A blepharoplasty is designed to address drooping eyelids by tightening the skin around the eye. This can be used to make the eyes look tighter and more youthful or to address vision problems that are caused by the eyelid blocking the field of vision. Blepharoplasty can be used to remove skin and fat beneath the eye or to remove skin on the upper portion of the eye. This surgery is not used to address the symptoms of ptosis which requires surgeons to tighten the muscles around the eyelids.
Cosmetic blepharoplasty is a procedure that is used solely to improve the appearance of the eyes by removing drooping skin that has accumulated with age. As your skin ages, the skin around the eyes will stretch, weakening the muscles and displaying fat pockets that can make the eyes look tired. Oculoplastic surgeons or ophtalmologists can perform cosmetic blepharoplasty. Plastic surgeons or ear, nose and throat surgeons will also typically perform these surgeries for patients.
A functional blepharoplasty will be performed when the loose skin on the upper or lower eyelid has dropped to the point where it impairs your vision or makes wearing contact lenses or glasses difficult. Those that have discomfort in the forehead because the muscles are straining to hold up the sagging eyelids or those that have irritation around the eyes because the folds of skin are rubbing together may require a blepharoplasty.
Those that are unsure if they require a blepharoplasty should consult with their regular eye doctor to address these concerns and determine if this surgery would improve their conditions.
You will need to determine whether or not you would prefer general or local anesthesia during your surgery. Local anesthesia patients will remain awake but the area will be numbed with medication administered with a needle. You will also be provided with an oral or intravenous sedative.
Those undergoing a complicated blepharoplasty or will have other procedures performed simultaneously will require general anesthesia that is be provided via intravenous injection. This will put you to sleep for the 20-minute to 2-hour procedure.
Patients may be asked to eat a light meal before their surgery or take certain medications like blood pressure medication before the procedure. You may also need to stop the use of pain medications or mediations that would impact your ability to clot properly during the procedure. You should not wear any makeup on the day your surgery is to take place. You should also plan to have someone drive you home and monitor your condition hours after your procedure.
Shortly after your surgery, you may find that you can't close your eye completely leading to dry eyes. This condition typically resolves itself in the following weeks or months. In the meantime dry eyes can be managed with eye drops or taping the eyes closed at night. Your surgeon may recommend massaging the eyelids after the sutures have been removed to soften the skin.
Other potential complications of a blepharoplasty include eyelid infection, vision loss due to retobulbar hemorrhage, noticeable scarring, double vision, malpositioned eyelids, under-correction, numbness of the eyelids and over-correction.