Droopy, puffy eyelids are sometimes a medical problem, but they’re more likely to be an eyesore and impinge on your self-confidence.
Our oculofacial plastic and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Dustin Heringer, at Arizona Ocular & Facial Plastic Surgery understand your concern, and he has a solution — blepharoplasty, commonly known as eyelid surgery. With this outpatient procedure, he can make you look years younger, with eyes that appear bright and alert.
Here’s what you need to know about your drooping lids and the procedure that can change the way you see the world.
As skin ages, it gradually decreases its production of collagen and elastin, proteins that give it strength and flexibility. This loss, along with the constant pull of gravity, allows the skin to droop on both the upper and lower eyelids.
The excess skin on the lower eyelid leads to wrinkles and bulges. On the upper eyelids, the skin can hang over the eyelashes, making the eyes appear tired, or worse, obstructing your vision.
In addition, you have fat that cushions your eyeball from the skull bones. The thin membrane that holds this fat in place also weakens with age, letting the fat move forward under the lower lids and causing them to puff up.
In 2018, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 206,000 people opted to have blepharoplasty to correct the effects of aging, making it one of the top five cosmetic surgical procedures.
Blepharoplasty can involve either the upper or lower lids, or both. If you’re having both done, Dr. Heringer addresses the upper eyelids first. After giving you a local anesthetic, as well as some sedation to keep you comfortable, he makes a small cut in the crease of the eyelid, where the scar won’t be seen, then removes excess skin, muscle, and fat. He may also move some of the tissues to other points around the eye before closing the incision.
For lower lid blepharoplasty, Dr. Heringer makes the incision along the lower lash line — again, to hide the scar — removing the fat contributing to your under-eye bags, as well as a small amount of skin. He then tightens the underlying muscles that have weakened with age, and may also reposition the fatty tissue to enhance your eye’s youthful appearance.
Depending on your aesthetic goals, he might recommend performing either fat grafting or laser skin resurfacing to enhance your facial appearance following the blepharoplasty procedure.
Recovery from blepharoplasty is much shorter than for many other surgical procedures. You’ll need to rest for a few days immediately following the surgery, during which time you may experience some swelling and pain. You can use ice packs for the swelling and over-the-counter pain relievers to make yourself more comfortable. These aftereffects can last up to a week or two.
You may also experience blurry vision and sensitivity to light as short-term side effects. If they haven’t gone away after a day or so, let us know.
You’ll be sent home with gauze covering to protect the area, but you don’t need to cover your eyes during the entire recovery phase. Gently wash the area to keep it clean and avoid wearing contact lenses. You’ll come in for a follow-up appointment so Dr. Heringer can remove the stitches and make sure you’re healing well.
Most blepharoplasties are cosmetic procedures, but for some people, they’re medically necessary. If drooping eyelids interfere with your vision, you may need the lids lifted to improve your sight. Your eye doctor can perform a “visual field test” to determine if your lids are hindering your ability to see.
You’re a good candidate for cosmetic blepharoplasty if you have drooping lids or bags under your eyes and are bothered by your appearance. You should be a nonsmoker and have no serious skin issues, eye conditions, or chronic illnesses that could affect your recovery.
You should have realistic expectations for the surgery’s outcome as well. Discuss your aesthetic goals with Dr. Heringer at your consultation to ensure they’re realistic.
If you’re bothered by droopy eyelids and an expression that makes your face look perpetually tired, blepharoplasty may be the right procedure for you. To learn more, call one of our offices in Peoria or Scottsdale, Arizona, or book your consultation online today.