It’s all about the eyes – eye contact is one of the most powerful forms of communication and your eyes can express a wide range of feelings and emotions. Unfortunately, the delicate skin and powerful muscles around the eyes also makes them one of the first areas of the face to show the visible signs of ageing. Patients at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic often complain that their eyes are making them appear older, more tired and less attractive than they actually feel.
After breast enhancement, the blepharoplasty procedure or eyelid lift is the UK’s most popular cosmetic surgery procedure for its ability to transform and rejuvenate the face and this has now been confirmed by a new study that appeared in the JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Journal.
In the study, called A Dual Approach to Understanding Facial Perception Before and After Blepharoplasty, 401 participants were asked to rate the before and after photographs of ten women who had undergone a blepharoplasty procedure, comparing the perceptions of observers with patient reports. Observers were asked to focus on age, attractiveness, energy levels and overall health. Over 150 blepharoplasty patients were also asked to respond and rate their own experiences.
Overall, the results indicated that eyelid lift patients appeared 1.04 years younger. The post-op women were also deemed to be more attractive, healthier and energetic.
Cast your eye over these considerations
Although the eyelid lift is quite rightly a very popular procedure there are always important considerations you must take into account before decided to embark on surgery.
- What are the risks of an eyelid lift? All surgery comes with a degree of risk and these will be explained in full during your blepharoplasty consultation. Risks of eyelid surgery include problems associated with the anaesthetic, infection, dry or sensitive eyes or other eyelid problems, scarring, injury to the muscles around the eyes, temporary problems with vision and – very rarely – a loss of eyesight.
- Can I have eyelid surgery if I have dry eyes? The eyelids are essential for keeping the eyes moist and one of the risks of surgery is the onset of ‘dry eye’ or worsening of a pre-existing condition. This will be assessed before surgery and, if it is deemed safe to proceed, then a conservative approach in terms of how much tissue is removed must be adopted.
- Will I have to hide behind dark glasses for weeks after a blepharoplasty? Patients are often surprised to find that recovery from upper eyelid surgery is typically quicker than other forms of facial surgery. The skin on the eyelid is thin so usually heals very well. Lower eyelid surgery is often more complex with a correspondingly longer recovery time, requiring a greater degree of patience. Some initial bruising and swelling and bruising should be expected anyway, but the full resolution of swelling takes longer, particularly in lower lids. Avoidance of make-up at first and of exposing the eye area to direct sunlight to start with (use those shades!) is important for most rapid wound healing.
- Can eyelid surgery deal with the tear trough? The tear trough is the name for the hollow between the nose and the lower eyelid that is formed by the weakening of the lower lids and descent of fat in the cheek area. There are non-surgical treatments such as dermal filler injections which may be more suitable than surgery to improve the appearance of the tear trough.
- Is an eyelid lift the correct surgical approach? Often patients fixate on the eyes as their problem area, but I always assess the whole of the face. The brow typically descends as we age and that can be contributing to that tired or angry look around the eyes; in this instance, a lateral brow lift can make the eyes more open and rejuvenated.
Interestingly, the eyelid lift patients in the study themselves reported an increase in their perceived energy levels after they had undergone an eyelid lift, so the benefits of a blepharoplasty are not just in the eyes of the beholder. Upper eyelid lift in people with marked sagging of lid skin, in whom the eyes feel increasingly heavy and difficult to open as the day goes on, always experience a great sense of physical relief that is truly energising, as well as being able to see upwards and outwards much better as their physical ‘blinker has been removed. Very rewarding all round.