What is cosmetic eye surgery
The medical term is blepharoplasty and the main intent is usually removing excess skin around the eyes, thereby reducing the bagginess from the lower eyelids and removing excess skin from the upper. The result is a more youthful appearance which is the aim of almost all elective cosmetic surgery. You’ll also see it referenced as eyelid surgery or an eye lift. In the end, these, and more, are all types of cosmetic eye surgery. In this article we’ll talk about these and then go into a bit of detail of other types as well. One distinction to understand is the difference between “cosmetic eye surgery” and “functional eye surgery” or cosmetic blepharoplasty and functional blepharoplasty. The difference here is that one is cosmetic…elective…while the other is functional meaning it is meant to correct a condition that is degrading your vision or in some way affects your well-being.
Your eyes age (just like everything else)
As you age, I’m sure you have noticed that skin everywhere loses a bit of elasticity and tends to sag. You see this in many places on your body but one of the most noticeable is around the eyes. The upper eyelids droop and the lower eyelids turn into saggy bags. Another, less obvious cause, is the fat that surrounds your eye. This fat is meant to cushion your eye from your eye socket bone and can, over time, come forward due to the membrane holding it back stretching out. This results in some of that very localized puffiness you see – almost like a small hernia.
You’ll see a lot of television commercials showing how this can be rubbed out with various creams. The creams can work for a short period of time, in fact some results are nothing short of amazing. But for more permanent results, you may want to consider some form of the eye lift, or blepharoplasty.
Cosmetic surgery for eye bags
The most common cosmetic eye surgery is blepharoplasty, or the “eye lift”. When you hear about people having their eyelids reduced, this is what that is. It is by far the most common type of cosmetic eye surgery. Address “eye bags” or those “dark circles under the eyes” is what blepharoplasty is about. The process itself is considered one of the safer and most commonly performed cosmetic surgery. The cost is on the less expensive side when compared to other cosmetic surgery procedures, the recovery time is relatively quick, and the results are quickly seen.
Cosmetic surgery to change eye color
This is a procedure that is not done in the United States and anytime you hear that, you should take immediate caution. If it’s not performed here, there’s generally a good reason – regulations are in place to protect people from procedures that are deemed too risky. There are a few stories of successful eye color changes but the ones that were not successful are generally enough to make you cringe. These procedures are usually done either by injecting a silicone plate into the eye or by placing a plate in front of they eye. Neither is a good idea – you can get colored contact lenses if you want to change your eye color…these are a far better option. The negative effects of this type of surgery can lead to blindness – not worth the risk by any means.
Cosmetic eye surgery cost
Based on the 2018 survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost last year for cosmetic eye surgery was $3,163. Keep in mind that this is the surgical cost only and does not take into account the entire process such as anesthesia, operating room costs, etc. For a good breakdown of the various costs, see our our article that discusses plastic surgery costs in detail. Cosmetic eye surgery may be covered by insurance if the intent is to remove excess skin that is obstructing your visibility. If this is just “for looks”, then your insurance may not cover it.
Who can perform under eye cosmetic surgery?
As with other plastic or cosmetic surgery procedures, you want to do your research when selecting a surgeon. General plastic surgeons can perform these, as well as Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons. But the recommended surgeon for this procedure is the Oculoplastic Surgeon, which is a sub-specialty of ophthalmology. These are the surgeons with the most amount of experience working directly with the eye…nobody understands the eye better – so it makes sense to look into one for your eyelid surgery.
Preparing for eyelid surgery
Preparing for eyelid surgery is much like preparing for any other surgery – you’ll want to ensure you have a ride home, bandages, ice packs, pain reliever, etc. For more details, please take a look at our article on preparing for plastic surgery. This article gives a good timeline to follow as well as recommendations of items to have on hand during your recovery period.
Eyelid surgery recovery time
Those who have eyelid surgery recovery fairly quickly. The day of and the day after is when the swelling is the worst but it quickly resides. Use of ice packs are highly encouraged. Mild exercise such as walking can also speed up the healing process but, of course, consult your surgeon on this matter.
What are alternatives to cosmetic eye surgery?
Eyelid surgery tends to last about 5-7 years for upper eyelids while the bottom eyelids seldom need revision surgery. The normal recommendation after a period of time has passed and the upper eyelids are again showing age is a forehead lift rather than additional eyelid surgery.