Eyelid surgery is known as “upper” or “lower blepharoplasty”. This is one of the most popular cosmetic operations as the skin around the eyes is thinner than on the rest of the face and is usually the first to show signs of ageing. On the upper-eyelid the skin can stetch which can lead to a hooded effect and even – in extreme cases – loss of peripheral vision.
The other problem is bags under the eyes, which are created by an accumulation of fatty tissue underneath, together with a loss of elasticiy in the skin. Some people are affected by both bags and sagging upper eyelids, others by just one or the other. Sometimes bags under the eyes are hereditary rather than a sign of aging, in which case a corrective operation can be performed on someone in their twenties.
In the case of the upper lid the excess skin can be trimmed and removed and stitched back in place in what is a reasonably straightforward operation. It can be performed under general or local anaesthetic. Luckily the scar can be created in the crease and is therefore undetectable afterwards. The operation can also be carried out from inside the eyelid. Bags under the eyes can be treated at the same time. With the lower lid, the fat is removed through an incision made close to the lash line and he skin is lifted and stitched back into place. Surgery lasts about one hour and can be done under a local or general anaesthetic.
Stitches are removed from three to five days. The bruising and swelling lasts for seven to 10 days, and the eyes may be watery. The patient’s appearance is back to normal after 15 to 30 days. Eye make-up can be worn by week two, and contact lenses by week three. The scars are minimal, and after two or three months become practically invisible, hidden just beneath the lash lines on lower eyelids and in the natural crease on the upper lids. With lower lids, some surgeons make the incision from inside the lid so there is no visible scarring at all.
These operations are fairly simple, and predictable in their outcome. However, they will not remove the shadows under the eyes, or the crow’s feet wrinkles at the side of the eyes. It will also only remove the wrinkles that are within the skin that is removed. Laser surgery which can be done at the same time can remove other wrinkles. Otherwise a face-lift may be more suitable.
There is no limit to the age at which you can have a blepharoplasty, and many surgeons work on patients in their seventies or older, especially in cases where drooping eyelids leads to problems with vision. Healing is slower in the older patient and could take up to a month.