Eyelid Blepharoplasty

Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, removes excess skin and fat and may tighten the muscles above or below the eyes. It is often used to:

  • Provide a firmer, smoother or more youthful appearance to the skin above and below the eyes
  • Eliminate puffiness or "bags" under the eyes that may cause patients to look "tired"
  • Eliminate drooping skin above the eyes that may interfere with field of vision 
  • Insert a crease in the upper eyelids; often requested by patients of Asian heritage

Blepharoplasty is not intended to get rid of crow's feet or dark circles under the eyes.

This surgery involves making incisions in the upper and/or lower eyelids; removing excess fat and skin; and tightening any drooping muscles before closing the incisions.

Some patients may benefit from a type of lower lid surgery where the incision is made inside the eyelid, which avoids a visible scar. This is called transconjunctival blepharoplasty. This procedure typically removes only fat and not skin, so it is often done in younger patients, who may have excess fat without sagging skin.

Surgery and Recovery Times

  • The surgery typically takes 1 to 3 hours. Patients typically go home the same day.
  • Patients generally are able to read or watch TV within a few days and may return to work and light activity in 7 to 10 days. 
  • Strenuous activity or wearing contact lenses may be restricted for 2-3 weeks after surgery. 
  • Swelling or bruising usually goes down in 1-3 weeks, and scars take about 6 months to heal and fade.

Risks and Side Effects

All surgery poses certain risks. Your surgeon will fully disclose to you the specific risks associated with your procedure and your current state of health.

It is normal to experience some temporary side effects immediately after blepharoplasty, which may include:

  • Soreness, tightness, swelling or bruising in the eyelids
  • Dry, burning or itchy eyes
  • Runny or watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Styes or pimples around the incisions

Although they are rare, more serious complications such as bleeding or infection or even blindness (extremely rare) may occur. Lower lid surgery can occasionally lead to ectropion, or drooping of the lower eyelids, which may require further surgery to correct. To minimize the chances of complications, it is important to carefully follow your doctor's instructions, before and after surgery.

Duration of Results

Results may last from several years to permanently, depending on the patient's age and condition.

Special Conditions

Patients with the following conditions may not be good candidates for this surgery. Please be sure to discuss these conditions fully with your plastic surgeon, so that he or she can help you to make the right decision for your health and safety.

  • Detached retina
  • Diabetes
  • Dry eyes or problems producing tears
  • Glaucoma
  • High blood pressure or heart disease
  • Thyroid problems

Smokers may also have a higher risk of improper healing.

Related Locations