Bright, wide eyes radiate your inner joy and make you look younger than your years. But as you age, your upper eyelids droop and sag, making you look tired or angry and interfering with your vision.
You’re in luck, though. At Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery, oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Dustin Heringer and the rest of our team have the knowledge and skills to correct the problem. The procedure is called blepharoplasty, and whether you want to have your eyelids raised for cosmetic or medical reasons, it can give you a fresher, brighter look at the world.
Ptosis, aka drooping lids
Medically known as ptosis, drooping eyelids are often a result of aging. Collagen and elastin are two structural proteins that give your skin both strength and resilience; however, their production starts to decrease around age 25.
With the proteins gone, your skin, especially the delicate skin around your eyes, “falls” into the gaps, and you develop fine lines and wrinkles on your face. Those wrinkles, together with the loss of fat and the downward pull of gravity, cause the skin on both eyelids to droop. If the droop is severe enough, your upper eyelid skin can hang over the eyelashes, obstructing your vision.
The skin of the lids partly protects your eyes, but the eyes also contain fat that cushions your eyeball from the bones in your skull. With age, the membrane holding the fat in place weakens, so the fat slides forward into the lids, causing them to puff up and “bag.”
While many people undergo blepharoplasty for cosmetic reasons, the procedure can be performed for medical reasons if your upper eyelids droop so much your vision is impaired. Dr. Heringer uses a visual field test to determine if you have deficits in your peripheral vision due to ptosis. If there are, a medical blepharoplasty can help you see better.
The blepharoplasty procedure
If you’re having a cosmetic blepharoplasty, you can have it done on either the upper or lower lids or both. If it’s both, Dr. Heringer starts with the upper lid. All medical blepharoplasties are performed on the upper eyelid only.
The doctor gives you a local anesthetic and some sedation so you’re comfortable. He starts by making a small cut in the eyelid crease so the scar won’t be visible. Next, he removes excess muscle, skin, and fat. Finally, he closes the incision, and you’re good to go. Don’t worry; he’ll give you detailed aftercare instructions.
If he’s performing a lower lid blepharoplasty, Dr. Heringer makes the incision along the lower lash line and removes the fat and some skin from your undereye bags. He also tightens the underlying muscles and may reposition some of the remaining fatty tissue for aesthetic purposes.
Who is a good candidate for blepharoplasty?
If your blepharoplasty is for medical reasons, the primary criterion is that your drooping eyelids obstruct your vision. You’re a good candidate for a cosmetic blepharoplasty if the drooping eyelids or eye bags make you feel embarrassed about your appearance.
Other criteria include:
- Sagging upper and/or lower eyelid skin
- Perpetual bags under the eyes
- Droopy eyelids
For both medical and cosmetic cases, you should have no major eye or skin conditions, have realistic expectations for the outcome (it won’t revolutionize your love life), be a nonsmoker, and don’t have any underlying medical condition that would interfere with normal healing.
If your eyelids are disturbing how you view the world, a blepharoplasty may be just what you need, and Arizona Ocular & Facial Plastic Surgery can help. To learn more or schedule a consultation with Dr. Heringer, call us at either of our locations or book online today.