Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin from the upper eyelids and fatty deposits from the lower eyelids. It eliminates bags under the eyes, reduces puffiness and corrects droopiness of the upper eyelids.

The best candidates for eyelid surgery are individuals in good health who have realistic expectations about the outcome.

With age, the upper eyelids may become so droopy that a person’s vision may be affected.  A visual field test is performed to see if your visual impairment is caused by the drop of the eyelids or the sagging of the forehead. In these situations, insurance may cover the cost of the surgery.

A typical eyelid surgery may be performed on just the upper eyelids or just the lower eyelids depending on your needs. Surgery can also be performed on both eyelids at the same time. Depending on what is being performed, the surgery may take two to four hours. You’ll receive either general anesthesia, oral or intravenous sedation with local anesthetic.

The Surgery Process

Upper eyelid surgery is usually performed first; incisions are made along the natural folds of the eyelids and the skin is separated so that excess tissue/skin and fat are removed. The underlying muscle and outer skin are closed with sutures. Depending on the patient, a temporal or direct brow lift may need to be performed with an upper eyelid surgery in order to achieve the best outcome for the patient.

For the lower eyelids, an incision is usually made just below the lower lashes and excess fatty deposits and excess skin are removed. In some cases, the incision is made on the underside of the lower eyelid. For some patients, an additional procedure called canthopexy, surgical tightening of the muscles of the outer corners of the eye, needs to be performed. Another additional procedure for lower eyelids that may benefit the patient is a fat transfer. If the patient has a deep tear trough the fat that is being removed, the fat can be repositioned or transferred to the tear. This helps soften the area and provide a smoother lower eyelid.

While eyelid surgery is a common procedure that thousands of people undergo every year without problems, there are always some risk involved with surgery. Possible complications include:

  • Infection
  • Hematoma
  • Scarring
  • Dryness or irritation in the eyes
  • Allergic reactions
  • Inability to completely close the eyes
  • Chemosis
  • Loss of vision

You’ll likely experience some swelling or bruising and may experience blurry vision and a sensitivity to light immediately following the procedure.

Results are usually long lasting, although continued aging can cause your forehead skin to sag, resulting in the appearance of droopy eyelids again over time. Some patients choose additional surgery on the upper eyelids or forehead after a few years. Repeat surgery on the lower eyelids is rarely necessary.