Your weekly spin class was fabulous! Not only were you in the same class as your friend; you managed to keep up with instructor. As you walk to the change rooms, you appreciate that all your hard work is paying off. In your early 50’s you’re fitter and healthier than in your 20’s and 30’s.
But standing in the change rooms, you don’t feel so great. Maybe it’s the harsh lights, but as you’re reapplying make up, your eye bags seem puffier than normal. You try to shake it off but your girlfriend has noticed your slumped shoulders and downcast face.
She asks you what’s going on and reluctantly you ‘spill the beans’. You tell her that for the last few years, you’ve noticed that your eyes are starting to look like your father’s and grandfather’s eyes. With baggy and puffy skin under their eyes, you used to make fun of them. But as you’ve aged, your eye skin is starting to wrinkle and bag – just like theirs!
You confess that when you know nobody’s watching, you pull your eyelids up with your fingers to see how you could look if there wasn’t so much skin there. And then you pull your upper face back to imagine what your face and eyes might look like if you ‘got some work done’.
But the thing that makes your really upset is when you apply your eye makeup. For the last year or so, you have to physically raise your eyebrows up with your finger while you apply your eye shadow.
Sighing out loud, your friend hugs you tightly then says softly, “Why don’t you do something about it? I’m sure there’s some type of cosmetic surgery that’s available?”
And that’s when you started to research and get excited about blepharoplasty surgery. You realised that you don’t have to walk around looking and feeling older than you are.
What is blepharoplasty surgery?
Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is effective for people with fatty bags around their eyes, droopy eyelids or excessive eyelid skin. Sometimes called eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty can create a more youthful appearance and reduce the signs of ageing.
Some people only have surgery on their upper or lower eyelids while others have surgery on both. Your blepharoplasty surgery will be tailored for your exact needs.
Who is suitable for eyelid surgery?
Blepharoplasty is a popular surgery choice for people that have:
- Excessive eyelid skin,
- A loss of eyelid shape,
- Persistent fatty bags around and under their eyes that don’t improve after a good sleep,
- Functional problems with their eyelids including vision impairment caused by too much skin around the eyes,
- Have excess skin on the lower eyelids and eye wrinkles.
It’s important to note that blepharoplasty will not remove dark pigmentation under the eyes or totally remove lines around your eyes. Eye lines can be smoothed away with laser resurfacing during the surgery. Botox injections can also improve eye lines, especially the ‘crow’s feet’.
What happens during blepharoplasty surgery?
The blepharoplasty surgery takes between 1-3 three hours during which you’ll have a general anaesthetic, heavy sedation or local anaesthesia.
There are two types of blepharoplasty procedures: upper eyelid blepharoplasty and lower eyelid blepharoplasty.
Upper eyelid blepharoplasty
The upper eyelid blepharoplasty procedure is an effective treatment to improve your vision and can make you look younger. It’s usually performed under a local anaesthetic that is injected in your eyelids. After the surgeon makes a cut on the natural skin crease just above your eyelid, they remove any excess fat and skin pushing through the muscle.
Lower eyelid blepharoplasty
A lower eyelid blepharoplasty operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes and is performed under a general anaesthetic. This procedure reduces eye puffiness and wrinkles. To help with the pain after the operation, you may also have injections of local anaesthetic.
During your lower eyelid blepharoplasty operation, the surgeon makes a cut along the rim of your eyelid (below your eyelashes) to just beyond the outside edge of your eye. Any excess skin is removed and any fat that is pushing through the muscle is redistributed or removed.
Any incisions made during the eyelid surgery are placed so the scars are concealed naturally once you’ve recovered. For example, the incisions made on your upper eyelid are within the natural crease of the eyelid. You can read more about blepharoplasty surgery here.
What key facts do I need to know about blepharoplasty?
- Eyelift surgery can create a more youthful look that still looks like you.
- Blepharoplasty can correct a number of your eye problems including sagging of your upper or lower eyelids bags, puffiness under your eyes and excess fat or skin below or above your eyes.
- Most patients can go home the same day as their surgery. Some may choose to stay overnight because their vision is blurry due to the ointments.
