Rejuvenating Eyes

Sydney plastic surgeon Dr Darryl Hodgkinson explains how eyelid surgery can rejuvenate and refresh an aged appearance.

The ageing eyelid

With age, the skin around the eyes becomes wrinkled, and certain racial characteristics, excessive expression, allergies and sun exposure all contribute to droopy lids. Crow’s feet and heavy, baggy eyelids can create a wornout, bedraggled and unkempt appearance. Patients often report being told by their partners, associates or friends that they look tired or worn out, when in fact they feel great.

Removal of excessive eyelid skin and improvement to wrinkles around the eyes can be achieved by eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty. If wrinkles alone are the problem and not excessive skin or fat, anti-wrinkle injections can delay the need for surgery.

Persons with visual occlusion or excessive skin which obstructs vision, as assessed by an ophthalmologist, are also candidates for blepharoplasty. A Medicare benefit is applied if the eyelids hang down so low they are touching the eyelashes and the patient’s vision is restricted.

How is the procedure performed?

Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is a procedure to remove excess fat and skin from the upper and lower eyelids. It is performed either under twilight or general anaesthesia, typically on an outpatient surgical basis.

The skin and fat is gently removed from the eyelid area, which is re-fashioned to produce a more youthful, refreshed and attractive appearance. In the lower lids, bulging fat is removed, alleviating the ‘bagginess’ and reducing dark rings under the lids.

Once the patient returns home, an ice pack on their eyes and a moderate amount of analgesia is all that is typically required. Stitches are usually removed after five to six days.

Double eyelid surgery

In the Oriental patient, a new fold or double eyelid fold can be created, which gives a more open and much appreciated improvement in appearance of the eyelid for the Oriental patient.

Before and after double fold eyelid surgery by Dr Hodgkinson
Before and after eyelid surgery by Dr Hodgkinson

Preparation & recovery

Bruising and swelling are unpredictable but usually resolve within around 7 to 10 days, and scarring from the incisions is rare. Patients must have a thorough medical check before the procedure to make sure they are not at high risk of bleeding, after which they can mostly be reassured that a fairly smooth post-operative period is anticipated. Patients can usually return to work after around one week.

It is critical that a blepharoplasty is performed by a highly experienced surgeon as the eye must retain a natural shape and be able to close normally after surgery. For the right candidate, eyelid surgery can refresh and rejuvenate a tiredlooking appearance.