Eye Lift: Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

The eyes are often one of the first areas of the face to show signs of aging. Excess skin, drooping, and under-eye fat pockets can cause a person to look sad, tired, angry, and older than they are. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, can remove excess skin from the upper eyelids and reduce bagginess from the lower eyelids, a procedure known as an eye lift.

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At Cincinnati Eye Institute, we are proud to feature a team of expert oculoplastic surgeons who are specially trained to perform cosmetic eye procedures on the fragile, delicate tissues of the ocular area. We can help you achieve comprehensive rejuvenation of the eye area with eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) alone or in combination with another procedure such as a brow lift.

Benefits of Eyelid Surgery

Blepharoplasty can restore the appearance of firm, smooth skin around the eyes when the muscles and tissues of the eyelids become weakened by age, weight gain, and other factors.

A blepharoplasty is ideal for correction of the following:

  • Loose or saggy upper eyelids that may interfere with vision
  • Fat deposits that make eyelids look puffy
  • Bags under the eyes
  • Lower eyelids that sag, exposing the whites of the eyes below the iris
  • Lower eyelids with excess skin
  • Wrinkles or fine lines in the lower eyelids1

Blepharoplasty Results


Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery

Blepharoplasty is an outpatient procedure that lasts between 45 minutes and 2 hours, and is generally performed under local anesthesia with sedation. Patients can opt to have upper and lower blepharoplasty performed at the same time for more pronounced results.

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Upper Eyelid Blepharoplasty

Upper eyelid surgery can address:

For upper blepharoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision along the natural crease of the upper eyelid. Next, the surgeon removes fat deposits and excess skin and tightens the muscles of the upper eyelid.

Lower Eyelid Blepharoplasty

Lower eyelid surgery can address:

For lower blepharoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision below the lower lash line to remove excess skin.

In some cases, a patient who has excess fat under the eyes may benefit from a transconjunctival blepharoplasty. In this procedure, the fat is removed through an incision inside the lower lid. This procedure does not leave visible scars.

Eyelid Surgery with Brow Lift

For more complete rejuvenation of the eye area, many patients might consider combining blepharoplasty with a brow lift (browplasty), sometimes referred to as a forehead lift.

In many cases, a droopy upper eyelid can only be partially rectified by a blepharoplasty procedure. During a brow lift, the position of the brow and upper lid are raised and additional excess skin is removed from the upper lid. Not only does raising the position of the brows and lids help to create a more youthful and refreshed appearance, but it can also make a person appear more alert, positive, and more expressive overall.2

Functional Eyelid Surgery

If the eyelids begin sagging into the field of vision, a functional blepharoplasty may be required. The procedure may be covered by medical insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. A determination of how much vision is affected is done by checking the peripheral visual field with an instrument called the Humphrey Visual Field (HVF) Analyzer.3

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Eyelid Surgery Recovery

Following a blepharoplasty procedure, patients find that using lubricating eye drops and applying cold compresses to the area helps ease side effects and induce optimal healing. We encourage our patients to avoid strenuous activity for a couple of weeks, though most feel comfortable returning to work when their stitches are removed after 3 or 4 days.

It is important that patients refrain from wearing eye makeup or contact lenses for the first 2 weeks after blepharoplasty, and we advise wearing dark sunglasses to reduce exposure to the elements.

Bruising and swelling may be present following eyelid surgery, but this will gradually subside and patients will notice that the appearance of their eyes will continue to improve for up to one year. Over time, blepharoplasty scars fade to the extent that they are undetectable.

happy middle age man

Although the eyelids are still subject to aging, blepharoplasty produces long-lasting results.

Side Effects of Eyelid Surgery

Side effects of eyelid surgery are rare, especially when the procedure is performed by an experienced oculoplastic surgeon (an eye surgeon who specializes in cosmetic procedures). Complications and side effects of blepharoplasty may include:

  • Anesthesia reactions
  • Infections
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Temporary changes in tearing
  • Eye irritation
  • Poor healing

Who is a Candidate for Eyelid Surgery?

The ideal candidate for blepharoplasty is:

  • In good overall health
  • A non-smoker
  • Free from serious eye conditions

People with certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, eye disease, diabetes, or a thyroid disorder, may not be suitable candidates for eyelid surgery.

It is important for a patient to have realistic expectations before undergoing cosmetic blepharoplasty. Although the procedure can enhance the appearance and improve self-confidence, it does not radically alter the face.


Does this treat under eye circles?

Lower eyelid blepharoplasty can remove fatty deposits that cause under-eye puffiness and bags. While this procedure can also tighten the skin under the eyes, it does not treat dark circles that appear below the eyes.

Will my insurance cover?

If you are considering blepharoplasty, it is possible that the procedure will be covered by your insurance. When blepharoplasty is performed for functional reasons (if droopy skin impedes vision), insurance may cover all or part of the cost.

Why should I choose an oculoplastic surgeon for this procedure?

Unlike a plastic surgeon, who is trained to perform cosmetic procedures on all parts of the body, an oculoplastic surgeon is an eye surgeon who undergoes additional specialized training to perform aesthetic procedures on the delicate tissues of the ocular (eye) region. Not only does an oculoplastic surgeon possess the fine touch needed to manipulate the fragile skin in this area, but he or she is also highly skilled in avoiding complications that may affect the outcome of the procedure or even impact the patient’s eye health.

Interested in Eyelid Surgery or Rejuvenation?

If you are troubled by the appearance of saggy, droopy, or tired-looking eyelids, you might be an ideal candidate for blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery combined with a brow lift. During your consultation with a CEI oculoplastic surgeon, you will be fully educated about all options available to you. You and your doctor will then work together to arrive at the eye rejuvenation treatment plan that will help you achieve your goals. For more information on eyelid surgery and rejuvenation in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati areas, please contact CEI to schedule your personal consultation.

1 Mayo Clinic. Blepharoplasty. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/blepharoplasty/about/pac-20385174. Accessed November 17, 2020.
2 McCord, Clinton D. M.D.; Doxanas, Marcos T. M.D. Browplasty and Browpexy, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: August 1990 – Volume 86 – Issue 2 – p 248-254. Available: https://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Abstract/1990/08000/Browplasty_and_Browpexy__An_Adjunct_to.7.aspx. Accessed November 17, 2020.
3 American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS). White Paper on Functional Blepharoplasty. Available: https://www.asoprs.org/assets/docs/1%20-%20FINAL%20ASOPRS%20White%20Paper%20January%202015.pdf. Accessed November 17, 2020.

The doctors at Cincinnati Eye Institute have either authored or reviewed the content on this site.




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