Eyelid surgery, sometimes known as an eyelid lift or blepharoplasty, is a common surgical procedure that is used to alter the shape and appearance of the upper eyelid, lower eyelid, or both eyelids.
Blepharoplasty is typically performed by removing any excess skin and tissue from the eyelid area. Additionally, the underlying eyelid muscles are adjusted and smoothened and support is created for the surrounding eyelid tissue in order to improve the ‘droopiness’ of eyelids and to eliminate the ‘puffiness’ of eyebags.
If you have been considering eyelid surgery, this guide will provide you with all of the information you will need to understand and prepare for an eyelid surgery procedure.
In this comprehensive guide, we will look at what causes eyelid problems, how to know if you are a good candidate for eyelid surgery, what you can expect from the blepharoplasty procedure, the recovery process after surgery, costs associated with the surgery, and the results you can expect.
So let’s begin…
We offer a number of surgical and non-surgical treatments for patients who want to fight the signs of aging and achieve a more youthful, refreshed appearance. For many, when the area surrounding the eyes begins to age, it can affect a person’s ability to see. When this happens, the surgery is deemed medical and can be covered by medical insurance. Surgery can also be performed for cosmetic reasons – to specifically improve and rejuvenate the appearance of the eyes.
Blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift surgery, can rejuvenate puffy, sagging or tired-looking eyes by removing excess fat, skin, and muscle from the upper and lower eyelids. Surgery may be performed for cosmetic reasons or to improve sight by lifting droopy eyelids out of the patient’s field of vision.
Ptosis surgery can help repair droopy eyelids and is needed when there is a gradual stretching of the tissue that supports the lid caused by aging, long-term contact wear, or injury. Patients consider ptosis surgery when their upper eyelids are drooping, causing impaired vision due to the covering of the pupil.
Entropion is a “turning in” of the lower eyelid, thus causing the skin and lashes to rub against the cornea. The most common symptoms can include eye irritation and dry eyes. This eye condition is most often a result of aging, but may also occur due to a chemical injury, complications from another surgery, scarring, or trauma.
Ectropion is a “turning out” of the lower eyelid. This can leave the inner eyelid exposed which may prevent tears from draining from the eye correctly, resulting in irritation. While ectropion is most often caused by aging, it may also be a result of scarring around the eye, skin infections, facial paralysis, eyelid growths, or other injuries.
Our Oculoplastics Center offers a number of treatment options for people who need Mohs reconstruction or have eyelid abnormalities, lesions, issues with eyelid closing or blinking. We also offer comprehensive treatment options that can help people who suffer from watery eyes, orbital tumors, facial paralysis, and other diseases and conditions that can negatively affect the natural function of the eyes. Find out what to expect with upper and lower eyelid surgery.
As we get older, we start to lose elasticity in our skin as a natural part of the aging process. Because the face and the facial skin are often more exposed to environmental factors (such as sun, wind, pollution, etc.) than other parts of the body, it is often the first part of the body to show visible signs of aging and a loss of this elasticity.
The skin around the eye is very thin and delicate, and it is one of the places where aging skin will be most visible on the human body. As the skin around the eye loses elasticity, it will begin to stretch, and gravity will cause the stretched skin to pool above and below the eyes. On the top eyelid, this creates the appearance of ‘hooded’ or droopy eyelids. If the top eyelid sags too much, it can start to impede a person’s field of vision.
On the bottom eyelid, the effect is slightly different. There are small fat deposits located under each of our eyes that helps to cushion the eye socket. When the lower eyelid skin begins to lose elasticity, this area will become more exposed and a bulge can appear under the eye. This is commonly referred to as ‘undereye bags’.
Eyelid surgery is a relatively uncomplicated outpatient surgery procedure. It is suitable for someone who is generally considered to be in good health. Both men and women can have the surgery, and it is suitable for people from any ethnic background.
Blepharoplasty is usually recommended for people over the age of 35, as this is when the appearance of the eyelid will start to show signs of aging. In certain cases where a person may have a family history of droopy eyelids and severe bags, the surgery may be performed on someone younger.
Before you undertake the procedure, your surgeon will physically examine the structure of your eyes and face and provide recommendations so that you will have a good understanding of what to expect from the surgery. You should carefully consider any advice you receive from the surgeon to ensure the surgery is the right choice for you.
