Eyelid Retraction Repair

Latest update: February 27, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


Eyelid retraction problems occur when the eyelids are too wide open, showing the white of the eyeball above the iris. This condition can cause severe dry eyes, irritation and blurred vision.The eyes look unusually wide due to the upper eyelid's abnormal rise or the lower eyelid's lowering. In most cases, only one eye is affected, resulting in asymmetry.

Eyelid retraction problems occur due to congenital conditions, stroke, tumors or thyroid disease. It can also happen as a complication from blepharoplasty.  

During the repair procedure, surgeons correct these issues by creating a more symmetrical look. As a result, redness and burning eyes are eased. The process is relatively quick, lasting less than an hour.  For the upper eyelid, surgeons usually use local anesthetic.  For the lower eyelid repair, a general anesthetic is needed.

The process begins with lubricating the eyes. The specialist releases the levator muscle during upper eyelid surgery that moves the upper eyelid to a lower position. The lower eyelid retraction procedure comes with a few different techniques. In some cases, surgeons may use a skin graft if extra skin is needed to lift the lid. These grafts can either be obtained from the patient's body or a donor material like AlloDerm. Sometimes, specialists also perform canthoplasty to tighten the outer corners of the eye. This procedure creates an almond-eye shape.

Swelling and bruising are typical side effects after the surgery and can last for two weeks. To manage the swelling, patients can use ice packs. They also need to keep their heads elevated when sleeping. To avoid any complications during recovery, patients should not wear contact lenses or makeup for a week. They also need to avoid strenuous activity for a month after the surgery.

The final results can take some significant time of up to 6 months to be noticeable. As with all surgeries, eyelid retraction repair comes with some risks. These can include overcorrection, which could create an even wider eye look.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
1-2 weeks

Fixing Lower Eyelid Retraction | Dr Guy Massry

Dr. Guy Massry, an Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon based in Beverly Hills, explains how to fix lower eyelid retraction. In the case of the patient that he is discussing, this complication came about due to previous surgery. Dr. Massry explains the problem using the patient's photos and talks about traditional methods of correction. He discusses the newer procedure and explains how it will be carried out.

Eyelid Retraction

Dr. Raymond Douglas talks about Eyelid Retraction as part of a discussion of scarring prevention. He describes the instances that will make this surgery necessary. He talks about the different challenges that surgeons will need to consider prior to and during eyelid retraction surgery.