Blepharoplasty is an eye procedure that treats droopy eyelids. The operation may involve the removal of excess skin, fats, and muscles on the upper and lower eyelids. It helps to improve vision that is somewhat obstructed by sagging skin surrounding the eye.
Eyelid sagging can result from weakened muscles brought about by advancement in age, family history, smoking, and severe swelling of the eyelids. Besides vision enhancement, eyelid surgery is also done for aesthetic purposes.
It is mostly considered among patients incapable of completely opening the eye due to sagging eyelids. It is ideal for suitably healthy individuals, with most patients being 35 years and older. It can, however, be performed earlier on individuals with baggy eyelids attributed to family history.
Also Known As
- Eyelid surgery
- Eye lift
Preparation & Expectation Before Surgery
Before an eyelid surgery, the patient will need to schedule an appointment with the eye specialist to identify the most appropriate surgical procedure. At the appointment, the specialist will be able to deduce important information that will enable a successful outcome. Among the information required from the patient are instances of previous operations, ongoing medications, presence of other health concerns, and the motivation for surgery.
The ophthalmologist may conduct some eye tests that include; a physical exam to generally observe the eye and take eyelid measurements, vision tests inclusive of the side vision, and photos of the eye at different angles to aid in the surgery process.
The patient will be required to avoid any medication associated with mounting hemorrhages such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Motrin. Before surgery, the length of time one needs to stop taking the prohibited medication depends on the doctor's precaution. One is also required to avoid smoking weeks beforehand, as it slows down the healing process.
The result of the surgery may be a swollen eyelid therefore it would be necessary to make proper travel arrangements to and from the hospital. A close relative or friend would come in handy to assist during the recovery process as well.
Types, Purpose & Procedure
The purpose is to improve vision while giving the eye a young and alert look.
The operation takes approximately two hours for both eyelids. The ophthalmologist administers a numbing injection into the eyelids before surgery. An incision is made on the upper eyelid to extract fat, muscles, and excess skin. The cut is then closed up in small stitches.
The lower eyelid employs two approaches. One method involves making an incision in the area beneath the eyelashes on the outside. The other method, also known as transconjunctival technique, entails removing excess skin from a cut made inside the lower lid. The transconjunctival technique is a suitable approach since incisions made remain invisible.
For instances where the eyelid sags close to the pupil, a ptosis procedure is done to provide extra support to the eyebrow muscle.
Immediately after the surgery, the patient is left to recover for sometime before being discharged to recover at home fully.
Risks, Side Effects & Complications
Possible risks are:
- Bruising and bleeding
- Changes in eyelid color
- Eye infection
- Reaction to the numbing agent
- Blood clot (in rare cases)
The patient may experience the following side effects after surgery:
- Teary eyes
- Unclear and double vision
- Soreness and irritation
- Puffiness and numb feeling around the eyelids
- Sensitivity to light
- Incapacity to close the eyes
Complications associated with eye surgery may include;
- Blindness (in rare cases)
- Eye muscle damage
After Care, Recovery & Results
The ophthalmologist may recommend the implementation of the following home care routines:
- Use prescribed medication
- Gently clean the eyelids
- Avoid strenuous activities for a week
- Avoid habits such as smoking and eye rubbing
- Use ice packs on the operated site to ease swelling
- Avoid the use of contact lenses for two weeks after surgery
- Wear sunglasses to protect the eyelid skin from the sun and wind
- Avoid medication that may increase hemorrhaging
- A visit to the doctor after a few days for evaluation and to have stitches removed, if necessary
One should seek immediate medical attention if they experience the following:
- Pain around the chest area
- Short breaths
- Abnormal heart rate
- Severe developing eye pain
- Sight problems
The stitched incisions might take about a week to fade, whereas swelling subsides after 10 to 14 days. It is expected for a person to resume normal activities in two weeks.
The success of blepharoplasty is evident for an extended period of years, and it is only in rare cases where lower eyelid surgeries are redone. However, the natural aging process tends to be accompanied by slack and droopy eyelids and they might therefore appear again with time. For young people who experience reappearance of slack eyelids, a forehead lift might be recommended.