The eyes are the first thing people see when they meet you or when they want to know how you are feeling. The appearance of your eyes can make you look sad, angry or older than you are, even when none of these things may be true. As a person ages, the skin loses elasticity, which means for the eyes, the area around them may wrinkle and the upper and lower eyelid may sag or bulge. Eyelid surgery, also called blepharoplasty, may be the answer if your eyes make you look older than you are or impede your vision.
As your skin loses elasticity, it is less able to resist the pull of gravity. The loose skin gathers on the upper eyelids and under the lower eyelids. On the upper eyelids, the excess skin may eventually hang over your eye, reducing your scope of vision. You may even start tilting your head back without realizing it to get a better view. Under the lower eyelids, the skin sags, causing wrinkles, and fat may accumulate, creating under-eye bags, puffiness or bulges. We recommend eyelid surgery for this and other issues connected with the eyelids because there is no cream or lotion that can remedy this problem. Rest and a good night’s sleep may make you feel fresh, but if your eyelids are sagging, it won’t make you look fresh. Eyelid surgery may help restore your youthful appearance and your vision, which will increase your self-confidence.
What is Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)?
Blepharoplasty, also called an eye lift, is a surgical procedure to remove the hanging excess skin above and below the eyes. It may also involve removing or repositioning fat. In 2016, eyelid surgery was the fourth most popular cosmetic procedure in the US according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The main reason eyelid surgery is so popular it that it improves the shape and contour of the eyes and greatly improves the person’s appearance. It is also very useful for older people whose sight is impaired by hanging skin.
The incision for the upper eyelid can be done in the natural fold of the eyelid. For the lower eyelids, the incision may be just beneath the lower lash line. If excess fat is to be removed, the incision for the lower eyelid may be just inside the eyelid.
Our surgeon may use a variety of tools and techniques to remove excess tissue. At this time, fat may be removed or repositioned depending on the results you want. The incisions will be closed with tiny, self-dissolving sutures or tissue adhesive. For cosmetic purposes, to make the area around the eyes look smooth, we may use additional techniques to resurface the skin and help reduce any side effects. For those who suffer from dry eye, less tissue may be removed so less of the eye is exposed to the air, which may worsen the symptoms.
There are several options for lower eyelid surgery. The most common method for lower eyelid surgery is as mentioned above. Another option is the transconjunctival approach, which is very effective for removing under-eye bags and swelling. The incision is inside the eyelid, and fat can be removed, but this is not the method for removing excess skin.
A less involved blepharoplasty procedure can be effective if only a tiny portion of skin needs to be removed. This method may be used if your lower eyelids are strong and you only need a little bit of skin removed. A non-surgical option may be selected as an alternative to surgery in some cases. It all depends on the unique situation.
What to Expect
Once it is decided that you will have eyelid surgery on the lower, upper or both eyelids, the surgeon will examine the underlying facial muscles, the symmetry of your eyebrows, the elasticity of your skin and the underlying bone structure. You may look in a mirror and show the surgeon the things you would like changed. Once you and the surgeon know what to expect, you may be shown a computer image of your face to see the improvements you can expect. You can be sure that a customized procedure will be planned for you.
Who is a Good Candidate for Eyelid Surgery?
The best way to know if eyelid surgery is a good option for you is to have a consultation with our surgeon in Dallas. If you have any of the following issues, it’s best to have your eyelids checked:
- Sagging, loose skin on the upper eyelids that changes the natural appearance of the eye and may impair vision
- Under-eye bags
- Deposits of fat in the upper eyelids that look puffy
- A lower eyelid that droops to reveal the white of the eye below the iris
- Fine wrinkles under the lower eyelid
- Unable to wear contact lenses because of the sagging lower eyelid
To be a good candidate for eyelid surgery, you must have overall good health and not have a chronic medical condition that may inhibit tissue healing. Smoking inhibits tissue healing, and if you are a smoker, you may take this opportunity to quit. If you can’t do that, you must stop for a set amount of time before and after the procedure. Our specialist will help you have realistic expectations about the outcome of surgery for your particular case. You may be asked about your motivation for having the surgery. The important thing is your motivation must be because you want the surgery and not because you are being pressured by someone else to improve your appearance. You must have a positive outlook and realistic expectations to be satisfied with the results. If you have a serious eye condition, you may not be a good candidate for eyelid surgery unless it can be cured first. Other information to give our specialist during your consultation is:
- If you have allergies to any drugs
- If you have had any previous eye problems such as glaucoma, eye-related allergies or dry eyes
- If you have diabetes, thyroid problems, circulatory problems or other chronic diseases
- If you are taking any prescription medication including dietary supplements, recreational drugs or alcohol
- If you had any previous surgeries
Once it has been determined that you are a good candidate for eyelid surgery, we may discuss the options available to you and recommend a course of treatment, discuss the type of anesthesia you prefer and take photographs of your eyes from different angles. These photographs will help the surgeon plan the surgery and determine both the immediate and long-term results.
How to Prepare for Eyelid Surgery
Our surgeon will give you detailed instructions for the surgery. You must not take any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or ibuprofen or any anti-coagulant in the days before the date of surgery.
On the day of the surgery, you may be given medication to help you feel comfortable during the procedure. Depending on the number of procedures being done, the surgery usually takes from one to two hours to complete.
You will be connected to several monitors during the surgery for your safety to check your blood pressure, heart, pulse and how much oxygen is in your blood. When the surgery is complete, you will be taken to a recovery room, where you will continue to be closely monitored. The surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home to recuperate on the same day as the surgery. You will need someone to drive you home after the surgery.
You must strictly follow our specialist’s instructions for aftercare. This may include instructions about bandages, antibiotics, medication and the level of activity that is safe. We recommend that you do not go to work or do any other regular daily activities for a set amount of time. According to the type and number of surgeries you had, our surgeon will tell you how long to avoid activity. This gives your eyelids a chance to heal.
We will give you detailed instructions on how to take care of your eyes once you are at home. You will need to be aware of the normal symptoms that may develop as well as any signs of potential complications. Immediately after the surgery, you may experience excessive sensitivity to light. Major discomfort is rare, but if you need medication, we may prescribe over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol). You should continue to avoid anti-inflammatories. Here are some general suggestions that may help you once you are at home:
- Have an ice pack or freezer bag ready
- Have some small gauze pads available
- Have eye drops that are prescribed by our surgeon
- Keep clean towels nearby
- Have Tylenol nearby
You may be asked to apply ointment to keep the area lubricated and to apply eye drops to keep the eyes from becoming dry. Cold compresses may reduce swelling. We may recommend that you use pillows when you sleep to keep your head raised above your chest.
How Long Do the Results Last?
The results of eyelid surgery are designed to last for years. The excess skin on the upper eyelid is removed only once. It is not a surgery that is typically repeated. However, as you age, your eyebrows may drop, causing more excess skin to impair your vision. If this happens, a different surgery may be performed called a brow lift. To get the results you want, we recommend you visit our specialist for a follow-up evaluation.
If you have trouble seeing because of sagging skin from your upper eyelid, or if your sagging eyelids make you look sad, angry and older than you are, blepharoplasty may be your best option. To find out for sure, book an appointment at Sule Facial Plastic Surgery Clinic in Dallas. Contact our office today to set up your consultation and get started.