Blepharoplasty

Submitted by Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center on October 27, 2016

Blepharoplasty refers to a surgical procedure that repairs droopy eyelids involving the removal of excess skin, fat, and muscle.

As you grow older, your eyelids inevitably start to stretch and the key muscles that support them begin to weaken over time as well. Eventually, excess fat may start to gather below and above the eyelids, which causes the eyebrows to sag as well as bags under the eyes and droopy upper eyelids.

Besides appearing older than you really are, the seriously sagging skin surrounding the eyes can decrease your peripheral vision, especially the outer and upper parts of your vision field. The procedure works to eliminate or greatly reduce these particular vision issues, while making your eyes appear more alert and younger.

Why People Choose to Get the Procedure

Many people elect to have the procedure due to their sagging or droopy eyelids that pull down their lower lids or keep their eyes from completely opening. By eliminating the excess tissue from the upper lids, the lower lids, or even both can greatly enhance your vision and make your eyes look much younger.

Consider getting the procedure if you have any of the following:

  • Droopy or baggy upper eyelids
  • Droopy lower eyelids that reveal the white area below the actual colored area of the eye, known as the iris
  • Bags beneath your eyes
  • Excess skin on your upper eyelids that impede your peripheral vision
  • Excess skin on your lower eyelids

It’s common for people to combine blepharoplasty with another procedure while they’re under the knife, such as skin resurfacing, a facelift, or a brow lift.

Potential risks of surgical eyelid treatment include the following:

  • Dry and irritated eyes
  • Infection or bleeding
  • Noticeable scarring
  • Need for more surgery
  • Risks related to surgery overall, including cardiac and pulmonary complications, blood clots, anesthesia reactions
  • Temporary blurry vision
  • Complete loss of eyesight (very rare)
  • Difficulty closing your eyelids and other relative issues
  • Skin discoloration
  • Injury to muscles in the eye

What You Should Expect

The procedure itself is typically performed on an outpatient basis. Expect your eye surgeon to inject your eyelids with a numbing medication and administer drugs intravenously in order to help you comfortably relax. This will likely make you groggy and tired.

The Blepharoplasty Procedure

The surgeon will generally perform surgery on the upper eyelids first. He will cut along the edge of the lid and proceed to remove excess skin, fat, and muscle and then close the incision. Regarding the lower lid, the surgeon cuts just beneath the lashes or inside your lower eyelid and starts to remove or sometimes redistribute the extra fat, sagging skin, or muscle.

The entire process generally takes about two hours or less, depending on the area and how much tissue needs to be removed.

What to Expect After the Procedure

Once the procedure is finished, you’ll spend a bit time in the recovery room where you’ll be closely monitored for any complications or issues. Later, you’ll return home that day so you can comfortably recover.

Following surgery you may experience any of the following:

  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Numb, puffy eyelids
  • Double vision
  • Bruising and swelling (may look like ‘black eyes’)
  • Minimal pain and discomfort
  • Redness where the incisions were made

Immediately contact your doctor if you’re experiencing chest pain, new severe eye pain, shortness of breath, bleeding, or an abnormal heart rate.