What is an Eyelid Lift?
Eyelid lift surgery can help restore a naturally youthful, refreshed appearance to tired-looking, aging eyes. An eyelid lift is a highly individualized procedure that can address sagging skin, smooth wrinkles, reduce puffiness, and correct other signs of aging around the upper and lower eyelids.
Why Consider Eyelid Surgery?
Our eyelids are home to the thinnest, most delicate skin on our bodies, so it’s no surprise that signs of aging will begin to appear around our eyes earlier than in most other areas. Aging eyelids can affect a person’s appearance in ways beyond just looking older—because so much emotion is expressed with our eyes, sagging, drooping eyelid skin can cause a tired, sad or even angry appearance, even when a person feels great.
Cosmetic eyelid surgery is designed to help counteract these changes and restore a naturally refreshed, youthful appearance to the eyes. The results can be life-enhancing, helping a patient feel more confident in his or her appearance. If others mistakenly perceive you as tired or upset, an eyelid lift can help your eyes more accurately portray your emotions. Also, if sagging eyelid skin is obstructing your ability to see, eyelid surgery can eliminate the problem and allow you to more fully open your eyes.
Choosing a Cosmetic Surgeon
Eyelid surgery not only requires a thorough knowledge of facial anatomy and a keen eye for aesthetic detail, but also the ability to adjust surgical techniques to the needs of an individual patient and create results that look natural for his or her ethnicity, age, gender and unique facial features. It’s important to do your homework before choosing a cosmetic surgeon to perform your eyelid lift.
When consulting with potential cosmetic surgeons, ask about their specific training and experience in facial cosmetic surgery. Look at before and after photos, both online and during your consultation, paying particular attention to patients who look similar to you. While results will be individualized, a cosmetic surgeon’s past work is the best indicator of his or her aesthetic approach. Also, make sure the cosmetic surgeon you choose has experience performing eyelid surgery for patients who share your ethnicity.
Choosing a board certified cosmetic surgeon ensures that your surgeon is specifically trained and experienced in cosmetic surgery, including eyelid lift techniques, and that your procedure will be performed in an accredited surgical facility. Get helpful tips on choosing a cosmetic surgeon.
Options for Eyelid Lift Surgery
Eyelid lift surgery actually encompasses a number of different surgical techniques; which techniques a cosmetic surgeon will use depends on a patient’s anatomy and the particular changes that need to be made to achieve a patient’s goals. For any given patient, an eyelid lift may include upper eyelid surgery, lower eyelid surgery, or both.
Upper Eyelid Surgery
Do you feel like your eyes always look tired, as though you are unhappy or less alert than you feel? Do your upper eyelids seem to lack contour or obscure your upper eyelashes? Sagging, wrinkled skin on the upper eyelids can cause this type of appearance, and upper eyelid surgery can help remove the excess skin and restore a naturally youthful shape to your eyelids and a more open, refreshed appearance to your eyes.
Upper eyelid surgery typically involves an incision made in the natural crease above the eye, through which your cosmetic surgeon will remove a precise amount of excess skin and fat and/or adjust the surrounding muscles to make the desired improvements.
Lower Eyelid Surgery
Do you have puffy, sagging “bags” beneath your eyes that make you look as though you haven’t slept well, even though you have plenty of energy? This is likely due to herniated fat that collects beneath the eyes. While this can become more pronounced over time as skin loses elasticity, puffy lower lids can occur in patients as young their twenties, causing them to look much older than they actually are.
Lower eyelid surgery can be an excellent solution to correct eyelid bags. There are a variety of surgical techniques that cosmetic surgeons can use to improve the lower eyelids; incisions are generally located on the outer edge of the lower eyelid, just beneath the eyelashes or inside the eyelid. Your cosmetic surgeon will explain the approach he or she determines is best for you.
Through the incisions, your cosmetic surgeon will remove or reposition fat to create a smooth, natural contour beneath the eyelid. Depending on the case, excess, sagging skin may be removed or the lower eyelid muscle may be tightened to provide the most natural, effective results.
Combining Eyelid Surgery with Another Procedure
If you are like many patients, you may want to address aging in a few different areas of your face. While eyelid surgery alone can significantly rejuvenate your appearance, it’s quite common to have a facelift, brow lift, or both performed in conjunction with an eyelid lift to achieve more comprehensive facial rejuvenation. A brow lift will address sagging skin and deep furrows above the eyes, while a facelift will address jowling, sagging, and wrinkles on the cheeks and neck.
Eyelid Lift Surgery & Recovery
Cosmetic eyelid surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, and typically lasts from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending upon whether or not you are having another procedure performed at the same time. Depending on the extent of your eyelid surgery, you will be given general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation.
Most trained, board certified cosmetic surgeons today use advanced techniques that eliminate the need to bandage the eyes after surgery, although you may be given an eye lubricant that somewhat blurs your vision at first. When preparing for your surgery, it is a good idea to have some of your favorite music or audiobooks on hand to listen to as you spend the first few days resting at home.
During the first 1 to 2 weeks after eyelid surgery, patients commonly have some visible bruising and swelling, and your eyelids may feel unusually tight. However, most patients report feeling more soreness than pain. Using cold compresses and keeping your head elevated while you sleep can help alleviate discomfort.
Life After Eyelid Surgery
Most patients feel well enough to make short trips (do not drive yourself until your cosmetic surgeon gives you clearance to do so) after about a week, and return to their jobs 10-14 days after an eyelid lift.
It’s always important to follow your cosmetic surgeon’s instructions after any procedure, and after eyelid surgery you will have to make a few special but relatively simple modifications to ensure your newly rejuvenated eyelids heal optimally.
- Expect your eyes to get tired more quickly than usual for the first few weeks, and it’s important to let them rest as needed. If your job requires you constantly to be at a computer, consider resuming work part-time initially, then gradually increasing your workload as you continue to recover.
- You must protect your eyes from the sun and wind. Wear dark sunglasses with frames that provide plenty of coverage whenever you go outdoors, and follow your cosmetic surgeons’ instructions about applying sunscreen after eyelid surgery.
- You will have to avoid lifting, straining, and bending down to pick things up for up to 4 weeks after eyelid surgery. This can be an inconvenient restriction, but it is crucial that you do not induce sudden increases in blood pressure until your incisions have healed adequately.
Keeping Your Results Looking Their Best
With a healthy lifestyle and good skincare habits, the results of cosmetic eyelid surgery should last for years. With the excess, sagging skin gone, your eyes will always look better refreshed and more youthful than they would have without an eyelid lift. Likewise, if you have lower eyelid surgery, those puffy eye bags will be gone. While nothing can stop the normal aging process, your results will age naturally with you.
You can keep your eyes looking more youthful by wearing sunscreen daily, becoming or remaining a non-smoker, and practicing good nutrition and health habits. Non-surgical treatments, such as Botox or filler injections or skin resurfacing, can also help you touch up your youthful appearance by smoothing wrinkles around the face and eyes. Your cosmetic surgeon can recommend the treatment options that will best meet your needs.
When performed by a qualified cosmetic surgeon, eyelid surgery is a safe, rewarding procedure with long-lasting benefits. The best way to learn how eyelid surgery might help you is to consult with a board certified cosmetic surgeon. You can use our ABCS Find-a-Surgeon tool to find cosmetic surgeons in your area.