Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) is for correcting sagging or drooping eyelids. The eyelid skin is much thinner than other parts of the face and often one of the first facial areas to exhibit signs of aging. Eyelids that sag or droop can affect peripheral vision, making daily activities such as driving more difficult. Blepharoplasty may become necessary when various factors, which include aging, sun damage, smoking, and obesity, cause the muscles and tissue that support the eyelids to weaken. Blepharoplasty removes excess fat and skin. Eyelid surgery eliminates the drooping of skin into the visual field, greatly improving peripheral vision. It is also performed for strictly cosmetic reasons.
The best candidates for blepharoplasty are those who are in good overall health, do not smoke, do not have any serious eye conditions, and have healthy facial tissue and muscle. People with eye disease, including glaucoma or retinal detachment, thyroid disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or high blood pressure are not good candidates for eyelid surgery.
We typically perform eyelid surgery as an outpatient procedure requiring local anesthesia and sedation. We may use general anesthesia for anxious patients. Patients can choose this procedure for their upper or lower eyelids or both. The procedure can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on whether the upper and lower eyelids are done.
After blepharoplasty, patients should apply lubricating drops/ointment and cold compresses to aid healing and minimize side effects. Most patients return to work within a few days to a week, but they should avoid exercise and strenuous activities for at least two weeks. Stitches are usually removed after three or four days. Most swelling and other side effects typically subside within two weeks. Contact lenses and eye makeup cannot be worn for two weeks after eyelid surgery. We advise patients to wear dark sunglasses outside or in bright light for two weeks to protect their eyes from the sun and wind.