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Eye-Opening Surgery: Eyelid Surgery Options

Are people constantly asking if you are tired even though you feel well rested? Eyes are often the first area to show signs of aging, so imperfections such as excess eyelid skin/bags underneath the eyes result in comments about looking tired.

Excess eyelid skin (dermatochalasis), droopy eyelids and eyelids that turn inward and rest on the lashes (entropion) or outward (ectropion) are common problems that change the appearance of the face. These changes can affect the way you see, especially in loss of peripheral vision. A significant cosmetic improvement of the face is possible with eyelid surgery.

“Anyone that raises their eyelids to see better, can see eyelids on their lashes, is noticing they miss things in the peripheral vision or that their eyes get tired easily, is probably a candidate for functional Blepharoplasty (upper/lower eyelid surgery) or Ptosis surgery,” says McFarland Clinic Ophthalmologist Linda Lehman, MD. If you don’t like your eyelid appearance, you may choose to have excess tissue removed surgically. This is cosmetic blepharoplasty.

Upper eyelid Blepharoplasty will remove excess tissue from the upper eyelids and is generally very effective at restoring peripheral vision.  It may also decrease strain of the forehead and neck caused by lifting the brow or tilting the head back to see well.

A consultation appointment is the first step in determining whether eyelid surgery is for you. “At the appointment, field of vision (area that can be seen when eyes are kept fixed in one direction) will be measured,” says Dr. Lehman. “During the appointment for cosmetic or functional surgery we address your concerns and let you know what is possible and realistic.”

Insurance companies may cover the cost if the surgery will significantly improve the field of vision or reduce irritation of the eyelid tissue. If submitting the surgery to your insurance company, the results of the field of vision test, patient photographs and office notes are sent.

Preparation for eyelid surgery is relatively simple. “A pre-operative appointment is required; as is cessation of certain medications (e.g. aspirin) two weeks before the procedure,” says Dr. Lehman. “Smokers should also try to quit or decrease smoking before-hand.”

Eyelid surgery does not require an overnight stay at a hospital. Recovery time after eyelid surgery varies; most people can resume normal activities after three to five days. Bruising and swelling may last up to two weeks or longer. ”After surgery, keep the eye area cool and keep your head above your heart when resting to help reduce swelling,” says Dr. Lehman. After completely healed, the results are noticeable.  Eyes are also restored to a more youthful, awake appearance and peripheral vision is improved.

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