Updated on 

November 17, 2021

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Double Eyelid Surgery: Procedure, Recovery & Costs

What are Double Eyelids?

A double eyelid is an eyelid with a crease on the upper lid. They are often associated with beauty in Asian cultures.

Double eyelids are a dominant gene. They are expressed more often than the recessive monolid gene.

Fixing Double Eyelids With Surgery

Despite having normal eyelids, some people opt for double eyelid surgery for cosmetic reasons.

Other reasons for eyelid surgery include:

  • The eyelid affects vision
  • The eyelids don’t match
  • The eyes don’t look as big as desired
  • Makeup is challenging to apply

Double eyelid surgery creates creases in the upper eyelids. The result is double eyelids.

This type of surgery is a form of blepharoplasty. This is the medical term for eyelid surgery. 

The surgery usually involves just the upper lid. It’s sometimes called Asian eyelid surgery or Asian double eyelid surgery.

Double eyelid surgery may be performed for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Create the look of a crease above the eye 
  • Adjust the eye to more of an "almond" shape 
  • Make the eye appear bigger 
  • Fix a functional problem with the eye. For example, excess skin that droops over the eye or an eyelid position that makes the eyelashes brush against and irritate the eye (epiblepharon).

Each case is different. Your cosmetic surgeon will develop a plan with your goals in mind.

Eyelid surgery should be performed by a plastic surgeon with experience in this type of procedure.

Here are some questions to consider during your consultation:

  • What you expect out of the surgery 
  • Any issues you have with your eyes or the area around your eyes 
  • Your medical history (any pre-existing conditions, prescription medications, and allergies) 
  • Which technique may be a better option for you 
  • Information about the procedure (i.e., what type of anesthesia will be used)
  • What you need to know about risks and recovery 

Be aware that some type of anesthesia will be used, and your eyes will be sensitive. You won’t be able to drive yourself home. This means you’ll need to arrange transportation in advance.

Double Eyelid Surgery Methods

There are three main techniques for double eyelid surgery. The option your surgeon chooses depends on your preferences and needs.

1. Full Incision Procedure 

During full incision double eyelid surgery, the surgeon makes an incision along most of the new eyelid crease. They use removable stitches to hold the eyelid in place during healing.

This procedure works best for patients with excess fat and skin that must be removed from the upper eyelid.

There may be a small scar along the crease.

2. Partial Incision Procedure

The partial incision procedure is similar to a full incision, except the surgeon makes the incision as small as possible to minimize the size of the scar.

This procedure may be the best option for patients who want double eyelids but don’t have much excess skin or fat. 

3. Non-Incisional Procedure

This procedure is the least invasive double eyelid surgery. This is because no incisions are required.

Non-incisional cosmetic surgery may be a good option for those who don’t need any fat or skin removed.

The surgeon makes small holes in the eyelid. Then, they thread permanent stitches through the holes to create an upper eyelid crease.

This procedure is the most ‘reversible’ out of all the options. However, the crease may come undone over time.

Side Effects & Risks of Double Eyelid Surgery

The most common complication following double eyelid surgery is an asymmetrical result. This complication can only be avoided with careful incision placement by your surgeon.

In some cases, eyelid surgeries need to be repeated. 

Redness and swelling are side effects of eyelid surgery that should resolve after a few weeks.

Less common complications may include:2

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Vision loss
  • Overcorrection
  • Dryness
  • Irritation
  • Difficulty closing your eyes
  • Noticeable scarring
  • Eye muscle injuries
  • Skin discoloration
  • Risks linked to surgery in general (for example, a reaction to anesthesia and blood clots)

Speak with your doctor or surgeon about which surgical risks apply to you. 

Understanding what is involved in cosmetic eyelid surgery and weighing the benefits and risks will help you decide if the procedure is right for you.

Double Eyelid Surgery Recovery Time

Recovery from upper lid blepharoplasty differs depending on the technique used.

Incisional techniques may leave a scar. However, those who received eyelid surgery that involves non-incisional methods may experience more and longer-lasting swelling and inflammation following surgery.

Timelines for double eyelid surgery recovery depend significantly on the type of surgery performed.

With incisional techniques, you will have stitches placed that may need to be removed after several days. The initial healing time is approximately two weeks. However, full healing can take months.

With partial and non-incisional techniques, you are likely to heal from surgery in around two weeks.

Your doctor or surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to look after your eyelids following surgery. 