If you have certain medical conditions, particularly eye conditions, you may not be a good candidate for eyelid surgery. Dry eyes, glaucoma, and other eye conditions may have an impact on the outcome of your eyelid surgery. You should inform your surgeon of any eye or general health conditions that you have. The surgeon will discuss these issues with you and ensure that the procedure is safe for you.
Eyelid surgery is a relatively short, uncomplicated procedure that is normally performed as a outpatient surgery.
In a typical eyelid surgery procedure, local anesthetic will be applied to the eyelid and the surgeon will make several small, discreet incisions along the eyelids. Special care will be taken by your surgeon to ensure there will be minimal bleeding or scarring. The incisions will normally be hidden in the natural eyelid folds.
In an upper eyelid procedure (upper blepharoplasty), incisions will be made in the upper eyelid crease. In a lower eyelid surgery, the incision will be made just underneath the lash line of the lower eyelid. In some instances where no skin needs to be removed, the surgeon may be able to perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty. In this procedure, an incision is made from the inner side of the lower eyelid directly, and as a result there is no visible scarring.
Once the incisions are made, any excess of tissue (skin and/or fat) will be removed and the incision will be sealed with small sutures. The whole procedure will typically take between one to three hours.
The specifics of your eyelid surgery procedure will vary depending on the nature and severity of the eyelid issue that is being addressed and whether the surgery will be on your upper, lower, or both eyelids. Your surgeon will outline and explain all of the details of your particular procedure before the operation to make sure that you are prepared.
Oculoplastic surgeons and plastic surgeons are similar in the sense that they both perform reconstructive surgeries and cosmetic procedures on the face, however, an oculoplastic surgeon’s training begins after medical school when they do an internship with a residency in ophthalmology or eye surgery. This allows the physician to understand the eye and surrounding areas, including muscles, in full detail.
Once the physician completes this residency, they continue on to a fellowship which involves fine-tuning their skills, knowledge and suturing techniques in order to perform precise eyelid and facial plastic surgery. This type of training can easily translate with a careful touch of detail when dealing with the bodies’ most delicate area of skin.
Following surgery, you should arrange for someone to rive you home. As with any procedure that affects your vision, it is important that you allow sufficient time for recovery before you drive or undertake any activity that requires uncompromised vision.
As part of your recovery, you will need to ensure that you rest, elevate your head, and apply ice to the eye area to keep swelling and bruising to a minimum. Individual patients will experience pain differently, but the procedure should only cause mild pain. Regular, over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol, should be taken as needed.
The recovery time from an upper eyelift can vary for individual patients, but the skin of the upper eyelid tends to heal quickly. Most patients find that they are able to return to normal activities within three to four days.
Some patients may develop dry eyes for one to two weeks. If the dry eye symptoms persist for a longer period of time, you should discuss this with your surgeon.
It is important to remember that the full results from your eyelid surgery will not be immediate, and the final results may take several months to appear.
Eyelid surgery is a permanent procedure, but for some patients, the surgery may need to be repeated after a period of years. The eye area will naturally continue to age after the surgery, so you may find that the effects of your upper eyelid surgery gradual reduce with time. Upper eyelid surgery can be expected to last approximately 5-10 years. Lower eyelid surgery usually maintains for a longer period and rarely needs to be repeated.
The cost of your eyelid surgery depends on several different factors, including your insurance. Upper eyelid blepharoplasty is normally covered by insurance if it is considered medically necessary (for example, if drooping eyelids are affecting your vision). You will need to submit clinicals and photos to your insurance company and allow 2 – 3 weeks for the preauthorization process.
If your insurance company does not deem your eyelid lift surgery to be a medical necessity, it will be considered a cosmetic procedure.
Lower eyelid surgery is generally a cosmetic procedure performed for aesthetic reasons, which means it is rarely covered by insurance.
If you would like to find out more about upper and lower eyelid surgery costs, be sure to contact Milan Eye Center today for a consultation.
If your eyelids are affecting your vision or you would like to learn more about correcting your eyelids for cosmetic reasons, contact our office at (678) 681-9834 for a consultation with one of our Atlanta Ophthalmology specialists.