Droopy eyelids are a major reason why some people consider eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) to remove and tighten excess eyelid skin for a more alert, youthful appearance. Sometimes blepharoplasty also can improve your vision by providing a less obstructed field of view, once droopy eyelids are improved.
Blepharoplasty can remove excess skin, muscle and sometimes fat from the upper or lower eyelids. In some cases, you might need only skin removed but not muscle — or you might need the procedure done on both upper and lower eyelids.
An upper eyelid blepharoplasty (sometimes called an “eye lift”) should not be confused with upper eyelid ptosis surgery, which is a procedure to raise the position of the upper eyelid margin by tightening the muscle and tendon that normally elevate it.
Blepharoplasty surgery sometimes can elevate an upper eyelid margin slightly if the heaviness of the excessive skin actually is “weighing down” the upper eyelid, causing it to droop.
Cosmetic eyelid surgery is a surgical procedure that is not medically necessary and is performed solely to improve your appearance.
Unfortunately, your upper and sometimes lower eyelids may become droopy or baggy as part of the aging process. Your eyebrows also may sag or droop as a part of the same process. The eyelid skin stretches, muscles weaken and fat pockets become more prominent as they bulge. This may be a hereditary condition that runs in your family.
Cosmetically, such conditions may detract from the overall attractiveness of your eyes and face and cause a tired or older appearance.
A number of different types of surgeons can perform cosmetic blepharoplasty. Ophthalmologists and oculoplastic surgeons (a surgical sub-specialty of ophthalmology) most commonly perform these types of procedures. However, general plastic surgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and ear, nose and throat surgeons also perform cosmetic eyelid surgery.
A functional blepharoplasty (in contrast to a cosmetic blepharoplasty) is eyelid surgery performed for medical reasons. In most cases, a functional eye lift is performed to remove loose skin from the upper eyelid if it droops low enough to impair your vision for driving or other visual tasks.
Another functional problem is difficulty wearing glasses or contact lenses, whether from baggy upper or lower eyelids. Other medical conditions that may require functional eyelid surgery include:
• Irritation from excess folds of eyelid skin rubbing together.
• Forehead discomfort from overused muscles that strain to lift sagging skin in the eyelid area.
As with cosmetic blepharoplasty, functional blepharoplasty most often is performed by ophthalmologists and oculoplastic surgeons. However, general plastic surgeons, ear, nose and throat surgeons, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons also perform medically necessary eyelid surgery.