As we age, the skin around our eyes becomes less elastic and the muscle tissue starts to get loose. Our skin, therefore, sometimes develops loose folds, including around the upper eyelids. Often, people also find they get deep creases around their lower eyelids. Lastly, it is possible for the fat around the eyes to start bulging, making the eyelids look baggy and leading to a droopy eyelid. Through cosmetic eyelid surgery – or blepharoplasty – your eyes can once again look youthful.
Alternatives to the Eyelid Lift
For some people, surgery of any kind is a big no no. It is possible to use Botox, laser blepharoplasty treatment or chemical peels instead. Another option would be to have a full facelift, which will also target areas such as your forehead and your brow.
Preparing for Blepharoplasty
Once you book in for cosmetic eyelid surgery, you will need to discuss your medical history. There are a number of situations in which you would first need to see an ophthalmologist, including high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes or glaucoma. Next, your vision will be tested and your tear ducts will be inspected. Generally, the procedure itself is performed under local anesthetic, although general may be more appropriate at times. Generally, if you do require a general anesthetic, you will need to fast for at least six hours before the procedure itself. Naturally, every part of the procedure will be discussed with you in great detail before you start.
The Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery Procedure
The procedure itself generally doesn’t take very long. However, the more parts of the eyes you want “fixing”, the longer it will take. The simplest procedure is the lower blepharoplasty. Double eyelid surgery, on the other hand, is the most complicated. Incisions will be made along the lines of your eyelids. This means that there will only be minimal scarring and that the scars will mainly be hidden within the natural folds of your eyes. Then, any excess skin and fat will be removed and fine stitches will be used to hold it all back together. Often, some laser is also use to tighten the skin. Laser procedures are generally scar free, but your eyes will generally remain red for a few months. Under local anesthetic, you will generally be asked to open and close your eyes a few times, so the surgeon can check whether everything is straight and even. After the procedure, you will probably be given some drops or ointment to stop the eyes from drying out and steri-strips will keep the skin in place until it has healed.
What to Expect After the Surgery
Generally, the recovery period in the clinic is very quick. You may need to stay slightly longer if you have had a general anaesthetic, but even then you should be able to go home the next day. Some pain relief will be provided to you, generally in the form of paracetamol or codeine. It will not be possible for you to drive for around 24 to 36 hours after the surgery either, nor will you be allowed to sign legal documents in that time. You will also be provided with advice from your nurse or surgeon and you should follow this completely.
In terms of blepharoplasty recovery, it generally varies on a person to person basis. Stitches are sometimes dissolvable, otherwise you will have them removed some three to five days after your blepharoplasty. You can expect a little bit of swelling, which you can reduce with cold compresses. Generally, you will also receive some advice on how to care for yourself to shorten the recovery period.
Risks of Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery
As with any surgery, there are a number of possible risks associated with it. However, the risks are very minimal and your surgeon will discuss these in greater detail with you. Some of the things you do need to be aware of include side effects and complications. Let’s take a look at these two risks of drooping eyelid surgery in particular.
Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery Side Effects
Side effects are generally temporary, but still unwanted. Some of the most common side effects include:
• Swelling, which can last for a number of weeks. However, the worse of the swelling is usually gone by about a week.
• Bruising, which takes around 10 days to clear up.
• Dry and itchy eyes.
• Watery eyes.
• A sensitivity to wind and light. This is easily remedies by wearing sunglasses.
• Blurred vision, although this generally improves after just a few days. Do not drive or operate machinery until this has passed.
Complications of Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery
Complications are also possible and these are generally more problematic. It is very rare for serious complications to occur after a blepharoplasty, but it is still important to be aware of them. Some of the most common complications include bleeding and cysts. Complications can happen with both upper eyelid surgery and lower eyelid surgery.