What is Blepharoplasty?

June 24th, 2014 by Carolina Eye Associates

Carolina Eye Associates

Dr. Jeffrey White, Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeon


 What is Blepharoplasty?

Answer:   A blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift, is a surgery to remove excess skin and fat from the upper or lower eyelids to rejuvenate the periocular region and to improve peripheral vision.

What causes the upper eyelids to droop and lower eyelids to develop loose skin or fat bags under our eyes?

Answer:  We all have fat around our eyes to protect the eyeball in case of trauma.  This fat “cushions the blow” and is not something that can be lost with a diet.  The fat can protrude as we age as the tissues that hold it in place stretch out.  The skin around the eyes, as with skin everywhere on the body, also stretches out and loses its elastic ability with age.  These changes are mostly determined by genetics and age, but can be modified by smoking, diet, and sun exposure.

What type of evaluation takes place before the procedure?

Answer:   Prior to surgery each patient will have a consultation to discuss goals and expectations of surgery.  They will also have a thorough examination of the eyes and measurements of periocular region to plan their individual treatment.  Pre-operative photographs and visual field testing may also be performed to determine medical necessity for the procedure.

What should patients expect during the upper eyelid procedure?

Answer:  Upper blepharoplasty is done under local anesthesia, so the patient may be mostly awake or may have IV sedation, but they will be able to cooperate with the surgeon during the procedure.  Typically the procedure will take 30 minutes or less and there should be no discomfort during the operation.

What should patients expect during the lower eyelids procedure?

Answer:  Lower lid blepharoplasty is similar to the upper lid procedure, but may take slightly longer to perform.

What should patients expect after the procedure?

Answers:   After the procedure patients are sent home and they will use ice packs to the eyelids for the first 48 hours.  Antibiotic ointment is applied to the incisions 3-4 times a day until the sutures fall out, which is usually about 10 days.  Most patients have some swelling and bruising and this typically worsens over the first 48 hours, and then improves day by day.  Swelling should be almost completely resolved by 2 weeks from surgery.  Patients can use their eyes normally in the post-operative period and typically there is only very minor blurring of vision, usually from ointment getting in the eyes.  Most patients do not have significant pain during the recovery process so they can resume almost all normal activities within a few days.

At Carolina Eye Associates, Dr. Jeffrey White is an oculoplastic specialist.  As one of only 500 in the world, his field includes both ophthalmology and plastic surgery.  His specialty covers the treatment and surgery of diseases and area around the eyes, including reconstruction of eyelids following tumor removal, repair of droopy eyelids/eyebrows, repair of tear duct obstructions, orbital fracture repairs, removal of tumors around the eyes and facial rejuvenation procedures.  Dr. White received his specialized fellowship in oculoplastic surgery and orbital oncology from the University of North Carolina.  He is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is also a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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