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What is eyelid surgery?

They say the eyes are the gateway to the soul. But aging, gravity and genetics can take their toll on the eyes. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the eyelids.

Eyelid surgery is often done in conjunction with a facelift or brow lift to achieve a more youthful appearance.

What to expect

During a thorough consultation, your physician will perform a physical exam, take a full medical history, ask you about medications you may be taking and any conditions you currently have, take photographs, and discuss your expectations for the surgery. In addition, you may ask your physician any questions and discuss concerns you may have about eyelid surgery at this time. Together, you will develop a treatment plan that’s tailored to your individual needs and desires. This may include additional procedures such as a brow lift and eye lift surgery.

There are two types of eyelid surgeries:

  • Upper lid surgery addresses the loose hanging skin of the upper eyelid. Excessive skin on the upper lids can impair vision. An incision is strategically placed so that the resultant scars are concealed within the natural contours of the eyelid. During the surgery, your surgeon will remove or reposition the fat deposits, tighten the muscles and remove excess skin.
  • Lower lid surgery addresses the fat deposits, or bags, under the eyes. In lower lid surgery, an incision on the inside or outside of the lower eyelid is made and excess fat is removed. No skin is removed during this procedure.


Complications from eyelid surgery are minimal and include those associated with any surgery, such as infection, excessive bleeding and anesthesia risks. In addition, risks for face-lift surgery include:

  • Eye dryness
  • Swelling
  • Temporary or permanent changes in vision
  • An outward rolling of the lower eyelid, called ectropion
  • Lid lag
  • Scarring


Right after surgery, lubricating ointment and cold compresses will be applied to your eyelids. In some cases, gauze may be applied loosely to cover your eyes.

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to care for your eyes, as well as any medications needed. Initially there will be some swelling, bruising and eye irritation.

Frequently asked questions

Will I need general anesthesia?

Depending on the type of eyelid surgery, you will need local anesthesia with or without sedation or general anesthesia.

How long do the results last?

Recent advances in plastic surgery have made eyelid surgery a relatively straightforward procedure with results that may last from five to 10 years or longer.

Can I wear makeup after surgery?

Yes. After a few days, bruising can be covered with special camouflage makeup.

Can I wear contacts after surgery?

You should talk to your physician about when you can start wearing contacts again.

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