They will also inform you how to manage the pain and discomfort, including:

  • Use a cold compress to lessen pain and swelling for the first two days. Eyes can remain swollen for weeks to months following surgery. 
  • Avoid straining or heavy lifting for three weeks after surgery. You may resume light exercise in approximately three days. 
  • Keep your head elevated throughout the day.
  • Avoid sleeping flat. An extra pillow at bedtime can help. 
  • Avoid the sun. Don’t use cosmetics. You can wear makeup ten to 14 days after the procedure. 
  • Do use over-the-counter ointments on the surgery site. Apply a thin coating of petroleum jelly to external stitches twice a day. Your surgeon may also prescribe an antibiotic ointment.
  • If you wear contact lenses, don’t wear them for two to three weeks. The lenses can increase irritation. 

How Much Does the Procedure Cost?

The average fee of cosmetic eyelid surgery is $4,120.3 However, this cost is only part of the total price. 

You must also consider the cost of:

  • Anesthesia
  • Operating room facilities
  • Other related expenses. 

Speak with your plastic surgeon to determine your final fee. A surgeon’s fee will be based on: 

  • Experience
  • The type of procedure used
  • Office location

Many plastic surgeons and eye doctors offer patient financing plans for eyelid surgery.

Most health insurance does not typically cover cosmetic surgery or its complications. 

However, when double eyelid surgery is performed to remove the redundant skin covering the eyelashes, insurance may cover it.

Be sure to review your policy carefully.

Remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with them are just as important as the cost of surgery.

Who is a Good Candidate?ù

Eyelid surgery is not suitable for everyone. 

Here are some considerations regarding who makes a good candidate for eyelid surgery:1

  • You should be in good health, with no significant health issues 
  • You should not have any health conditions that may affect or delay healing 
  • You should not be a smoker
  • You must have realistic end goals 
  • You should not have any severe eye conditions 
  • You should know that going too far with the height of the crease added to the eyelid can look unnatural 

Speak with your eye doctor or surgeon about your: 

  • Eye shape
  • Facial structure
  • Surgery goals

Is it Reversible? 

Depending on the type of procedure, double eyelid blepharoplasty may be permanent or reversible. 

If you have had double eyelid surgery in which the surgeon made a full or partial incision, the procedure usually cannot be reversed.

However, if you had a no-incision procedure using permanent stitches, your doctor may be able to remove them to re-create monolids.

Summary

  • There is nothing medically wrong with either double or single eyelids. Both are normal.
  • Double eyelid surgery is used to add a crease to the eyelids.
  • Double eyelid surgery is usually for personal preference.
  • There are three different types of double eyelid surgery. These are full incision, partial incision, and non-incisional surgeries.
  • Speak with your eye doctor or surgeon to determine if you are a good candidate for double eyelid surgery.

Related Pages

6 Cited Research Articles
  1. ​​Who is a good candidate for eyelid surgery?, American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  2. James Oestreicher, Sonul Mehta, "Complications of Blepharoplasty: Prevention and Management", Plastic Surgery International, vol. 2012, Article ID 252368, 10 pages, 2012. 
  3. How much does eyelid surgery cost?, American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  4. Blepharoplasty, Mayo Clinic, June 2020
  5. Nguyen, Marilyn Q et al. “Asian blepharoplasty.” Seminars in plastic surgery vol. 23,3 (2009): 185-97
  6. Li, F C, and L H Ma. “Double eyelid blepharoplasty incorporating epicanthoplasty using Y-V advancement procedure.” Journal of plastic, reconstructive & aesthetic surgery : JPRAS vol. 61,8 (2008): 901-5
Melody Huang is an optometrist and freelance health writer. Through her writing, Dr. Huang enjoys educating patients on how to lead healthier and happier lives. She also has an interest in Eastern medicine practices and learning about integrative medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Huang loves reviewing new skin care products, trying interesting food recipes, or hanging with her adopted cats.
Ellie Swain earned her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. After working in digital marketing and copywriting after graduating, she transitioned to full-time freelance writing and editing. Ellie has a passion for social causes and writes regularly on issues of homelessness in which physical and mental health disorders are common among rough sleepers. She aims to create authoritative and research-backed content on addiction to encourage people to find the support and treatment they need.
https://www.visioncenter.org/author/ellie/
Author: Ellie Swain  | UPDATED November 17, 2021
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Medical reviewer: Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

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