Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)
Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, can reduce the puffy "bags" under the eyes and remove droopy, loose skin hanging down from upper eyelids, which can sometimes interfere with vision. The surgery can be performed to add an upper eyelid crease to Asian eyes, but it will not erase evidence of racial heritage.
In 2004, plastic surgeons performed more than 290,343 eyelid surgeries, an increase of 8 percent since 2003, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Eyelid surgery is the third most popular surgical cosmetic procedure in the United States, following liposuction and breast augmentation.
The surgery may be performed in an outpatient surgical center, doctor's office, or hospital. An overnight hospital stay is rarely required. Local anesthesia is used, sometimes with oral or intravenous sedatives. Some cases require general anesthesia. The surgery lasts from one to three hours, depending on the extent of the procedure. In a standard procedure, the surgeon makes incisions following the natural line of the eyelids -- in the creases of the upper eyelids and just below the lashes of the lower eyelids. The surgeon then lifts the skin from the underlying tissue and muscle. He or she then removes excess fat, skin, and muscle. The incisions are then sutured using very fine stitches.
Eyelid surgery is not designed to remove crow's feet or other wrinkles, eliminate dark circles under the eye, or lift sagging eyebrows, although other procedures can. (Consult your physician for more information.)
Pain Level/Recovery Time: After surgery, the doctor will apply an ointment to lubricate the eyes and may apply a bandage. As the anesthesia wears off, your eyes may feel tight and sore. Pain medications may help. If you feel severe pain, contact your doctor.
You should keep your head elevated for several days. Cold compresses may help reduce swelling and bruising. Your eyes may be gummy for a week or so; you'll be instructed how to clean them. Many doctors recommend eyedrops for dryness, burning, or itchiness. For the first few weeks, you may experience excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, and temporary changes in eyesight, such as blurring or double vision. Stitches will be removed about a week after surgery. Once the stitches are out, swelling and discoloration will begin to subside.
You should be able to read or watch TV after two or three days. However, you won't be able to wear contact lenses for about two weeks. Lenses may feel uncomfortable for a while. Most people can return to their usual routine within a week to 10 days. Makeup may help hide the bruising that remains. You should protect your eyes from sun and wind when you go out. Scars may remain slightly pink for six months or more after surgery. Eventually, they will fade to a thin, almost invisible white line.
SAVE EVEN MORE! Say “Yes” to Ladies' Home Journal® Magazine today and get a second year for HALF PRICE - 2 full years (22 issues) for just $15. You also get our new Ladies' Home Journal® Family Favorites Cookbook ABSOLUTELY FREE!