- Eyelid surgery scarring is minimal. Your blepharoplasty surgeon usually makes incisions in the natural folds of your eyelid.
- After surgery, it’s normal to experience a period of discomfort due to the inflamed tissues caused by the surgery. Until the inflammation subsides, you’ll need to apply ointments and drops for several days or weeks
- You’ll have bruising for 7-14 days after your eye lid surgery. It will take 1-3 months for the swelling to completely dissipate. Time off work is recommended following the surgery.
What are the risks and complications of eyelid surgery?
With any surgical operation there may be complications of anaesthesia. These include:
- Blood clot in your lung (pulmonary embolus)
- Blood clot in your leg (deep-vein thrombosis – DVT)
The specific risks and complications of eyelid surgery include:
- Bruising: Most bruising typically resolves within 10–14 days of the eyelid surgery.
- Itchiness, watering or dryness of eyes: It’s not uncommon for patients to experience watering or dryness or itchiness of their eyes following surgery. These symptoms may require you to use artificial tears or eye drops for relief. It’s rare for these symptoms to be permanent. It’s important to note that patients who have dry eyes before surgery are at an elevated risk for permanently worse dry eyes after surgery.
- Swelling: it’s normal to have some temporary swelling following the blepharoplasty procedure. The swelling can feel like a “tight” feeling in and around your eyes. It will subside gradually but can take several months to fully resolve.
- Corneal ulceration: Eye shields may be placed into your eye to protect them during surgery. Dissolving sutures (stitches) are used in the surgery. On rare occasions they can rub and cause corneal ulceration. This may cause further discomfort or require further treatment.
- Corneal exposure: On rare occasions, patients can experience difficulties closing their eyelids after their eyelid surgery. This can lead to problems in their cornea due to dryness. If this complication occurs, additional treatments including revision surgery may be necessary.
- Scarring: You’ll have a scar from the blepharoplasty surgery. Upper lid scars are place in the crease normally formed by opening the eye, and can extend laterally to the eye, depending upon the amount of planned skin removal. Lower lid scars are normally placed immediately below the lashes, and can extend out lateral to the eye in some cases where a longer incision is needed. Scars always fade over time but will not disappear. It is normal for scars to take up to 1-2 years to fully mature by flattening and become more normal in colour.
- Asymmetry: Most people have natural differences between their left and right sides of their bodies. Factors such as skin tone, asymmetric fatty deposits, skeletal prominence and muscle tone all contribute to normal asymmetry in body features. There may also be minor differences in the symmetry between the left and right eyelids following the surgery – this is quite common.
- Signs of Ageing: Eyelid surgery won’t stop the process of ageing. It won’t remove “crow’s feet” or other wrinkles, eliminate dark circles from under the eyes, or lift sagging eyebrows.
What is recovery like after blepharoplasty surgery?
Most patients are usually able to return home on the day of your surgery. To limit any pain and nausea, you’ll be given medication. Some patients prefer to stay overnight in hospital because their vision is blurry from the ointments.
Once you’re at home, set yourself up in a comfortable chair, on a couch or in bed. To limit your swelling and discomfort, it’s recommended that you keep your head elevated for two or three days following the surgery.
Your swelling will take one to three months to fully resolve. At home using ice packs will reduce the swelling and speed up your recover. You’ll have bruising for between 7-14 days. Most patients take two weeks off work and avoid important social events for 6 weeks.
How do I find a Blepharoplasty Surgeon in Australia?
Patients who have blepharoplasty surgery report looking and feeling younger because their eye lines, droopy skin and eye bags are gone. For patients who have had their eyelids sagging over their pupils, their vision gets better.
To achieve the best result that meets your expectations, it’s important to understand what may happen to the area surrounding your eyelids. During your consultations with the surgeon before eyelid surgery, these areas will be considered. It’s important to note that overdone eyelid surgery can look unnatural and may increase your risks of dry eye and other eye complications.
You can find the best Blepharoplasty Surgeons in Australia here. Once you have a short list of surgeons; it’s a good idea to have multiple consultations before you select one.