What is Upper Eyelid Blepharoplasty?

J.M. Willhite

Upper eyelid blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure to alleviate eyelid sagging. Aside from cosmetic reasons, this outpatient procedure may be performed to improve one’s ability to see when excess skin impairs peripheral vision. As with any medical procedure, upper eyelid blepharoplasty does carry some risks for complications and these should be discussed during consultation with a qualified health care provider prior to scheduling this surgery.

Eyedrops may ease irritation following the surgery.
Eyedrops may ease irritation following the surgery.

Eyelid drooping may manifest to varying degrees, presenting itself as either an intermittent or progressive condition. If there is a disease, such as myasthenia gravis, upper eyelid drooping may occur progressively and contribute to the impairment of one’s vision. Aside from the natural aging process, other factors that may contribute to the onset of upper eyelid drooping may include nerve damage and the presence of a stye or other unusual growth that causes tissue swelling.

The presence of a stye can cause upper eyelid drooping.
The presence of a stye can cause upper eyelid drooping.

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Individuals who undergo an upper eyelid blepharoplasty are usually given an intravenous, anti-anxiety medication to relax them during the procedure. Performed with the use of a local anesthetic that is injected in the lid of the affected eye, small incisions are made into the eyelid to allow for the removal of unnecessary tissue. Sutures close the incisions and medicated ointment is applied to prevent dryness. A bandage is then placed over the eye to keep it protected and free of airborne, environmental contaminants and bacteria.

Stitches are generally removed within a week of an upper eyelid blepharoplasty. Individuals are usually instructed to use medicated eyedrops to reduce irritation and discomfort in the subsequent days and weeks. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience side effects, such as light sensitivity, burning and itching, that usually subside within a few weeks. Over-the-counter (OTC) analgesic medications may be used to alleviate discomfort.

Eye bruising following surgery will generally fade within a few weeks. Though the eyelid may possess an irritated, or pink, appearance for several weeks following this outpatient procedure, scarring will usually fade. Depending on one’s medical history, some individuals may possess an increased risk for the development of complications.

Individuals who undergo an upper eyelid blepharoplasty may experience eye irritation and excessive teariness or dryness following surgery. It is not uncommon for some people to develop swelling, double vision or have difficulty opening and closing the affected eye. For certain individuals, excessive bleeding may adversely affect the healing process by promoting permanent, visible scarring and increasing one’s risk for blindness.

Surgery may be performed to remove excess tissue of the eyelids.
Surgery may be performed to remove excess tissue of the eyelids.

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