should gradually fade away within a few months.

Are There Risks Associated With Blepharoplasty?

No procedure is risk free, but complications with blepharoplasty are extremely rare. If you work with a reputable surgeon and follow aftercare guidelines closely, you will likely make a full recovery.

However, in rare cases complications do occur, such as bleeding, corneal abrasion, dry eye, chemosis, infection, and asymmetry. Fortunately, these are exceptionally uncommon.

What Are The Benefits Of Blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty has many cosmetic benefits for those who want a more youthful look. Many people end up with increased self-esteem after undergoing an eyelid lift. Results are also frequently permanent. While some patients will need follow-up surgery if drooping recurs, many patients maintain their results long-term.

In addition to improving your appearance, a blepharoplasty can improve your eyesight if your droopy eyelids impair your vision. Many patients notice improved peripheral vision post-blepharoplasty.

The Bottom Line

A blepharoplasty can successfully treat drooping or sagging eyelids, which can impede vision and diminish self-esteem. The procedure is very low-risk and recovery only takes a couple of weeks. Most patients are happy with their final results.  

Looking for a surgeon? Leif Rogers is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon and a standing member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If you’re considering a blepharoplasty, get in touch here to schedule a consultation.

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