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Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty or "eye lift", is a cosmetic procedure. It modifies the skin on your eyelid and around your eyes. Eyelid surgery can improve your eye function and give you a more youthful appearance.
As you age, your eyelid skin stretches. This can cause sagging eyebrows, droopy lids, and bags under your eyes.
In addition to making you look older, this can reduce your peripheral vision. The procedure may involve removing excess skin, muscles, and fat from around your eyes.
Doctors can perform surgery on the upper and lower eyelids together or separately.
While eyelid surgery may not sound like a standard procedure, it is prevalent. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) found it was among the top 5 cosmetic procedures for both men and women in 2018, with more than 115,000 surgeries performed.3
Eyelid surgery enhances the appearance of your eyes and the surrounding areas.
But it can also treat various eyelid problems, including:
Whether you want to improve the looks or functioning of the them, eyelid surgery can:
Eyelid surgery is an option for anyone with eyelid-related issues, functional or cosmetic.
Good candidates for blepharoplasty include those 35 years or older who:
Persons undergoing surgery should be optimistic but also realistic about results — sometimes, revision surgery is necessary.
Nonsmokers and those without medical conditions or serious eye conditions that could interfere with healing are ideal candidates.
Medical conditions that make eyelid surgery more risky include:
Prior to surgery you'll consult with your doctor. They'll evaluate your health and any pre-existing medical conditions and potential risk factors.
They'll also likely perform a physical examination, vision test, and take pictures of your eyelids.
After, you'll go over surgery options together. Possible or likely outcomes, potential complications, and treatment plans will be covered.
Once you have the surgery scheduled your doctor will give you instructions for how to prepare. You may be advised to stop taking certain prescription, OTC, or herbal medications that increase bleeding.
If you smoke, you'll be asked to quit several weeks before the procedure. Smoking interferes with your healing ability.
You'll also have to prearrange transport from your surgeon's office after the surgery is complete.
Cosmetic eyelid surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. On average, it takes about 45 minutes to two hours.
Here's what typically happens:
First, your surgeon will administer anesthesia. This could be local or general.
Local anesthesia is a numbing agent that the doctor injects into your eyelids to numb and relax the area.
General anesthesia is medication that makes you unconscious throughout the procedure. You and your doctor will discuss which option is best for you before the procedure.
The next step is the incision lines. If you're having both eyelids operated on, the surgeon will likely start with the upper lid, followed by the lower. The incisions are made so that the scars are well-hidden within your natural eyelid structure.
The surgeon will then remove or reposition fat deposits, tighten muscles, or remove excess skin.
Once the surgery is complete, the surgeon closes the incisions. This is typically done with sutures or skin glue. Following the surgery, you may experience puffiness and pain and swelling in the eye area.
Eyelid surgery, though quick, is serious. After a few hours, the anesthesia will wear off. You may feel pain and experience swelling, dark circles, blurred vision, and other side effects after surgery.
The doctor may use a lubricating ointment, cold compresses, or a loose covering of gauze to protect your eyes after surgery. They'll then give you specific instructions on how to make your wounds heal quickly and cleanly.
Some tips might include:
Eyelid surgery is usually quick and can typically be done in a day. However, there are risks involved with all surgeries.
Risks include, but are not limited to, the following:
The cost of eyelid surgery varies but, on average, cosmetic eyelid surgery costs about $3,000. It ranges from about $2,000 to $5,000 for all four lids. Surgery on the lower eyelids tends to be more expensive than the upper lids.
The cost does not include:
A surgeon’s fee will depend on their experience, the type of procedure, the extremity of the case, and other factors. Many surgeons offer patient financing plans.
Note that most health insurance providers don't cover cosmetic surgery or any complications associated with cosmetic surgeries, including eyelid surgery.
When eyelid surgery is performed to fix skin that covers the eyelashes, it may be covered by insurance. Check your insurance plan and speak with your provider about whether or not eyelid surgery is covered.
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