What is it? Blepharoplasty (BLEF-uh-ro-plas-te) is surgery to repair droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, muscle and fat. As you age, your eyelids stretch, and the muscles supporting them weaken. As a result, excess fat may gather above and below your eyelids, causing sagging eyebrows, drooping upper lids and bags under your eyes. Sagging of the skin around your eyes can impair your vision. Blepharoplasty can reduce or eliminate such impaired vision.
SURGERY: Blepharoplasty is usually done on an outpatient basis. As with any surgery, blepharoplasty carries some risks, such as infection or reaction to anesthesia. Other possible risks specific to this surgery include; Temporary numbness of the eyelid, dry skin, irritated eyes, temporary vision changes, such as double vision, scarring, a very small risk of blindness due to bleeding behind the eye.
BEFORE SURGERY CARE:
1. Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as herbal supplements associated with increased bleeding. It’s best not to use these medications and supplements for two (2) weeks before and after surgery. Take only medications approved or prescribed by your surgeon.
2. Avoid exposing your skin to excess sunlight for one week before surgery and two to three (2-3) months after surgery.
3. Arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery if you’re having outpatient surgery. Plan to have someone stay with you for the first night after surgery.
AFTER SURGERY CARE:
After blepharoplasty a lubricating ointment will be applied to protect your eyes and prevent dryness. The ointment often may cause temporary blurred vision. You may also experience excessive tearing, light sensitivity and double vision just after the surgery. Your incisions will be red and visible at first, and your eyelids may be puffy and feel numb for several days. Swelling and bruising, similar to having “black eyes,” will likely last a week or more.
WOUND CARE: Ice packs or cold compresses applied to your eyes can help reduce swelling. If stitches were used, they’ll be removed in three or four days.
PAIN: Is usually minimal. You may be given a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, for mild discomfort, but remember to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.), other NSAIDs and herbal supplements that may increase bleeding.
Take the following precautions for a week after the surgery, unless advised otherwise by your doctor:
- Don’t lift anything weighing more than 20 pounds (9 kilograms).
- Avoid swimming.
- Avoid strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging.
- Sleep with your head raised higher than your chest.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for cleaning your eyes and using eyedrops.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, an unusual heart rate, new pain, bleeding or visual disturbance.