The field of cosmetic surgery has seen many advancements during the last few years. Not only has plastic surgery become more popular, but it’s also become safer and more accessible for the regular public. A review conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that 18 million people underwent plastic surgery in 2018, which is a quarter-million higher than 2017 numbers. Its rising popularity has led to a greater collective understanding of how plastic surgery can improve people’s lives. One type of surgery that’s grown more popular lately is the blepharoplasty.
As people age, they naturally lose elasticity in their skin. They can also experience changes in their facial fat distribution. Eventually, the natural aging process can lead to drooping, sagging upper and lower eyelids. Fortunately, droopy eyelids can be easily addressed with blepharoplasty.
What Blepharoplasty Is
Also called an eyelid lift, blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes excess eyelid fat and skin to tighten its appearance. Receiving this surgery can make a person look younger, so blepharoplasties are often performed for cosmetic reasons. They can also be used to help patients with certain vision problems. When blepharoplasty is performed to improve vision, it’s considered a functional rather than cosmetic blepharoplasty. When Dr. Wulc is performing eyelid surgery in Philadelphia for patients that come to him with such concerns, he makes an incision in the natural fold of the upper eyelid or close to the lash line of the lower eyelid. Then, he removes excess skin, fat, and muscle. After the patient’s complaints are corrected, the doctor closes the incision, and the patient will be directed to focus on their recovery.
Maintaining our vision is hugely important in the way we live our lives. Being able to see what we’re doing is practically mandatory for daily tasks such as driving, cooking, cleaning, and grooming. When our vision is affected negatively, it can have an equally negative impact on our quality of life. It’s normal to lose visual acuity as our eyes age. Sometimes, the aging process can affect the eyelids in a way that gets in the way of a person’s sense of sight.
Because blepharoplasties mostly address loose, sagging skin above the eye, they can also be used to correct vision impairment. The surgery can widen a person’s field of vision and also allow more light to reach the pupil. Many plastic surgeons who perform cosmetic blepharoplasties are also qualified to perform them for medical reasons. However, most people needing functional blepharoplasties will receive the surgery under the care of an ophthalmologist.
The most common medical reason for blepharoplasty is to eliminate loose skin that hangs over the pupil, which can limit the patient’s field of vision. Other medical reasons for blepharoplasty include:
- Excess fat/skin that makes wearing contacts or glasses difficult
- Irritated skin from extra folds
- Headaches from straining forehead muscles to raise eyelid skin
Many factors can exacerbate sagging eyelid skin. Genetics probably plays the most influential role in whether a person will need functional blepharoplasty in their lifetime. If you have parents or grandparents who have received a functional blepharoplasty to improve their vision, there is a very good chance you will need one in the future as well.
Ptosis is a medical condition that can also impair a person’s vision. Instead of loose, aging skin, ptosis is usually caused by weak eyelid levator muscles. These weakened muscles cause the entire eyelid to hang lower than normal. Ptosis can vary in severity from person to person, but surgery is usually the best treatment for most cases.
Rather than removing excess skin, ptosis surgery calls for the surgeon to tighten the tendons and muscles underneath the eyelid. However, this surgery might be performed in conjunction with blepharoplasty for optimal results, especially if the goal is to improve the patient’s vision.
Who Should Consider This Operation?
Regardless of whether the blepharoplasty is for cosmetic or corrective reasons, the same guidelines apply to prospective patients interested in the surgery. The ideal blepharoplasty candidate is a non-smoker in good overall health with realistic expectations.
Unfortunately, blepharoplasty isn’t the best solution for everyone. Certain conditions can make a person a bad candidate for blepharoplasty. People with glaucoma, dry eye, and diabetes are usually discouraged from undergoing any type of surgery. Also, people who are dissatisfied with signs of aging that extend beyond the immediate eyelid area might benefit from other cosmetic surgeries besides blepharoplasty, such as a facelift.
Whether you want to improve your vision or your overall appearance, the most important part of your blepharoplasty experience will be finding the right doctor. Dr. Allan Wulc at W Cosmetic Surgery is a quadruple-certified plastic surgeon with over 25 years working on eyelids and faces. If you’re ready to correct your sagging eyelids once and for all, contact Dr. Wulc to schedule your consultation today.