With Nadia A. Kazim, M.D., F.A.C.S. –
Your eyes are usually one of the first things that people notice about you, as they are an extremely important aspect of your overall appearance. Young eyelid skin is smooth, but over time, many people develop excess eyelid skin. This usually occurs as the eyelid skin stretches and the surrounding fat bulges forward. Eyelid skin is the thinnest skin of the body, so it tends to stretch easily. Sun exposure, heredity, as well as age can all contribute to this degenerative process that occurs in both men and women. This can happen to the upper eyelids as well as the lower eyelids, which can cause the eyelids to look loose or baggy, sometimes to the point of changing your appearance, making you look older, tired or even angry.
Do you ever find yourself raising your eyebrows up in order to see more? The extra weight pushing down on the eyelids may sometimes lead to fatigue, eyestrain or headaches. In severe cases, the excess upper eyelid skin may hang over the eyelashes and limit peripheral vision. A visual field test is often performed in the office in order to determine the extent of the peripheral vision impairment caused by the drooping eyelids. Drooping lower lids can expose the lower surface of the eye which can cause irritation, dry eyes and may even prevent proper closing of the eyelids.
The surgical removal of excess eyelid skin and surrounding fat is known as blepharoplasty. The goal of a blepharoplasty is to give the eyes a more youthful appearance. In addition, it may eliminate visual obstruction of the sagging skin and expand the field of view, so that patients can see more up above and out to their sides. This can help patients with many of their activities of daily living, such as driving, shopping, reading or housework. You might consider blepharoplasty surgery if you have baggy or puffy upper eyelids, excess skin of the upper eyelid that interferes with their vision, droopy lower eyelids which may cause white to show below the iris (colored part of the eye), excess skin of the lower eyelids or bags under the eyes. If the upper eyelid droops close to the pupil – a condition called ptosis, blepharoplasty is done in conjunction with another procedure to tighten the muscle that raises the lid.
Blepharoplasty of the upper eyelid is typically performed through an incision hidden in the natural eyelid crease, resulting in an almost invisible scar. Lower eyelid blepharoplasty can be performed either through an incision on the inner surface of the lid (transconjunctival) or through an incision just below the eyelashes (external). The benefit of a transconjunctival blepharoplasty is that it allows removal of lower eyelid fat without an externally visible scar. However, it does not allow excess skin to be removed. External skin resurfacing with a chemical peel or carbon dioxide laser may be performed simultaneously, to smooth and tighten the lower eyelid skin. If there is excessive skin of the lower eyelid, then an external approach is preferred. The incision is closed with fine sutures.
Blepharoplasty surgery usually takes less than one hour, depending on the amount and location of tissue being removed and can be often performed as an outpatient procedure. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area around the eyes, which will also minimize bleeding and discomfort. This may be combined with intravenous sedation in order to relax the patient during the procedure. Blepharoplasty surgery may be covered by insurance if it helps to improve a patient’s vision.
Discomfort after blepharoplasty surgery is generally mild. Pain relievers may be taken for mild discomfort. Overall, blepharoplasty surgery can provide a more youthful appearance and functional improvement with minimal risk. For more information on blepharoplasty or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nadia Kazim, please call (239) 494-4900 today.