The saying “the eyes don’t lie” is true, especially when it comes to revealing a person’s age. Over the years, as our skin loses its elasticity, the skin on our upper eyelids may start to droop, creating a “hooded” look for our eyes. Puffy bags may also start to form under our eyes, regardless of how much rest we get or how many eye creams we use. Eyelid surgery, also called blepharoplasty, can correct these problems and restore a younger, more rested and vibrant look to the entire face.
What Problems Can Eyelid Surgery Solve?
Is eyelid surgery* the right solution for you? You may be a good candidate if you suffer from one or more of the following:
- Sagging upper lids that interfere with vision
- Drooping eyelids that cause the eyes to have a “hooded” look
- Unsightly bags under the eyes
- Hollowed-looking eye sockets
*Prior to having eyelid surgery, talk to Dr. McAllister about the medications and vitamins you are taking. Certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding such as aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., ibuprofen) and some vitamins/homeopathic regimens should be discontinued prior to any elective surgery. Also, if you are a smoker, it is recommended that you stop smoking well in advance of the surgery, as smoking can affect your body’s ability to heal.
What Happens During Eyelid Surgery?
The blepharoplasty procedure can be performed on the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both (depending on the needs and desires of the patient). Eyelid surgery performed on the upper eyelids is called upper blepharoplasty, while surgery on the lower lids is called lower blepharoplasty. Dr. McAllister performs both procedures on an outpatient basis.
Upper blepharoplasty involves small incisions made in the eyelid’s natural creases, so that any scarring is minimal in size and easily concealed in the skin’s natural folds. Through these small incisions in the upper lid, Dr. McAllister will remove excess skin and either remove or reposition the fat in the eyelid to give the eyes a more lifted, yet natural, appearance. He may also tighten the eyelid muscle at this time, and then close the incisions with sutures.
The lower blepharoplasty procedure is performed through a small incision just under the lower eyelash line. The extra fat that causes puffiness in this area is removed and, for patients with hollowed-looking eye sockets, the cheek pads may be lifted to a higher position to fill out this area for a smoother eye appearance without the bags. The incision is then closed with sutures. Due to the small size and location (near the lash line) of the incision, the resulting scar is almost invisible.
Preparing for Eyelid Surgery Recovery
You may experience symptoms like tearing and light sensitivity immediately following your eyelid procedure. In addition, there may be redness in the eye area, as well as some mild to moderate bruising. These symptoms are normal, and typically last only two to three days. It is also normal to experience swelling and puffiness in the eye area; these symptoms may last several days, and possibly even a couple of weeks, after surgery. Using a clean, cold compress on the eyes will help alleviate the swelling. Discomfort is typically mild, and easily alleviated with medication recommended or prescribed by Dr. McAllister. (Avoid medications that contain aspirin and ibuprofen as they will increase your risk of bleeding.) To ensure a healthy recovery, it is also important to refrain from smoking during this period, since smoking adversely affects your body’s ability to heal itself.
You will typically be healed sufficiently to where you can return to work within a week to 10 days of your surgery, though you should refrain from lifting weights and strenuous exercise for two weeks after surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Eyelid Surgery
What causes eyelids to droop?
One or both eyelids may droop at birth due to genetic factors, or they may start to droop later in life due to the following factors:
- the aging process
- eye surgery complications
- Botox treatment complications
- injury to the eyelid muscles, ligaments or nerve controlling the eyelid muscles
- eyelid tumors, cysts or swelling
How much does eyelid surgery cost?
The cost of eyelid surgery depends on your plastic surgeon and geographical area. It also depends on the extent of your treatment plan, particularly whether other procedures or treatments are combined with your eyelid surgery.
For specific information about eyelid surgery cost, please contact Coastal Plastic Surgery Institute today.
What are the risks of eyelid surgery?
Any surgical procedure carries the risk of complications. Potential blepharoplasty complications include:
- chronically dry or irritated eyes
- difficulty closing the eyelids completely
- skin discoloration
- blurry vision
Selecting a qualified, experienced eyelid surgeon like Dr. McAllister and following all of his pre-op and post-op instructions will significantly decrease your risk of complications.
What type of anesthesia will be used?
General anesthesia or local anesthesia with intravenous sedation may be used during eyelid surgery. The anesthesia selected for your procedure often depends on whether additional procedures are combined with eyelid surgery. With either option, you should feel very little (if anything) during the procedure.
Is eyelid surgery painful?
No. Because of the anesthesia, you should not feel any pain during surgery. Post-operative pain or discomfort can be managed with prescription or over-the-counter medication.
Will I look surprised after blepharoplasty?
Aggressive skin or tissue removal may result in a wide-eyed expression and the inability to fully close the eyelids. To ensure natural results from blepharoplasty, work with an experienced, trained surgeon like Dr. McAllister.
Can I wear contact lenses after blepharoplasty?
You should refrain from wearing your contacts for approximately one week after surgery.
Does eyelid surgery leave scars?
Any time an incision is made in the skin, it leaves a scar. Luckily, Dr. McAllister carefully plans and creates the incisions in the natural folds and transitions of the upper and/or lower eyelid skin to conceal scarring. Once you have healed from surgery, it will be very difficult to detect your scars.
How long do the effects of blepharoplasty last?
The effects of blepharoplasty are long lasting and you should be able to enjoy your results for many years. Once skin or fat are removed, they do not grow back. Most people who have eyelid surgery do not have to repeat the procedure.
However, your eyelids will not stay exactly as they are after eyelid surgery for the rest of your life, because eyelid surgery does not stop the natural aging process. Eventually your eyes will start to show signs of aging.
Does insurance cover blepharoplasty?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, it might. If excess upper eyelid skin spills over your upper lashline and obstructs your visual field, eyelid surgery may be deemed medically necessary and you may be eligible for insurance coverage. However, the visual obstruction must be documented by your ophthalmologist and additional information is usually required by the insurance provider to determine whether to cover your procedure.
Schedule Your Eyelid Surgery Consultation Today
Want a younger-looking face? Start with the eyes. Eyelid surgery can help you to instantly achieve a rejuvenated, refreshed look, shaving years off of your facial appearance. Schedule your eyelid surgery consultation with Dr. McAllister today by calling Coastal Plastic Surgery Institute at 850-233-7674.