Eyelid Surgery

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

Details

Eyelid surgery is also known as blepharoplasty. This procedure aims to fix droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, muscles and fat around the eye. Natural aging causes the skin to stretch and the tissues to weaken. This results in sagging skin above and below the eyelids as well as heavy undereye bags. If the condition is severe enough, it can even affect one's vision.

Eyelid surgery can improve overall vision while making the eyes look more awake and youthful. Before the surgery, the surgeon will first conduct a visual examination on the patient. They will also take photos of the eye from different angles to plan the right surgical course.

The surgery itself is usually an outpatient procedure. Patients only require a numbing cream and IV sedation to help them relax. The surgeon will first work on the upper eyelid. They will create an incision on the crease of the eyelid to remove skin, muscles and fats before closing up the site. The surgeon will make a cut below the lashes or inside the lower lid to remove tissues on the lower eyelid. In cases where the muscle that raises the upper lid is weak or non-functional, the surgeon will also perform a procedure called ptosis surgery. This additional procedure aims to create more support for the eyelid muscle. 

After the surgery, patients may experience some temporary side effects. These can include blurred vision, light sensitivity, watering eyes as well as swelling. With proper after-care, these side effects will subside, and recovery will be easier. 

Patients should avoid strenuous activity for one week. They should not wear any contact lenses for two weeks after the surgery. To protect the eye from sun exposure, wearing tinted sunglasses when outdoors is recommended. Patients need to sleep with their heads slightly elevated to improve swelling. Applying a cold compress to the area can also alleviate these 
symptoms.

Bruising and swelling will subside 10-14 days later, and the final results are permanent. In some rare cases, patients may experience recurring droopy eyelids. Like most procedures, eyelid surgery has its risks. These can include infection, muscle injury, scarring and, in rare cases, loss of sight.
Anesthesia
local with IV
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
n/a
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
1 week
Invasiveness
yes

What is blepharoplasty surgery?

This video from the American Academy of Ophthalmology explains what a blepharoplasty is. It runs through the types of procedures that this surgery could involve. The video talks about the importance of the purpose of the surgery. It shows animated images to explain the narrative.

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty): What You Need to Know from a Johns Hopkins Expert

Dr. Lisa Ishii, a Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, answers questions about eyelid surgery. She describes the reasons that lead people to seek out this kind of treatment. She talks about the impact of genetics and talks about the different ways of fixing the problem. She explains which solution should be used in specific circumstances. She talks about recovery and other aspects of the surgery and what to expect afterward.