Have you ever had a friend who suddenly looked refreshed, well rested, and more youthful, but you couldn’t pinpoint exactly why? Well, your friend might have had blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery. In short, it’s a quick, outpatient surgery that removes excess skin from the upper or lower eyelids, resulting in a more open, bright-eyed look. It can even improve your peripheral vision and help with migraines. As the fourth most popular cosmetic surgery in the United States, it’s a relatively easy, painless and effective undertaking. But as with any medical procedure, you need to learn what to expect and whether it’s right for you before going forward.
What are the benefits of blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty firms up the skin that naturally sags around our eyes as we age. The procedure helps you look more refreshed, energetic and youthful. If the folds of skin have impaired your peripheral vision, you’ll see better after surgery. And for some migraine sufferers, it can relieve nerve pressure around the eyes and alleviate pain.
Who’s a good candidate for blepharoplasty?
Generally, healthy people who are non-smokers make good candidates for eyelid surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 86% of blepharoplasty patients are women, and 91% are over 40, but men and younger women can benefit as well. If you have a life-threatening illness, serious eye condition or any condition that would impair healing, consult your physician about whether you’re healthy enough for the surgery.
Also, you’ll be most happy with blepharoplasty if you openly discuss your expectations up front. Your doctor can help you understand whether eyelid surgery will give you the results you’re ultimately looking for or whether you should consider other options as well. Many patients combine blepharoplasty with laser surfacing, filler injections or forehead lifts.
What can you expect during surgery?
For the upper lids, the surgeon will make an incision along the crease of the lid and remove excess skin, muscle or fat. The tiny stitches will hide in the crease of your lid and are almost impossible to detect.
For the lower lids, the incision will be next to your lash line. The surgeon again removes excess skin and fat or, if necessary, redistributes fat for an overall smoother look.
The surgery takes just a couple hours, so you can be in and out of the surgi-center in a day. In most cases, it can be done with a local anesthetic and an oral sedative. There’s little pain for most patients, but you’ll have a prescription for pain medications if you need them and guidelines for staying comfortable as you recover.
What can you expect after the surgery?
Afterwards, your eyes will most likely swell and show bruising, like a black eye. You’ll rest, keep your head elevated, and keep ice on the surgical site for the first couple of days until the swelling subsides. The bruising should fade after about a week, and the stitches will come out after five to seven days. After two weeks, you can be back to all your normal activities.
While you’re healing, you may experience watery eyes, light sensitivity, or double vision. You should also avoid rubbing your eyes, hard exercise, smoking or drinking alcohol until you’re completely healed. The tiny scars will fade even more over time.
Is blepharoplasty expensive?
The cost of eyelid surgery can vary widely depending on the area of the country you live in, the experience of your surgeon, and any additional costs, such as hospital fees, prescriptions, and medical tests. Your doctor will walk through all the costs with you.
Will my insurance cover it?
Most insurance will not cover elective cosmetic surgery. However, if you have a medical reason for the surgery, such as migraines, eye folds that impair vision, or skin that droops over the lashes, your insurance may cover it.