Blepharoplasty is a procedure for treating droopy eyelids. It is a type of plastic surgery, where your doctor removes skin, muscle and sometimes fat that may be causing sagging in the area around your eyes.
As we age, our eyelids stretch and the muscles supporting them also become weak. Due to this, excess fat can gather above or below the eyelids, which leads to sagging eyebrows, droopy upper lids as well as bags under the eyes.
Sagging skin around your eyes not only makes you look older but also reduces your peripheral vision. Blepharoplasty is a procedure that can eliminate these kinds of vision problems and they help in making your eyes appear younger and also more alert.
This procedure is usually sought by people who are seeking anti-aging treatments. Though sagging of the skin around the eyes is a natural part of aging, some people might find this bothersome, which is why they might opt for this surgery. People who have significant bags under the eyes or people whose eyebrows start to sag might also consider Blepharoplasty.
Although many people prefer this surgery for cosmetic reasons, there are others who choose to go for the surgery if their vision is affected by the sagging skin. Some people can also find their vision blocked by the hanging skin when they look upward.
Before scheduling the surgery, you will need to meet with a plastic surgeon and an eye specialist (ophthalmologist). Or you can also meet with an oculoplastic surgeon i.e., a plastic surgeon who specializes in eye surgeries. The points that you need to discuss with him/her include:
- Your medical history: Your surgeon will ask about any previous surgeries as well as your past or current conditions, such as dry eyes, glaucoma, circulatory problems, allergies, thyroid problems and diabetes. If you are taking any kind of medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, alcohol, tobacco or drugs you need to inform your doctor.
- Your expectations: You will need to discuss your expectations honestly as it will help you with a satisfactory outcome. Your surgeon will also discuss how likely the procedure is to work well for you.
Before the surgery, you’ll need to undergo:
- A physical examination: A physical examination will be conducted by your surgeon. This might include testing your tear production and measuring parts of your eyelids as well.
- A vision examination: Your eye doctor will be examining your eyes and test your vision including your peripheral vision. This helps in supporting any insurance claim.
- Eyelid photography: Your eyes will be photographed from various angles. These photos will help in planning the surgery and to assess its immediate and long-term effects as well as supporting an insurance claim.
Your doctor will ask you to stop taking any medications before your surgery unless he/she approves them.
You will also need to quit smoking a few weeks before the surgery. Smoking affects your healing after surgery.
If you are having outpatient surgery, it is best if you are able to arrange someone to drive you to and from the surgery. You will need to plan to have someone stay with you the first night after you return home from the surgery.
Blepharoplasty is usually done on an outpatient basis. Your surgeon will first inject a numbing medication into your eyelids and then administer intravenous medication to make you relax.
If the surgery is being performed on the upper and lower eyelids, the surgeon will generally work on your upper lids first. He/she can cut along the fold of the eyelid, remove some of the excess skin, muscle and possibly fat and then close the cut.
After this, your surgeon will perform on the lower lid. He/she will make a cut just below the lashes in your eye’s natural crease or inside the lower lid. He/she will remove or redistribute excess fat, muscle, sagging skin and then close the cut.
Compared to other surgeries, recovery from Blepharoplasty usually takes a shorter time. After the procedure, you will be moved to a recovery room, where you’ll be monitored for side effects. You will be able to go home the same day unless there are any complications.
Following the surgery, it is best to take rest for a few days. You might also go through some pain. Your doctor can recommend a few medications to help you relieve any symptoms. It might take a week or two for these symptoms to disappear completely. For the next couple of days, your surgeon might recommend ice packs.
Sometimes, there might be short-term side effects such as blurry vision and sensitivity to light. If these symptoms last longer than two days, then you need to call your doctor.
Following the surgery, you will not be able to wear contact lenses, so make sure you have an alternative.
Although you won’t need to keep the eyes covered throughout the entire recovery phase, you might receive some gauge to help protect the area. Make sure that you wash the area gently and also keep it clean. After some days, you will need to see the surgeon again for an evaluation and remove any stitches as required.
The surgery carries the risk of bleeding, bruising and infection. Although rare, Blood clots can be a serious risk.
Other risks and complications include:
- blurry vision
- damage from excessive sun exposure
- itchiness around the eye area
- dry eyes
- muscle damage
- inability to close your eyes
It is best to discuss with your doctor about these risks before the procedure. Also inform your surgeon if you have had any complications before with any previous surgery in the past.