Bright, wide eyes can light up your face, making you appear alert, engaged, and even younger than your years. But if your eyelids start drooping and cover your lashes, you send out a message of fatigue, standoffishness, or even anger, which is probably not how you want to appear.
Fortunately, at Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery, oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Dustin Heringer and the rest of our team have the skills and the technique to correct the problem. The procedure is called blepharoplasty, and no matter if you want to have your eyelids raised for cosmetic or medical reasons, we can give you a fresher, brighter look. Here’s how.
Ptosis, aka drooping lids
Drooping eyelids are medically known as ptosis and are often a consequence of aging. Collagen and elastin are two fibrous proteins that give your skin strength and resilience, but their production begins to decrease around age 25. Production can also be affected by environmental factors like smoking and the sun’s ultraviolet rays, both of which damage the proteins.
As protein production diminishes, fine lines and wrinkles develop on your face. Those wrinkles, together with the downward pull of gravity, cause the skin on the upper and lower eyelids to droop. If the droop is severe enough, your upper eyelid skin may hang over the eyelashes, giving you a perpetual squint or, even worse, obstructing your vision.
Sagging skin can also affect the lower eyelids, causing them to wrinkle and bulge, creating bags that look like dark circles.
The skin of the lids partly protects your eyes, but you also have fat that cushions your eyeball from the bones in your skull. The fat slides forward into the lids, causing them to puff up. Unfortunately, the membrane that keeps the fat in place also weakens with age.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 200,000 people in 2018 had a blepharoplasty procedure to correct the effects of aging on their eyelids. That makes it one of the top five cosmetic surgical procedures.
Blepharoplasties, though, can also be performed for medical reasons, but only on the upper lid. If your drooping eyelids interfere with your vision, you may need to get the lids lifted to improve your sight. Dr. Heringer uses a visual field test to determine if you have deficits in your peripheral vision. If there are, a medical blepharoplasty can help you see better.
The blepharoplasty procedure
If you’re having a cosmetic blepharoplasty, you can choose to have it done on either the upper or lower lids or both. If it’s both, Dr. Heringer starts with the upper lid.
The doctor gives you a local anesthetic and some sedation to keep you comfortable. Once you’re ready, he makes a small cut in the eyelid crease so the scar won’t be visible. Then he removes excess muscle, skin, and fat. He may also decide to move some tissues to other points around the eye to create a more balanced look.
For a lower lid blepharoplasty, Dr. Heringer makes the incision along the lower lash line, then he removes the fat from your undereye bags, as well as a small amount of skin. He also tightens the underlying muscles, which have weakened, 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 main criterion is that you have diminished vision because of the droop. You’re a good candidate for all cosmetic cases if the drooping eyelids or eye bags make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about your appearance.
Other criteria include:
- Sagging upper and/or lower eyelid skin
- Perpetual bags under the eyes
- Droopy eyelids
- No major eye or skin conditions
- Realistic expectations for the outcome
It’s also important that you don’t have any underlying medical condition that would interfere with normal healing.
If your eyelids are drooping and you’re not happy with their appearance, whether your vision is affected or not, a blepharoplasty may be just the thing for you. To learn more or schedule a consultation with Dr. Heringer, call us at any of our locations or book online with us today.