In 2015, eyelift surgery was in the top five cosmetic procedures chosen by men and women. Over 200,000 eyelifts were performed around the country during that time frame, which averages out to over 500 surgeries a day! Clearly eyelift surgery is popular, but why? It’s because an eyelift can make significant changes in your appearance by altering one small portion of your face. Addressing your aging eyes with eyelift surgery, or blepharoplasty, can make all the difference in how you look.
Why Aging Eyes Become an Early Problem
Your body ages at the same rate, but your eyes are usually one of the first areas to actual show the signs of it. There are several reasons for this. The first is that your face is constantly exposed, which means it is always encountering things that can damage your skin. Things like UV rays from the sun, environmental contaminants, or even the temperature can affect your skin. The second reason is that the skin around your eyes is especially thin, which means that it takes less time for damage and aging to penetrate. The third is that there are also lots of muscles around your eyes. They control how your eyes move and how your face shows different expressions. Every time those muscles contract, they move your skin in repetitive ways. Since the skin around your eyes is thin and continually exposed, these muscle movements make your eyes look older before other areas of your face.
Common Problems with Aging Eyes
The easiest way to consider the eyes is by splitting it into two main areas: the upper eyelid and the lower eyelid. There are different issues that can present within each area. In the upper eyelid, drooping eyes is a common problem. Because the skin around the eyes is so thin, it has a decrease in skin laxity early on. This means that your eyelid become looser and begins to sag a little bit. People with this problem tend to have bulging or droopy upper eyelids which make them look tired or angry. Fat deposits can also migrate or accumulate in the upper eyelid and contribute to this problem. In severe cases, the eyelid can actually droop low enough that it blocks your vision.
With the lower eyelid, there is usually more of a problem with the area under the eyes. Skin can begin to lose tightness in this area too, giving your baggy or puffy looking eyes. Fat deposits can also move down to settle in your lower eyelid or under your eyes and add to this appearance. For some people, the decrease in skin laxity and the migration of fat makes their eyes look hollow or gaunt, making them look ill and exhausted.
One of the most common problems with aging eyes that is almost always the first to show up is the appearance of wrinkles at the corners, or “crow’s feet”. These wrinkles appear first because you have very active muscles in this area. Every time you smile or get excited, these muscles contract and make folds in your skin, which eventually become wrinkles.
How Blepharoplasty Improves These Problems
An eyelift does what its name suggests – it lifts and brightens up your eyes. It’s not as simple as tightening your skin or pulling your eyes upward; if it were, it wouldn’t be nearly as effective. An eyelift surgery can be done on either eyelid, or it can be done on both simultaneously.
To lift the upper eyelid, an incision is made in the crease of the lid. If extra fat deposits are present, they can be removed through this incision. The muscles around the upper eyelid can be repaired or tightened if necessary. If the eyelid droops or sags because of extra skin tissue, that can also be removed by trimming away the excess. The remaining tissue can then be lifted and tightened back at the incision site.
To lift the lower eyelid, the incision is made right at the edge of the eyelid or inside the eyelid to keep it concealed. Extra fat and skin tissue can be removed in a similar way to the upper eyelid if the eyes are puffy or baggy. In the case of hollow or gaunt eyes, fat deposits can be repositioned so that they are back around the eyes to give you a healthier appearance. The skin is lifted and tightened back at the incision site just like with the upper eyelid.
Lifting and tightening your skin around the upper and lower eyelids will also improve the look of lines and wrinkles around the corners of your eyes. These could also be improved with additional or supplemental procedures.
Other Procedures Used with Blepharoplasty
It is very common for eyelift patients to get other procedures as a way to enhance the results of their eyelift. For example, patients with droopy upper eyes may also have a problem with skin tissue drooping from their eyebrows or forehead. A browlift is a procedure used to help correct this problem. Facelift surgeries are also commonly performed with eyelifts as they are a great complementary procedure. They help lift your face in addition to your eyes, which makes your whole face look younger and healthier.
Getting Started on Addressing Your Aging Eyes
If you have any of the issues discussed above, or if you have eyes that make you look older or tired, consider scheduling a patient consultation for blepharoplasty. A patient consultation is an opportunity to meet with a plastic surgeon and discuss your options for surgery. After assessing your eyes, the surgeon will go over your goals and help you determine the best way to reach them. Your consultation should be with a plastic surgeon who is qualified and experienced in eyelift surgery.
Dr. Paul Vitenas, M.D., F.A.C.S., is founder of Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery with over thirty years of experience in plastic surgery, including blepharoplasty. To schedule an initial patient consultation with him, contact his Houston office today at (281) 484-0088.