Eyes are a prominent facial feature. It is the surrounding skin, rather than the eyes themselves, that conveys emotion. The tissue, muscle, fat, hair and lashes all contribute to the wide array of expressions. Age, sun exposure, and hereditary factors all contribute to wrinkles, deep lines, and puffiness around the eyes.
The aging process can cause unwanted changes in expression, causing us to look permanently fatigued and older than we really are. These changes in appearance can cause emotional distress and sometimes even visual impairment. An eyelid lift, or blepharoplasty, is designed to improve the appearance of the eyes. It may involve the upper lids, the lower lids, or both.
Eyelid surgery may be performed under a general anesthetic or a local anesthetic, with sedation. The type of anesthesia chosen is based on patient preference, as well as the complexity of the procedure to be performed.
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at a surgical center, many times with an overnight stay. It is important to arrange for care after the surgery. Someone must drive you home and be available to care for you for the first 24 hours or more.
NEW AND TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES
An incision is traditionally made in the crease of the upper lid toward the temples. Once healed, it is normally not noticeable when the eye is open. On the lower lid, the incision is traditionally made along the lash line, toward the temples, and is hidden by lashes when healed.
THE TRANSCONJUNCTIVAL APPROACH
This is a newer technique for lid blepharoplasty, involving an incision inside the lower lid. Fat can be removed through this incision and may allow the skin to redrape and tighten.
Laser resurfacing of the eyelids is a nonsurgical alternative that may delay the need for a surgical blepharoplasty. It will help improve the elasticity of skin around the eyes but will not affect the fat around the eyes and may even accentuate it. It can also be performed along with a blepharoplasty. Please ask your doctor if you have any questions about which procedure is right for you.
RECOVERY: WHAT TO EXPECT
The area surrounding the eyes will remain swollen in the days following the surgery. It should begin to subside after the first few days. Some vision blurring is normal.
The stitches will be removed in 2-5 days. Swelling and bruising will decrease in 7-14 days, but you can begin wearing makeup to help conceal these concerns. You may expect to resume nonstrenous normal activity within a week to 10 days.
Deeper wrinkles around the outer eye extended onto the temple are not greatly affected by the eyelid lift. These areas may be treated with laser resurfacing.