Cosmetic eyelid surgery is a surgical procedure designed to improve the appearance of the upper or lower eyelids or both. Its goal is to give a more rested, alert and youthful appearance to the area surrounding your eyes. It is an individualized procedure best done in healthy people who have clear and realistic goals about what they want the surgery to achieve.

Eyelid surgery can help to eliminate loose or sagging skin that creates folds or distorts the natural contour of the upper lid, sometimes impairing vision. It can remove the excess fatty deposits that make the upper lids look puffy. It can correct bags under the eyes and improved the excess skin and fine wrinkles of the lower eyelid. On some occasions, it can correct droopiness of the lower lid.

You must tell your doctor if you are a smoker or have medical conditions which affect the eyes or eyelids. These include glaucoma, a dry eye, a detached retina, thyroid conditions such as Graves disease or an over or under active thyroid, cardiac disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

The surgical procedure is done through incisions which are designed to be hidden in the natural structures in the eyelid region. Through these incisions, excess fat and excess skin can be removed and tightening of tissue and muscles can be performed.

The results of surgery are seen after the intial bruising and swelling have subsided. The goals are to achieve a smoother and better defined eyelid with a youthful and more alert appearance.

Deciding to have eyelid surgery is a very personal decision and should be determined following a thorough conversation with your plastic surgeon. The goals of what you want to achieve should be balanced against the potential risks and complications of surgery. You and your physician should then come up with a specific plan for the procedure.

Possible risks of eyelid surgery include unfavorable scarring, temporarily blurred or impaired vision, dry eyes, difficulty closing the eyes, lid lag or a pulling down of the lower lid which is often temporary, ectropian, or rolling of the eyelid outwards, bleeding, infection, fluid accumulation, blood clots, numbness and other changes in sensation, anesthesia risks, eyelid disorders that involve abnormal position of the upper eyelids, loose eyelid skin, laxity of the lower lid, pain, skin discoloration and swelling, sutures which may come through the skin and produce irritation, the need for revision surgery, loss of eyesight, deep vein thrombosis and cardiovascular and lung complications.

Most patients are happy with this procedure and achieve a more youthful, rested appearance. However, the operation will not prevent aging naturally, and lifelong sun protection is helpful to maintain the results.

*a portion of this information was paraphrased from a publication of the American Society for Plastic Surgeons.