People think of blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) as a cosmetic surgery that creates younger looking eyes. While this is true, the reconstructive eyelid surgery is also helpful in improving the field of vision in those with excess sagging of the upper eyelids. Eyelid surgery cannot return you to having 20/20 vision, but it can help you see more of the world around you.

Why Do the Eyelids Droop?

During the natural process of aging, muscles weaken and skin loses elasticity. As this process progresses, skin begins to shift downward thanks to the pull of gravity. Generally, the biggest concern with the shifting skin is wrinkles, creases, and bags, but on the upper eyelids, the shifting skin may slowly obstruct the line of sight.

Sagging, also known as ptosis, can also be a congenital condition caused by a weak levator muscle. Eventually, ptosis can lead to peripheral vision obstruction that makes driving unsafe. It can also lead to headaches or neck pain from straining to see through the drooping lid.

What Happens During an Eyelid Surgery?

When correcting vision interference, eyelid surgery is typically performed on just the upper eyelid. After local anesthesia is administered, the surgeon makes an incision on the crease of your upper eyelid. Muscle and excess skin are trimmed to help correct the sagging. If there is excess fat, it can be repositioned or removed. The entire upper lid blepharoplasty takes about 45 minutes, but you do need someone to take you home once the plastic surgeon releases you.

What is the Recovery Like?

Following eyelid surgery, you will experience swelling and bruising. You can lessen these symptoms by using cold compresses and resting with your head elevated. If you have a recliner, you may find it effective to sleep in the chair rather than a bed.

Your eyes may feel dry, but your plastic surgeon will suggest lubricating drops that alleviate this issue. After a few days, you should be ready to resume light activities. Stitches are removed after five days, and once that happens, you simply need to avoid strenuous activities for a total of four weeks from the day of the surgery.

Will Insurance Cover the Eyelid Surgery?

You need to check with your insurance company. Many do cover the cost of an eyelid lift if you have a note from your physician stating that your vision was being obstructed and that an eyelid lift was needed to correct the issue.

Dr. Robert Kessler holds board certification in general and plastic surgery. He’s earned recognition as a surgical consultant on the television show Extreme Makeover and as a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon’s Public Education Committee. Prior to a consultation with Dr. Kessler, check out his patient’s blepharoplasty before and after pictures. To schedule an appointment, call the Newport Beach, California, plastic surgeon’s office at 949.644.6544.

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