A blepharoplasty is the medical name for eyelid surgery. Sometimes called an “eye lift,” eyelid surgery provides more than a simple cosmetic enhancement. It can also improve your vision if sagging skin around the upper eyelids begins to become an obstruction to sight.
The eyes are often called the “windows to the soul,” but for many of us today, gazing into our own eyes in the mirror just tells us we are tired, worn out and wishful of recapturing our youthful appearance from years past.
If you are thinking about eyelid rejuvenation, learn what you need to know to decide if blepharoplasty surgery may be the right path to achieve your appearance and/or vision goals with expert plastic surgeon, Dr. Donald Roland.
The Blepharoplasty Procedure
Blepharoplasty may improve several techniques to improve the appearance of aging eyes. Some of the most common reasons why you might want to consider having eyelid surgery include the following:
- Your upper eyelids have become loose or have started to sag.
- You are developing fat deposits beneath your eyes that are causing a puffy look.
- You have “bags,” or pockets of sagging skin under your eyes.
- Your lower eyelids are accumulating excess skin.
- You have noticed small, fine wrinkles forming in the area of your lower eyelids.
- Your vision is becoming somewhat obscured due to obstruction from sagging upper eyelid skin.
While eyelid surgery can address each of these issues as listed here, it is important to recognize that blepharoplasty surgery isn’t a correct-all procedure. For example, eyelid surgery generally cannot correct dark under-eye circles, deep crow’s feet wrinkles between the eyes, or sagging eyebrows.
Good Candidates for Blepharoplasty
The best candidates for blepharoplasty surgery are those who are in excellent health and have realistic expectations overall for the outcome of the eyelid surgery (i.e. you have a good understanding of what blepharoplasty surgery can and cannot correct as mentioned here).
Here are additional indicators that you are likely a good candidate for blepharoplasty:
- You are not planning to become pregnant, expecting or nursing an infant.
- You are not on any medications that thin blood or prevent clotting.
- You do not have any facial skin disorders that may cause keloid scars or pigmentation changes.
- You do no smoke or are willing to cease from smoking for a period of time before and after your procedure (smoking heavily can interfere with the body’s own healing ability).
- You are free of any eye conditions or diseases that may be worsened by eyelid surgery.
- You are free from any serious illnesses or autoimmune issues that could interfere with the body’s ability to heal itself after surgery.
- You are near or at your ideal body weight.
If your personal medical history includes previous issues with your thyroid gland, high blood pressure or diabetes, you should mention this to Dr. Roland during your initial consultation.
As well, if you have a prior history of corrective vision procedures (such as laser vision surgery), glaucoma, detached retina(s) or other vision-related issues, mention this to Dr. Roland during your consultation.
Preparing For The Initial Blepharoplasty Consultation
During your initial consultation for eyelid surgery, you will have a chance to meet one on one with Dr. Roland to discuss your goals and get all of your questions answered.
Dr. Roland will first want to take a full personal and family medical history and do a physical examination of the treatment area. Here, Dr. Roland will be looking at your facial configuration, examining the placement of any fat pockets around your eye area and making notes about your goals for your blepharoplasty procedure.
You will also need to be prepared to list out all medications and supplements you are taking so that Dr. Roland can ensure any pain medications or anesthetics used will not conflict with your current regimen of medications.
Dr. Roland will want to take some “before” photographs of the area(s) to be treated and will likely make some notes on those images about your treatment goals. This will help him to plan out your specific blepharoplasty surgery in advance.
Before you leave your consultation, you can ask any questions that you have and find out about any financing options if this is desired. You will also be given the option to schedule your blepharoplasty procedure that same day if you are ready.
Blepharoplasty Frequently Asked Questions
As a patient, you probably have many questions about having eyelid surgery. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that can give you more general information about what it is like to have a blepharoplasty procedure. Patients that undergo eyelid surgery may also wish other plastic surgery treatments. Facelift and rhinoplasty are other surgical procedures that can be combined.
What Is A Blepharoplasty Procedure Like?
Because the procedure will be done around your eye area, you will need to arrange for a ride to and from Dr. Roland’s office. Depending on your specific goals for your blepharoplasty surgery, you can expect the surgery itself to take 45 minutes or less.
You should follow any specific preparatory instructions Dr. Roland gives you to the letter. The day of your procedure, you will be given a local anesthetic as well as sedation intravenously (via IV). During your surgery, any required incisions will be made in the least noticeable areas, such as along the existing eyelid creases.
Once the work on the eye area has been completed, Dr. Roland will close the incisions with very fine sutures. Following your surgery, you will return home with a full set of instructions as well as prescriptions to minimize any discomfort you may feel. Dr. Roland may also advise the use of cool packs and eye drops to return moisture to your eyes and lessen any post-surgical irritation. You can also call the office at any time if you have questions or concerns.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Blepharoplasty?
Generally speaking, the most common side effects reported by patients include mild swelling, bruising and redness at or near the incision sites. Any discomfort typically subsides within three to five days, at which time you will be able to resume most of your daily activities, although you should avoid any strenuous or high impact activities until Dr. Roland states otherwise.
You may continue to have some temporary side effects for the first two to four weeks following your surgery as your incisions heal fully. You won’t be able to perceive the full effects of your surgery until around two months post-surgery.
You should not wear contact lenses until Dr. Roland states otherwise. This is because your eyes may be more sensitive and dry following your surgery. So if you don’t have prescription glasses, you should plan to get these before you have your surgery done.
Will Blepharoplasty Leave Scars?
There can be some minimal scarring following blepharoplasty surgery depending on the placement of the incisions and your own skin history. For this reason especially, your choice of plastic surgeon for a blepharoplasty can be particularly critical because this type of surgery requires a very light touch and precision to minimize any chances of scarring.
Are There Any Risks from Having Blepharoplasty?
As with any procedure that requires incisions, there is always a risk of infection. As well, it is rare but possible to have an allergic reaction to the anesthetic, which is why it is so critical to provide a full medications list and medical history in advance of your procedure.
Very rarely, healing may be uneven, which can require further surgery to correct. More commonly, any blurred vision, double vision, or swelling that impairs full eye closure should subside in the first few weeks following your procedure.
When Will I Be Able to Go Back to Work After Blepharoplasty?
In most cases, patients are able to return to work within one week after having a blepharoplasty procedure. However, if your type of work involves very intensive eye use or strenuous physical activity or lifting, you may need to prepare to wait longer before returning to full days at work.
You should talk with Dr. Roland about the type of work you do to get the most accurate estimate of when you will be able to return to work. Here, it can sometimes help to schedule your blepharoplasty surgery at the end of the week to reduce time away from work.
When Will I Be Able to Resume My Regular Daily Schedule?
So long as you do not plan to exercise intensely, lift heavy things or engage in activities that require intensive eye use, you should be able to return to your normal daily routine within five days following your blepharoplasty procedure.