The eyes are the so-called windows to the soul because they reflect what a person thinks and feels. They are also often one of the first areas to start to show signs of aging, from dark circles and wrinkles, to puffy bags and droopy lids. For that reason, blepharoplasty, or an eyelid lift, is often one of the first cosmetic surgeries people consider.
The cosmetic benefits of blepharoplasty are well known. The surgery can give you a brighter, more alert look with fewer bags and lines. Less known, however, are the functional benefits provided by the surgery. In fact, the surgery not only addresses the signs of aging around the eyes but can also help to improve the functionality of the eye area as well.
An Eyelid Lift Improves Vision
An eyelid lift can help a person see better by doing two things. Some people have a condition called “dermatochalasis.” It’s simply excess skin tissue in the upper or lower eyelids resulting in “baggy eyes”. The extra skin tissue might not be sufficient enough to cause any vision issues in some people. In others, vision becomes impaired so that it is hard to see.
Blepharoplasty can remove the extra skin tissue, dramatically improving a person’s line of vision. Although eyelid surgery isn’t covered by insurance when performed for cosmetic reasons, it often is when it helps to correct vision.
Eyelid ptosis is another issue that can be corrected with eyelid surgery. While dermatochalasis refers to excess skin, a person with ptosis is dealing with sagging skin caused by loose or lax muscles in the lids. The weakened or loose muscles make it difficult for the lid to lift fully, potentially obstructing vision. Some insurance companies also cover eyelid surgery when it repairs ptosis.
Blepharoplasty Can Improve Comfort
In some cases, an eyelid lift can improve or repair certain conditions that make irritation of the cornea or conjunctiva more likely to occur. For example, a person with entropion, or a lid that turns inwards, might regularly experience discomfort in the eyes.
In some instances, that discomfort can be related to the fact that the eyelashes are also pointed towards the cornea or eye itself. It’s also possible for a person to feel some discomfort or irritation when his or her eyelid turns outward, a condition known as ectropion.
Eyelid surgery repositions the inward or outward turning lid, reducing the chance of it causing any irritation to the eye. The repair also improves a person’s comfort level considerably.
An Eyelid Lift Can Repair Damage Caused by Injury
Lots of things can cause injury to the eye or eyelids. A few examples include surgery to remove tumors from the area, being struck by objects, and nerve damage to the surrounding area. Depending on the circumstances, an eyelid lift might help to repair the damage. If the eye is missing, an eyelid lift might be needed to allow the replacement eye or prosthesis to fit into the socket easily.
What to Expect During and After Blepharoplasty
Whether you’re having an eyelid lift to correct a functional issue, for cosmetic reasons, or for a mixture of both, it helps to know what to expect from the surgery. Typically, it takes about two hours. It’s fairly common for patients to receive general anesthesia during it.
A surgeon can perform an eyelid lift on just the upper lids, on just the lower lids, or on both during the same procedure. In either case, the incisions made during the surgery are typically positioned so that any scars are well hidden. For example, incisions in an upper eyelid lift are usually in the crease of the lid. Incisions made during a lower eyelid lift are often on the inside of the lid itself.
Recovery after the surgery typically takes about a week or two. During that time, you’ll want to rest your eyes and take it easy. You might find reading or looking at computer or TV screens to be too difficult as you recover. Don’t be surprised if you have some swelling or bruising, too. You can bring those down with cool compresses and by keeping your head upright.
Dr. Paul Vitenas regularly performs eyelid surgery at his accredited surgical center, the Houston Surgery Center. If you’d like to learn more about how blepharoplasty can help to not only improve your appearance but also your vision, call (281) 484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.