What is blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is a type of surgery to remove excess skin and fat from the upper and lower eyelids. It may be done for cosmetic reasons or because the extra skin blocks a portion of the person's vision. An automated visual field test can determine vision loss and is required by many insurance companies to prove that the surgery is not for cosmetic reasons. The weight of the excess skin can cause brow ache and, occasionally, can cause eye lashes to turn in and irritate the eye.

How is the surgery performed?

Your doctor will determine the amount of skin and fat to be removed and mark the incision area with a special marking pen. The incision lines typically extend into the "crow's feet" or "smile lines" at the outer edge of the eye so that the incision lines are less visible when healed. The excess skin and fat are removed and the incisions are sutured closed. Usually the surgery is performed in the office and a local anesthetic is injected into the eyelids. Valium is typically given prior to the procedure.

What will the results be and what are the risks?

Generally, the results are very good. However, surgical outcome will depend upon the extent of corrective work, the skin structure and healing process, hereditary factors, age and other physical characteristics. Since medicine is not an exact science, there is the chance that the surgery may not work at all or that further surgery may be needed to obtain desired results. As with any surgery, risks do exist, although they are rare. Risks include hemorrhage (bleeding), infection, and, very rarely, blindness. If possible, you should discontinue taking aspirin or other blood-thinning medications at least one week before surgery to minimize the amount of bleeding during surgery.