Cosmetic eye surgery enhances the appearance of the upper eyelids and lower eyelids. Every year, hundreds of thousands of men and women choose to have cosmetic surgery performed to reduce signs of aging around the eyes. Since the eyes communicate a lot about a person and are one of the first features people notice when meeting someone, droopy or swollen eyes indicate that you are not reflecting your vivacious inner self.
Droopy eyelids impair your vision and cause you to look sleepy, and puffy bags under your eyes make you look worn and tired. Both make you look older than how you really want to look. While this surgery cannot erase the aging process around the eyes, blepharoplasty, it will illuminate your face.
Upper eyelid surgery is commonly referred to as an “eye lift.” This surgery is performed to remove the extra skin, fat, and loose muscle that weighs down the upper eyelids, causing them to droop. While some of the fat will be redistributed to allow the eyelids to retain their natural look, the majority of the excess fat and skin is removed. The remaining skin is then tightened to give the eyes a more alert appearance. Very fine sutures are used to eliminate the visibility of scarring.
While special creams and serums help reduce the look of puffy, tired eyes, a lower eyelid procedure is the best remedy to alleviate persistent under-eye bags. By making a small incision below the lower lashes or inside the lower eyelid, the excess fat, skin, and water that has accumulated under the eyes through the years are removed, and the skin is tightened. The goal of lower blepharoplasty is to restore the smoothness, tone, and tautness of your eyes, giving them a youthful, healthy appearance.
Lower Blepharoplasty (Transconjunctival Incision)
When the lower eyelid skin is already smooth tight, and the major problem is a bulging fat pad causing bags under the eye, a transconjunctival approach to lower blepharoplasty is preferred. The moist pink lining of the eyelids is called the conjunctiva. A Transconjunctival Incision is made along the inside of the lower eyelid. This provides completely hidden access to the fat pads of the lower eyelid, without any external scar.
Blepharoplasty: The Recovery Process
This type of procedure usually lasts 1 hour but can vary based on complications and number of procedures being done in conjunction with the blepharoplasty.
Recovery from eyelid surgery is complete within seven to ten days. A small amount of lumpiness is usual at the corners of the eyes. Minimal blurry vision rapidly resolves. Sunglasses allow you to go out in public immediately after surgery, and makeup can be worn within five days. Normal activity and exercise can resume three weeks after surgery.
Reasons to Undergo Eyelid Surgery
As we age, everything begins to sag. The eyes are particularly vulnerable to signs of aging because they develop extra skin and fat. Trimming this “extra” skin from your upper and lower eyelids not only restores your eyes’ youthful contour but also keeps your vision from being obstructed. How we look is directly linked to our self-esteem, and in many cases, we limit our potential because we are insecure about how we look. If you are self-conscious about your eyes because of any of the following conditions, you are an excellent candidate for cosmetic surgery:
Extra skin concealing the natural fold of the upper eyelids
Impaired vision from sagging skin hanging from the upper eyelids
Puffy upper eyelids
Bags and dark circles under the eyes
Fine wrinkles under the lower eyelids
Drooping lower eyelids that show the white below the iris
What to Expect During Surgery
Blepharoplasty patients should consult with their surgeon for both pre and post operation requirements. In some cases, your doctor may not want you to eat or drink prior to the operation. If a general anesthetic is used, an overnight hospital stay may be necessary.
Surgery can be done separately on either the upper or lower eyelids, at the same time on both the upper and lower eyelids, or with a face, neck, eyebrow, or forehead lift. If both the upper and lower lids are being done, the surgery can take up to two hours.
During an upper eyelid procedure, incisions are made in the crease of the upper eyelid to remove the excess fat. During a lower eyelid procedure, an incision is made on the inside of the eyelid beneath the lashes or behind the lower eyelid. The lower eyelid fat is then removed through the incision. The incisions are unnoticeable after they have healed because fine sutures are used to stitch the skin. Scarring is not visible because of where the incisions are made.
A cosmetic eyelid procedure is performed similarly to dental surgery in that you will be injected with an anesthetic or given an oral or intravenous sedative to numb the surgical area. The anesthetic or sedative will not put you to sleep, but it will help you relax and eliminate any feeling of pain, you may feel some pressure sensation.
The Recovery Process
After surgery, your doctor may apply bandages in the eye area to absorb any residual bleeding and an ointment to keep your eyes lubricated. You will feel drowsy from the anesthesia, and your vision will be blurry. It is important that you have someone drive you home after surgery and stay with you a few days to provide you some assistance while your eyelids heal. Expect some bruising and swelling after surgery as this is the body’s natural way of healing itself.
A mild pain medication will be prescribed to ease the tenderness and discomfort. After the blurry vision and lumpiness around the corners of the eyes clear up, you may wear sunglasses or apply make-up to go out in public. If it is utterly necessary to go out in public after you get home from surgery, only put on a pair of sunglasses.
Total recovery normally takes between seven to ten days; however, in that people heal at different rates, allow two weeks for all bruising and swelling to go away. Additionally, avoid activities that require too much physical exertion for at least one week after surgery. Activities such as reading, watching television, and working on the computer are acceptable after a day or two.
However, if you wear contact lenses, avoid wearing them for at least two weeks. If you exercise, wait at least two to three weeks before resuming your workout regimen. If you work, plan to be out of work for at least two weeks.
Pre & Post-op Instructions
Following the before and after surgery instructions will assist you in achieving the best post-surgery results. Familiarize yourself with the list of instructions; post them in a visible place in your house, and take them with you to the hospital. Also, give a copy of the instructions to the person helping you after surgery.
Instructions will include:
Keeping your head elevated
Using a cold compress to reduce swelling and bruising
Keeping your eyes clean
Risks of Eyelid Surgery
Dr. Boukris takes the utmost care to minimize risk, but all surgery has potential complications. These may include:
Mild blurred vision
Patients should also be aware of the risks and the signs of serious complications such as infection, hematoma, or vision loss, which although rare are possible.