Eyelid rejuvenation surgery is a medical procedure designed to reduce the appearance of bagginess from the lower eyelids and sagging from the upper eyelids. This operation is often used for cosmetic surgery to reduce the appearance of aging, or when the eyelids are interfering with a patient’s ability to see. Sometimes a sagging upper eyelid can partially obscure the eyeball, interfering with a person’s ability to look in certain directions or with their peripheral vision.
As our skin ages, it often loses its elasticity. The skin no longer bounces back to its original shape, and wrinkles and bulges begin to appear. While these wrinkles can occur all over the body, they typically first appear on the face and around the eyes. Any additional skin on or near the eyelids can cause the eyelid to sag or droop over the eyelashes and into the frame of vision.
The eyelids also contain some fat to protect and cushion the eyeball. The fat is held in place by a thin membrane. However, this membrane can weaken as we age until it no longer keeps the protective fat in place — creating bulges in the upper and lower eyelids.
Several non-surgical treatments are marketed to help treat sagging skin or reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but use additional caution when choosing a product for use near your eyes. Always make sure that the product is designed to be used in the area of your body where you want to use it. Contact your health care provider if you have questions about a specific product.
Many people find that non-surgical options don’t have enough (or any!) effect on their eyelids. In these instances, they can consider working with a licensed medical professional to weigh their options. One of these options is eyelid rejuvenation (blepharoplasty), also called an “eye lift.”
There are several different methods for achieving your desired results. Typically, an incision is made into the eyelid, and then the excess skin or fat cells are removed by laser or scalpel. Additionally, your surgeon may suggest laser resurfacing in combination with your surgery.
Eyelid surgery can be done in a local office or a surgery center. If you are undergoing the operation in an office environment, you can probably expect that you will be treated with a local anesthetic and an oral sedative. If you are in a surgery center, you will likely receive an intravenous anesthetic. The surgery takes about two hours to complete if you are having all four eyelids corrected (upper and lower lids). With procedures involving all four eyelids, the surgeon will likely opt to work on both upper eyelids first and then move to the lower eyelids. The upper eyelids will have three to six stitches, but the lower eyelids may not require any. The stitches should remain in place for three to six days.
After the surgery is complete, you will need somebody to drive you home because you will have recently had an anesthetic, and it will not be safe for you to drive a vehicle. You should also plan to have somebody with you for the next few days to help you as you recover. It is a good idea to prepare items you may want for your comfort, so they are ready for you when you return home.
Common recovery items include:
Ice cubes and packs
Small gauze pads
Clean washcloths and towels
Over-the-counter pain medication
Be cautious about medications containing aspirin because they increase the risk of bleeding.
Side effects are typically minor but include dry eyes and eye irritation, bleeding, bruising, the inability to fully close the eye, and a possible loss of vision. Contact your medical professional if any of these complications manifest during your recovery.