Your eyes are often the first thing people notice about your face and are an important aspect of facial attractiveness. Your eyelids add cosmetic appeal to your eyes and protect them as well.
Over time, your upper and/or lower eyelids may become "droopy" or "baggy" because the eyelid skin stretches, muscles weaken and fat pockets bulge and become more prominent. Most commonly this occurs as a result of the aging process but it also may be a hereditary condition that runs in the family. Your eyebrows also may sag or droop as part of the same process.
Aesthetically, such conditions may detract from the overall attractiveness of one's eyes and cause a "tired" or older appearance. When severe, these conditions also may cause functional problems such as impaired field of vision (baggy upper eyelids) or difficulty wearing glasses (baggy lower eyelids).
The most common type of oculoplastic surgery is removal of excess skin and fat on the upper eyelids. Often, the surgeon will also reconstruct the eyelid creases at a higher level to provide a more pleasing appearance. Excess skin and fat can also be removed from the lower eyelids (bags under the eyes). Additionally, drooping eyebrows or eyelids can be lifted. Droopy eyelids also may be corrected by tightening eye muscles. If needed, all of these changes may be made during one outpatient operation.
At the first visit, the surgeon and the patient will discuss the surgery and what to expect. The patient looks in a mirror and points out what he or she would like to improve. The surgeon then evaluates the patient's facial features to determine if surgery can help correct the problems. The amount and type of surgery done will depend on the patient's medical history, general health, age and skin texture.
The surgeon and patient also discuss the motives for and expectations of the surgery. It is important to have realistic expectations. Cosmetic eyelid surgery can improve appearance, not make it perfect. Eyelid surgery cannot correct some blemishes, such as skin discoloration and cheek fullness. It will improve, but not remove wrinkles at the outer edges of the eyelids.
Eyelid surgery to improve the appearance of the eyelids is termed "blepharoplasty". Blepharoplasty surgery is an outpatient procedure. Blepharoplasty surgery may be performed with local anesthesia, which numbs the eyelid, combined with light sedation, if desired, so there is little, if any, discomfort during or even after the procedure.
Blepharoplasty surgery can provide both cosmetic and functional improvement with minimal risk of serious problems. Blepharoplasty is probably the most common cosmetic surgical procedure done both in men and women in the United States. Most patients are extremely pleased with the results of their eyelid surgery.