One of the first things people notice about you is your eyes. They can help you convey unspoken emotion or betray your age through wrinkles or sagging skin. However, just because you are of a certain age doesn’t mean you’re doomed to look “old”. Sagging eyelids is a widespread problem among middle-aged and senior individuals. According to a recent study, 17.8 percent of participants suffered from moderate to severe sagging eyelids.1 Beyond appearances, sagging eyelids can also negatively affect your vision. If your sagging eyelids are affecting your self-esteem or making it difficult to see, blepharoplasty may be an appropriate treatment for you.
Your eyelid is a flexible area of skin designed to accommodate the movements of your eye and your facial expressions. As we age, however, the muscles around our eyes weaken and the skin stretches out from decades of use. Tired, worn skin allows room for fat deposits to gather, further exaggerating the sagging appearance of the eyelids.
Blepharoplasty is an outpatient procedure during which excess fat around the eyes is removed and skin is tightened to simulate a more youthful, alert appearance. During the surgery, your surgeon will administer local anesthetic around your eyes and IV anesthesia or sedative medication to help you relax. They will then make an incision along the natural fold of your eyelid to decrease the risk of conspicuous scarring. From the incision, your surgeon can redistribute or remove fat deposits, remove excess skin and tighten the muscles supporting the eyelid. The eyelid incisions are then sutured or glued closed with medical-grade skin glue.
Post-operative care can vary from patient to patient, but will often include application of cold compresses and lubricant. Patients often report immediate bruising, swelling, redness or irritation. Ask your surgeon how you can best manage your discomfort afterwards. They will also likely urge you to practice sun safety by using high SPF sunscreen around the eyes or wearing large sunglasses at all times during the healing process. Healing can range from a week or two to a few months. With vigilant post-operative care, you’ll recover more quickly and with fewer complications.
If you’re interested in blepharoplasty, your best course of action would be to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon to determine if you are a qualifying candidate and to discuss the process overall. Because the procedure itself is minimally invasive and requires little downtime, most people can undergo blepharoplasty without issue. The ideal candidate is:
Keep in mind that some sagging skin around your eyes may actually be a result of weakening muscles in other areas of your face such as your cheeks or forehead. During your consultation with your surgeon, you can discuss your experiences and expectations, and they will help you decide if your situation is best remedied by blepharoplasty or another cosmetic procedure.
Before undergoing blepharoplasty, your surgeon may request you submit to a physical and vision examination to support your claim for insurance-provided financial assistance. Upper eyelid blepharoplasty may be deemed reconstructive in nature if sagging eyelids are negatively affecting your vision, meaning your insurance may cover the procedure, unlike purely cosmetic surgeries. You will also be photographed from various angles to help the surgeon plan for the surgery.
If you’re on any medication or herbal supplement that can thin the blood, such as warfarin, ibuprofen or naproxen, you’ll need to ask your primary care physician how far in advance you can stop taking them before your appointment. If you’re a smoker, quit cigarettes at least three weeks in advance, as smoking slows your body’s natural healing ability. Because you’ll be placed under anesthesia or sedation during your procedure, you’ll also require a ride to and from the office and a friend to help you during your first night home.
If your vision is suffering or you’re no longer feeling like yourself as a result of sagging, droopy eyelids, blepharoplasty may be right for you. Improving your health, appearance and confidence is easy when you work with an experienced team of licensed cosmetic surgeons.
At Virginia Surgical Arts, we believe every patient should look like their youthful, beautiful self at every stage of their life. We specialize in facial and body rejuvenation to help Hampton Roads residents look and feel their best for years to come. Contact our incredible team online or call (757) 430-7690 to schedule your consultation today!