What is blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty (pronounced blef' ah-ro-plas-te) is a type of plastic surgery performed on the upper or lower eyelids to remove excess skin and fat from around the eyes. Sagging eyebrows or eyelids may be corrected at the same time. This procedure is usually done by an ophthalmologist or plastic surgeon.
Why have blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty is done to improve visual function and/or cosmetic appearance. Excessive upper eyelid tissue can block the upper part of the visual field. It can be determined whether excess upper eyelid tissue is obscuring your vision by lifting the skin of the upper lids with your fingers to see if the upper visual field improves or vision brightens. A formal visual field test may be helpful. If your vision is obstructed, you may suffer from headaches and fatigue from trying to lift your eyelids far enough to see well. Occasionally the excess skin can even cause eyelashes to turn in and irritate the eye.
Sagging eyelids can also lend a tired look to the eyes and face. Eyelid surgery can improve this appearance.
If blepharoplasty is plastic surgery, then why consult an ophthalmologist?
This procedure is linked to and can affect the function and lubrication of the eye. Before considering any procedure that may affect the function of the eye, it is extremely important to consult an eye physician. An ophthalmologist is trained specifically to treat the eye and is, therefore, particularly qualified to help you decide whether you should think about this surgery or not. Oculoplastic surgeons are ophthalmologists who have had additional training in plastic surgery of the eyelids.
How is blepharoplasty performed?
First, the amount of skin and fat to be removed is determined by the doctor. After this has been determined, upper and lower incision lines are marked along natural skin creases. Incision lines generally extend into the "crow's feet" or "smile lines" at the outer edge of the eye, so that once healed, the incision lines will be hidden and nearly invisible.
Excess skin and fat are then removed from the eyelid, and the incisions are sutured closed. The procedure is usually performed with local anesthesia and sedation.
What results can I expect?
Generally, results are successful. However, it is important to be aware that surgical outcome will depend on the extent of corrective work, the skin structure and healing process, hereditary factors, age, and other physical characteristics. As with any surgical procedure, an element of risk exists. Hemorrhage, infection, or even blindness, though rare, may occur.