Blepharoplasty is an eyelid lift surgery in which excess skin and fat in the upper and/or lower eyelids are removed in order to restore vision which is impaired by sagging skin or to improve appearance. Blepharoplasty is a common outpatient surgical procedure performed by ophthalmologists at Fort Worth Eye Associates.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Lift Surgery) for Eyelid Laxity
Blepharoplasty and other eyelid reconstructive procedures are performed to repair:
- Ptosis (blepharoptosis): Drooping of the eyelid which can be congenital, develop over time as skin elasticity lessens (most common), or be a symptom of a muscle or nerve disorder. Ptosis can interfere with vision and cause the appearance of being tired or older.
- Entropion: Eyelids turn inward allowing the eyelashes to irritate the surface of the eye (cornea). Entropion typically affects the lower eyelid and may be continual or occur only upon blinking or shutting the eye. The friction can result in eye redness, pain, or irritation, excessive tearing, light sensitivity, mucous discharge from the eyes, or decrease in vision.
- Ectropion: Eyelid turns outward exposing the inner eyelid. Ectropion usually affects the lower eyelid and may do so entirely, or just a portion of the lid may sag down. When the eyelid pulls away, tears may not drain properly causing excessive tearing, dry and irritated eyes, and light sensitivity.
- Trichiasis: Trichiasis is the ingrowth or introversion of the eyelashes. The eyelashes point towards the eye resulting in chronic irritation and infection and possible long term damage to the the transparent layer (cornea) forming the front of the eye.
Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES): Floppy eyelid syndrome (FES) is floppy and rubbery eyelid that easily everts inside out. It is more common in overweight males. It is associated with chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva (chronic papillary conjunctivitis) of the upper eyelid conjunctiva (upper palpebral conjunctiva) that does not respond well to steroids or eye lubricants. Left untreated, FES can can lead to irritation and inflammation of the cornea or other parts of the eye.
How the Eyelid Ages
As we age, the skin in our eyelids becomes thinner and loses elasticity. Without elasticity, our eyelids begin to droop or sag (ptosis) due to excess skin that builds up over time. Skin that collects on the upper lids can hang down and interfere with vision or increase tearing, while the excess skin of the lower eyelids can cause bulges or wrinkles. We also have a thin membrane which keeps a cushion of fat in place between the skull and eyeball. This membrane can gradually weaken with age and allow the fat to encroach on the eyelids.
In order to eliminate the skin that is impairing vision or reduce the appearance of bulges or wrinkles, your ophthalmologist may recommend a blepharoplasty. Blepharoplasty is the most common eyelid surgery performed at Fort Worth Eye Associates and is typically done in-office utilizing a local anesthetic.
What to Expect During Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Lift Surgery)
During blepharoplasty, your doctor will make small incisions in the upper eyelids at their natural creases. This minimizes eyelid scarring, which is generally imperceptible. Excess skin and fat are removed from the eyelids and ultra-fine stitches are used to close the incisions.
Lower eyelid surgery is performed similarly. Incisions may be made in the outer and inner eyelids, excess fat is removed, and the incisions are closed with sutures. The tiny outer incisions will fade and be barely noticeable over time.
Upper eyelid surgery typically lasts at least 5-7 years, while lower lid surgery does not usually ever need to be repeated. Eyelid surgery is designed to improve impaired vision and enhance appearance, however, your eyes will continue to age naturally after surgery.
Post-Operative Care for Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Lift Surgery)
After your eyelid lift surgery, you will need someone to drive you home, as well as stay with you the first night. You will probably have some swelling and redness around the incision sites. Other common symptoms that you may experience after eyelid surgery are:
- Excessive tearing
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Eyelid tightness or soreness
Your doctor will provide ointment to place on the incisions and may prescribe eye drops to alleviate dryness. Cold compresses can be used to minimize swelling. Taking special care of your eyes during your recovery will assist in the healing process.
Some helpful tips to follow after your blepharoplasty include:
- Avoid eye-straining activities, such as watching T.V., prolonged reading, or lengthy computer use
- Do not wear contact lenses the first week after surgery
- Elevate your head when possible to minimize swelling and bruising around the eyes
- Wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes
- Rest your eyes frequently
- Avoid activities which increase blood flow to the eyes, such as sports, lifting heavy objects, bending down, and crying
Your doctor will remove your eyelid sutures 2-7 days after surgery. Most patients can resume working and other normal activities about 10 days after their blepharoplasty. Complete recovery from eyelid surgery can take several weeks, so it is important to be patient, knowing that the end result will be a younger looking you without drooping eyelids interfering with your ability to see clearly.