Blepharoplasty (BLEF-uh-roe-plas-tee) is a type of surgery that repairs droopy eyelids and may involve removing excess skin, muscle and fat. As you age, your eyelids stretch, and the muscles supporting them weaken. As a result, excess fat may gather above and below your eyelids, causing sagging eyebrows, droopy upper lids and bags under your eyes.
Besides making you look older, severely sagging skin around your eyes can reduce your side vision (peripheral vision), especially the upper and outer parts of your field of vision. Blepharoplasty can reduce or eliminate these vision problems and make your eyes appear younger and more alert.
To help decide if blepharoplasty is right for you, find out what you can realistically expect and explore the benefits and risks of blepharoplasty.
During blepharoplasty, the surgeon cuts along the creases of your eyelids to trim sagging skin and muscle and remove excess fat. After the excess tissue is removed, your surgeon joins the skin with tiny stitches.
You might consider blepharoplasty if droopy or sagging eyelids keep your eyes from opening completely or pull down your lower eyelids. Removing excess tissue from your upper eyelids can improve your vision. Upper and lower lid blepharoplasty can make your eyes appear younger and more alert.
Blepharoplasty may be an option if you have:
You may undergo blepharoplasty at the same time as another procedure, such as a brow lift, face-lift or skin resurfacing.
Insurance coverage may depend on whether the surgery repairs a condition that impairs vision. If you have the surgery only to improve your appearance, the cost probably won't be covered by insurance. Lower lid blepharoplasty is almost always done just for cosmetic reasons.
Possible risks of eyelid surgery include:
Talk to your doctor about how surgical risks apply to you. Understanding what's involved in blepharoplasty and weighing the benefits and risks can help you decide if this procedure is a good option.
Before scheduling blepharoplasty, you will meet with a plastic surgeon and an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) or a plastic surgeon who specializes in eye surgeries (oculoplastic surgeon) to discuss:
Before your eyelid surgery, you'll undergo:
And you'll be asked to:
Blepharoplasty is usually done in an outpatient setting. Your surgeon injects numbing medication into your eyelids and administers intravenous medication to help you relax.
If you have surgery on your upper and lower eyelids, the surgeon generally works on your upper lids first. He or she cuts along the fold of the eyelid, removes some excess skin, muscle and possibly fat, and closes the cut.
On the lower lid, the surgeon makes a cut just below the lashes in your eye's natural crease or inside the lower lid. He or she removes or redistributes excess fat, muscle and sagging skin, and closes the cut.
If your upper eyelid droops close to your pupil, your surgeon may do blepharoplasty with a procedure called ptosis (TOE-sis) that provides additional support to the eyebrow muscle.
After surgery you spend time in a recovery room, where you are monitored for complications. You can leave later that day to recuperate at home.
After surgery you may temporarily experience:
Your doctor will likely suggest you take the following steps after surgery:
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:
Many people express satisfaction with the results of blepharoplasty, such as a more rested and youthful appearance and more self-confidence. For some people, results of surgery may last a lifetime. For others, droopy eyelids may recur.
Bruising and swelling generally subside in 10 to 14 days, which may be when you feel comfortable going out in public again. Scars from the surgical cuts may take months to fade. Take care to protect your delicate eyelid skin from too much sun exposure.