Droopy eyelids and puffy bags under the eyes can make you look tired and older than you are. In some cases it can even interfere with vision.

Fast Facts

  • Eyelid Surgery accounted for 23 percent of total cosmetic surgical procedures performed in 2009 in Australia.
  • Wanting to look younger and less tired are the main reasons people choose to have this procedure.
  • Eyelid surgery is most commonly performed on people between the ages of 35 and 64.
  • Eyelid surgery usually takes 1 to 2 hours.
  • You need to keep your head elevated for a few days following surgery.

Eyelid surgery, also referred to as blepharoplasty, is a procedure that removes fat, excess skin and muscle from the upper and lower eyelids.

It is common to combine eyelid surgery with other procedures, such as a facelift or brow lift, to help get rid of other lines on the face. Offering combined procedures such as these is a rapidly growing trend in cosmetic surgery.

Eyelid surgery was a popular cosmetic surgical procedure among Australians in 2009, accounting for 23 percent of total cosmetic surgical procedures performed. Close to 15,000 eyelid surgery procedures took place in Australia that year.

Reasons for choosing to have eyelid surgery

People opt for eyelid surgery for a number of reasons. Wanting to look younger and less tired are the main reasons. In cases where the upper eyelids droop over the eyes, impairing vision, eyelid surgery is a necessity.

You are a good candidate for the procedure if you have

  • Sagging or loose excess skin on the upper eyelids, potentially impairing your vision.
  • Puffiness in the upper eyelids that make your eyes look tired.
  • Excess skin on the lower eyelids.
  • Crepe-like fine wrinkles on the lower eyelid.
  • Bags, puffiness or dark circles under your eyes.
  • Drooping lower eyelids.

Eyelid surgery is most commonly performed on people between the ages of 35 and 64. In the US in 2010, more than 80 percent of all eyelid surgery was performed in this age group. The remaining 20 percent was performed on over 65s.

What to expect

Eyelid surgery usually takes 1 to 2 hours; the amount of time needed depends on the extent of work required.

Incisions are made in the creases in the upper eyelids and underneath the lashes in the lower lids. Sometimes the incisions may extend beyond the outer corners of the eyes. Through these incisions, your surgeon will remove excess fat and trim excess skin and sagging muscles. The incisions are then closed with very fine sutures.

When the procedure is complete, your surgeon will lubricate your eyes with an ointment and apply a bandage. You should expect your eyelids to feel sore and tight when the anaesthetic wears off. You will start to bruise after about the third day following surgery. Bruises are usually gone a week or two after surgery. Your stitches will be removed after about five days, and the swelling and bruises will slowly diminish thereafter.

You will be able to watch television and read two or three days following surgery and can go back to work as soon as you are able to do these things.

Before and after surgery

There are things you can do leading up to any kind of surgery to improve the experience. There are also a number of things you can do following any surgery.

There isn’t anything special that you need to do before your eyelid surgery. If you wear contact lenses, however, you may want to have some glasses available. You will not be able to wear contacts for two weeks after surgery.

In addition to the general steps that can speed up the healing process, there are important things you must do to ensure the success of your eyelid surgery:

  • Keep your head elevated for a few days following surgery. You will need to sleep supported by pillows and sitting up as much as possible.
  • Use cold compresses to help reduce swelling and bruising on your face. A bag of frozen peas makes an excellent ice pack.
  • Your eyelids may feel dry soon after surgery, causing an itching or burning sensation. Eye drops will help soothe the discomfort.
  • Your eyes may be sensitive to light and you may experience double vision, blurring or other changes in your eyesight. Some people also have excessive tearing. Typically, none of these symptoms are permanent.
  • Make sure to wear sunglasses for 2 weeks after surgery to protect your eyes from exposure to wind, sunlight, dust and other irritants.

 Possible risks and complications

As with any surgical procedures there are risks involved in undergoing eyelid surgery. You should understand the risks you face before electing to have the procedure.

Familiarise yourself with the list of complications that could arise as a result of any surgery.

The best way to reduce risk is to find a fully qualified surgeon with formal training in eyelid surgery who has performed the procedure many times.

Your surgeon can tell you how to avoid or minimise potential risks as they apply to you.

Rough costs involved

The costs involved will vary depending on the surgeon, the facilities used and the extent of work involved.

Upper eyelid surgery usually costs between $2500 and $4000(AUD), including surgeon’s and assistant surgeon’s fees, anaesthetist’s fee, facility and hospital costs. Usually costs of all follow up visits are also included.

Total cost for lower eyelid surgery also ranges between $2500 and $4000(AUD). Both upper and lower eyelids can be lifted at the same time. You can expect this to cost somewhere between $4500 and $8000(AUD).

Some Australian private health insurers may help pay for the hospital bed and theatre fees. Getting a doctor’s referral may enable you to make a claim on these costs.

You should expect the costs to be higher if you are having combined procedures at the same time.

Read our article What Does Blepharoplasty Cost in Australia for more detailed information on all costs associated with blepharoplasty.

This information is correct as of 2019.

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