What is blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty, or dark circles surgery, is a plastic surgery operation aimed at correcting eyelid defects and deformities, or to aesthetically modify the region around the eyes. It often involves the removal of excess skin, muscle, and fat that accumulates around the eyes with age, causing sagging and the appearance of bags under the eyes.
Why is blepharoplasty done?
As we get older, our skin loses its elasticity and the eyelids are no exception. As they stretch, creating excess skin, and the muscles that support them weaken, excess fat can start to collect above and below the eyelids, causing drooping eyebrows and upper eyelids and bags under the eyes.
If this excess fat and skin prevents your eyes from opening fully, it can interfere with your peripheral vision, meaning that blepharoplasty may be done to improve vision. However, most cases (particularly operations on the lower eyelids) are performed purely for cosmetic reasons, as the removal of bags and dark circles has the effect of rejuvenating the face.
What does blepharoplasty consist of?
There are two ways to perform this surgery:
External route: A small cut is made under the eyelashes allowing the surgeon to remove excess skin, muscle, and fat. It is then sealed by a very fine suture that facilitates skin tightening.
Internal route: A small incision is made in the inner part of the lower eyelid, through which fat is extracted. Some surgeons do not even use a suture to close the incision, since this tissue heals easily by itself. The eyes are protected by an orbital metallic strip, which is inserted after the patient is under anaesthesia (local or general, depending on whether the blepharoplasty is part of a longer procedure).
The duration of the surgery is usually between 30 minutes and one hour, depending on the number of eyelids that will be operated on.
Preparation for blepharoplasty
Before the blepharoplasty procedure, you will meet with an ophthalmologist and/or plastic surgeon, who will take your medical history and discuss your expectations with you. You will also have to undergo a physical examination, an eye test, and photos will be taken of your eye(s). Smokers will have to stop smoking several weeks before the operation.
Care after blepharoplasty
Once the surgery is completed, an ointment will be applied to the eyes to lubricate them and in some cases, a soft bandage.
Patients may experience blurred or double vision, excessive production of tears, hypersensitivity to light, discomfort or pain, and some swelling and bruising for a short while after a blepharoplasty.
Your doctor may suggest that you take steps such as sleeping with your head elevated higher than your chest for a few days and using cold compresses on your eyes in order to reduce inflammation and bruising.
You will be informed if you are required to apply eye drops to keep your eyes hydrated. Oedema and bruising will gradually diminish until it disappears completely and you will begin to look and feel much better.