Are You a Good Candidate for Eyelid Surgery?

By

Sarah Lewis, PharmD

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Skincare Concept

Eyelid surgery is the surgical removal of excess skin, muscle and fat in the upper and/or lower eyelids. It is often done for cosmetic reasons to improve the appearance of the eyelids. Sometimes doctors recommend eyelid surgery for medical reasons to improve vision. The medical name for eyelid surgery is blepharoplasty. 


Are There Other Treatment Options?

Botox® or fractional resurfacing may be an option for some people. Botox® injections can improve the appearance of the eyelids by creating a lift to the eyebrows. This can reduce skin sagging of the upper eyelids. Repeat treatments are necessary to maintain the results. 

Another option is fractional eyelift. The surgeon uses a laser to create a thin wound around the eyelid. As the wound heals, the skin around the eyelid becomes tighter. While these treatments can’t duplicate the results of surgery to remove excess skin, they may be an option if you have slight eyelid sagging and want to avoid surgery.

Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion before deciding on eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).

When to Consider Eyelid Surgery

You may want to consider eyelid surgery if you have excess loose skin on your upper and/or lower eyelids and it bothers you.

Your doctor may decide that you are a good candidate for eyelid surgery if:

  • You have excess fatty deposits that cause puffiness in the upper eyelids.
  • You have loose or sagging skin that causes folds or affects the natural contour of the upper eyelid, sometimes impairing vision.
  • You have excess skin and fine wrinkles of the lower eyelid, bags under the eyes, or droopiness of the lower eyelids.
  • Your general health is good.
  • You don’t smoke.
  • You have realistic expectations for improvement and not perfection.

Who Is NOT a Good Candidate for Eyelid Surgery?

You may not be a good candidate if:

  • You want to improve crow’s feet or uneven eyes.
  • You have drooping eyebrows. Eyelid surgery can make this worse.
  • You have symptoms of dry eye.
  • You have an eye infection or other eye diseases.
  • You smoke.
  • You have a severe illness or infection. 

Your Eyelid Surgery Consultation

Your plastic surgeon can tailor your procedure to your specific goals. But individualized care starts with a conversation. It’s vital to share your expectations with your plastic surgeon so he or she understands what you want. It also gives your surgeon the opportunity to guide you to realistic outcomes.

Before your consultation, write a list of questions you have for the surgeon. You may also want to write out your goals for your eyelid surgery. This will help you remember everything you want to ask and communicate effectively with your doctor.

Your doctor will examine your eyes and face, take pictures and measurements, and recommend a course of treatment. Ask your doctor why he or she thinks it’s the best option for you.

What to Expect

A surgeon will perform your eyelid surgery in a hospital, outpatient surgery center, or surgeon’s office. You may have general or regional anesthesia. You should be able to go home the same day as surgery. 

Your surgeon performs eyelid surgery by making incisions in the natural creases of your eyelids. This helps make scarring less noticeable. Then, the surgeon removes excess skin and delicately removes fat and surrounding connective tissues to create the desired results.

You will likely have small stitches and a lubricating ointment on your eyelids after surgery. This may make your vision blurry. You may also have a bandage wrapped over your eyes. Expect to rest and apply a cool compress to your eyes for a few days after surgery. You will not be able to drive after surgery. Arrange for someone to drive you home and to help with household work and errands.


Full recovery times take about 10 days. It may take several months for swelling to fully resolve and scars to fade.

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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Nov 1, 2016

© 2017 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Eyelid Surgery. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/eyelid-surgery.html#content
  2. Seckel BR. CO2 laser applications: new fractional and traditional CO2 laser resurfacing and CO2 laser blepharoplasty. In: DiBernardo BE, Pozner JN, eds. Lasers and Non-Surgical Rejuvination. Saunders Elsevier; 2009:11-24.
  3. The Nonsurgical Brow-Lift: Pleasing Patients and Diversifying Practices. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.aao.org/publications/eyenet/201009/oculoplastics.cfm?RenderForPrint=1&
  4. Ancona D and Katz BE. A prospective study of the improvement in periorbital wrinkles and eyebrow elevation with a novel fractional CO2 laser--the fractional eyelift. J Drugs Dermatol. 2010 Jan;9(1):16-21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20120420

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