Your eyes are often the first facial feature to be noticed when someone meets you for the first time. Making eye contact symbolizes confidence and can give others a lasting first impression. This is invaluable in personal and professional scenarios throughout your life. However, these positive first impressions can be difficult if you don’t feel confident about your appearance.
Many people have experienced a sleepless night and have seen it reflected back at them in the mirror the next morning. Excessive bags underneath the eyes, drooping eyelids, heaviness, redness, or other discoloration on or around the eyelids are indicators of skin irritation, lack of sleep, or excessive stress.
When the eyelids have persistent discoloration, drooping, or heaviness, this may be due to time, hereditary features, or lifestyle habits including excessive sun exposure, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
Additionally, as we age, the sensitive skin around the eyes may naturally wrinkle. Eyelids become heavy, droopy, or may distribute fat accumulation unevenly, causing eye features to change. Genetics may play a role in speeding up this problem.
Deposits on the upper eyelid may cause the lid skin to sag. The tissue around the eye may also show signs of damage and changes in color, causing eyes to look more pronounced. In severe cases, vision may become impaired from these facial skin changes. Excessive sagging and wrinkling around the eyes may limit sight and cause irritation.
Fortunately, we now have techniques and other surgical advancements that can help the sensitive skin on the upper eyelids for those suffering from such problems. Eyelid surgery, also called blepharoplasty, works to safely fix any genetic defects or skin changes caused by aging or environmental factors around the eyes.
Eyelid surgery has gained popularity in recent years by becoming known as a “mini-face lift.” Less invasive than a face lift, the eye lift surgery is becoming a common procedure for men and women thanks to its positive results and widespread word-of-mouth praise.
As a general rule, insurance does not cover eyelid surgery. However, if your eyelids are encroaching upon your field of vision, the procedure may be covered as “medically necessary” surgery.
Before eyelid surgery, your doctor will evaluate the condition and health of your eyes. Specifics regarding your vision, tear production, use of contact lenses, use of medications, and personal expectations will be discussed. This information, along with other factors such as age, skin type, and ethnic background, will allow both you and your surgeon to come to a mutual decision. Together, a plan will be discussed regarding the surgical technique, amount of surgery, and type of anesthesia to be used.
Complications can occur with any surgery. With blepharoplasty, serious complications are rare, and most that do occur can usually be corrected. Be sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding risks and complications before giving your consent for eyelid surgery.
You will be given conscious anesthesia during the procedure. Depending on the amount of tissue to be removed, you could be in the operating suite for several hours.
When performed on the upper eyelids, your doctor will remove the excess skin, muscle, and fatty tissue that tend to accumulate in the inside corner of the eye, next to the nose. The incisions are made along the natural folds in the skin so that as they heal, they become difficult, if not impossible, to see with the passage of time.
When performed on the lower eyelids, providing there is not too much excess skin, your doctor will make the incision inside or behind the eyelid. This technique is called a transconjunctival-blepharoplasty which allows the removal of fatty deposits while avoiding the need for an external incision. If there is excessive skin or muscle folds below the eye, an incision may also be made just below the base of the eyelashes. As this incision heals, the fine scar should also become barely visible.
After eyelid surgery, you will need to have someone drive you home. Bruising and swelling is common after the surgery and is usually noticeable for a week to a month after the surgery, but longer in some cases. Cold compresses as well as head elevation will help reduce swelling and bruising and minimize discomfort. Eye ointments and/or eye drops may be given to keep the eye moist and clean. Postoperative discomfort is usually relatively mild, although this will vary from patient to patient. Most patients require little, if any, pain medication.
Your eyes may feel sticky, dry, and itchy for a week or so after eye lid surgery. You will need to take special care in cleaning around the eyes for the first week or two. Your surgeon will give you a list of activities and environments to avoid during that time. Stitches are usually removed within five to ten days after surgery. Self-absorbing stitches will dissolve on their own. Make-up can usually be applied to camouflage bruising after the stitches are removed and a good pair of sunglasses may help you feel better when in public for a while. It is important to follow all of your postoperative instructions to speed healing and reduce the risks of incurring complications.
Most patients experience a marked improvement in the appearance of their eyes after blepharoplasty. In addition to improving some patients’ vision, most patients report feeling more alert and energetic. Although the positive effects of having eye lid surgery on your appearance will be immediate, your results will not be considered final for up to a year as the healing process continues.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, or need to schedule an eye exam, contact our World-Class Eye Care™ office today!