Our eyes speak volumes. They can make us look alert and interested or tired and world-weary. If you feel that your eyes are sending the wrong message—or if your vision has been compromised by drooping lids—the solution could be eyelid surgery, called blepharoplasty.
As we age, our eyelid skin stretches as the underlying muscles weaken and provide less support. Fat may migrate to rest over and under the eyelids, and fluid may accumulate as well. The result is often sagging lids, puffiness, bags under the eyes, and sometimes impaired vision.
To counteract these effects and subtly refresh your appearance, blepharoplasty can be performed on either upper or lower eyelids, or both. Surgery usually is done using general anesthesia and takes one to two hours. It is generally an outpatient procedure unless it’s being combined with other surgery.
Loose skin and fat deposits can make the upper eyelids droop and look swollen, and even interfere with vision. Upper blepharoplasty can remedy this. Through an incision in the natural crease of the upper lid, the surgeon removes extra fat and skin and tightens the muscles as needed to restore the lids’ normal shape.
Under-eye bags or lower-lid puffiness can be corrected by removing the excess fat and skin pulling down on the lower eyelids. An incision is made either directly below the lash line or inside the eyelid (transconjunctival incision). Sometimes fat transfer is performed at the same time to correct a sunken appearance below the eyes.
Blepharoplasty Recovery and Results
Swelling and bruising are normal following eyelid surgery, but the eyelids are usually quick to heal. Cold compresses will help control swelling. You’ll be advised to keep your head elevated for the first few days, and you’ll be given instructions for cleaning the eye area. Recovery is quick for most people, especially for upper blepharoplasty. There’s more bruising and swelling with lower blepharoplasty, persisting for a couple of weeks, but cosmetics can be used after the first few days.
Most people can resume normal activities within one to two weeks. Your improved eyelid contours will gradually become apparent as the swelling and bruising diminish. The incisions lines, concealed in the natural folds of the eyelids, will fade over time. Of course, blepharoplasty won’t stop normal aging, and it’s important to be faithful in the use of sun protection.