Blepharoplasty: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to rejuvenation treatments, the eyelids are often overlooked. Most people focus on lines, wrinkles and sagging around the face or neck, but the eyelids are also affected by the passage of time. Excess tissue and weakened muscles can cause the upper eyelids to droop, while fat accumulation or volume loss leaves dark circles or bags beneath the eyes. These issues can make you look old or tired, but blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) can give you a more refreshed look. If you’d like to learn more about eyelid surgery, Dr. Ritchie Younger at Younger Facial Surgery Centre in Vancouver has answered some of the most common questions people have about this procedure. As one of Canada’s leading facial plastic surgeons, no one is better qualified to help you understand the benefits of blepharoplasty and how it can subtly transform your whole appearance.
What Causes Droopy Eyelids?
Drooping eyelids are one of the most common reasons people consider blepharoplasty. Under-eye bags are another popular complaint, but what causes these problems to appear in the first place?
As we get older, the skin along the eyelids can stretch and sag. The muscles that support the eyelids also grow weaker, causing them to hang lower than they should. Sometimes, injury or nerve damage can affect the upper eyelids, leading to a similar outcome. While usually a cosmetic concern, in some cases, this drooping can interfere with your vision.
In the lower eyelids, aging can also cause the tissues to weaken and sag, allowing excess fat to accumulate beneath the eyes. This contributes to the development of under-eye bags, shadows or puffiness that may be worsened by volume loss in the upper face.
While these changes are undesirable, blepharoplasty can correct the signs of aging in the eyelids and restore a more youthful appearance. Depending on your concerns, various types of eyelid surgery are available to help you reach your goals.
What Are My Options With Eyelid Surgery?
No two people have the exact same eyes. Several factors cause variations in the size, shape and appearance of the eyes and eyelids, including aging or genetics. Some people are born with excess skin or tissue around the eyes that can be bothersome, while others notice drooping in the eyelids as they get older. Over the years, different approaches to eyelid surgery have been developed to properly address these varied concerns.
Upper eyelid surgery is done to correct drooping eyelids, which can contribute to an aged, puffy or tired appearance. This procedure eliminates excess tissue to make the eyes look more open and alert. It can also alleviate vision problems caused by sagging skin, which can interfere with your line of sight.
Lower eyelid surgery targets lines, creases and fat beneath the eyes to refresh your appearance. By removing excess tissue in the lower eyelids, this procedure can eliminate under-eye bags and dark circles to give your eyes a more youthful contour.
Upper and lower eyelid surgery combines both procedures for those with issues above and below their eyes. After undergoing upper eyelid surgery, it’s not uncommon for clients to regret not addressing concerns in the lower eyelids, so Dr. Younger provides the option to take care of everything all at once. Upper and lower eyelid surgery provides more comprehensive results with the added benefit of just one recovery period.
There’s also double eyelid surgery for eyes that lack a visible crease between the eyebrows and lashes, also known as monolids. This procedure is sometimes called “Asian eyelid surgery” due to a higher prominence of monolid eyes in Asian populations, but not all people of Asian descent have this feature. Eyelid anatomy varies widely across different ethnic groups, so we prefer a term that focuses on the procedure itself. Double eyelid surgery adds a natural-looking crease to make the eyes look more open.
What Concerns Can Eyelid Surgery Fix?
One of the questions we encounter most often about eyelid surgery is, “What concerns does it address?” Blepharoplasty can correct a number of issues that affect the eyelids, especially those related to the natural aging process. Some reasons you might consider this procedure include drooping eyelids, puffiness, and under-eye bags, all of which can make you look older or more tired than you actually are. Other concerns addressed by eyelid surgery include:
- Drooping eyelids
- Excess fat beneath the eyes
- Under-eye bags
- Dark circles
- Tired, puffy appearance
- Impaired vision due to sagging eyelids
- Pronounced tear troughs
- Difficulty applying makeup
- No natural crease in the upper eyelid
- Epicanthal folds
For most people, the goal is to look more awake and refreshed by removing excess fat, skin and tissues from around the eyes or eyelids. If you have a plethora of concerns, upper and lower eyelid surgery can be performed at the same time for more dramatic results, or combined with nonsurgical treatments like dermal fillers to eliminate dark hollows.
What is a Good Age for Blepharoplasty?
You might have heard that there’s a certain age that’s “right” for eyelid surgery. While most patients who undergo blepharoplasty are over 35, that’s because the effects of aging in the eyelids become more noticeable around this time. But some people have sagging or droopy eyelids earlier in life due to genetics or certain medical conditions. No matter what age you are, blepharoplasty can restore a more youthful appearance and address vision problems caused by the size, shape or position of your eyelids.
If you’re worried you’re too old for eyelid surgery, this procedure can be performed well into your golden years, but there are some factors to consider before going under the knife. For starters, you should be healthy enough for surgery. Although blepharoplasty is a relatively quick and simple procedure, there are still some risks involved, including infection, irritation and scarring. You should also avoid medications that could interfere with the healing process, such as blood thinners or NSAIDs. Finally, to ensure optimal results, the surrounding skin and muscles should provide enough support and lubrication to the eyes. During your consultation, Dr. Younger will take your age, anatomy and goals into account to determine if blepharoplasty is right for you.
When Can I Drive After Eyelid Surgery?
Upper and lower blepharoplasty can cause pain, swelling and blurred vision after surgery. It can also make your eyes more sensitive to light, all of which can interfere with your ability to see. On top of that, you won’t be able to wear contact lenses for at least two weeks and glasses may be uncomfortable at first. While these side effects are temporary, it’s recommended that you don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until cleared by your doctor. Most people can start driving again within five to seven days, but this may vary depending on the extent of your surgery and how your body heals.
Is Eyelid Surgery Painful?
Upper and lower blepharoplasties are usually performed under local anesthesia, with or without sedation. Treatment areas will be numb, so you won’t feel your doctor remove excess skin and tissue to reshape your eyelids. The procedure itself is painless, but you might experience some post-operative discomfort such as bruising, swelling, soreness, dry or watery eyes, and light sensitivity after surgery. For most people, these side effects typically subside within a week, but ice, cold compresses and plenty of rest can provide some relief, while sunglasses can be worn to protect sensitive eyes during the recovery process. After the first week, you should be able to return to work and resume your normal routine, but check with your doctor first to ensure a good outcome.
Ready to Learn More?
Blepharoplasty can dramatically transform your appearance and alleviate any vision issues you may have as a result of drooping eyelids. If you’re ready to learn more about this procedure, schedule a consultation with one of Canada’s leading facial plastic surgeons, Dr. Ritchie Younger. Contact or call us today at 604 670-4506 to get started!