What is eyelid surgery?
Eyelid surgery usually refers to an eye lift, known as a blepharoplasty. A blepharoplasty can involve surgery all around your eye, including removing excess skin and fat from above the eye that can tend to droop over the eyelid as we age, as well as removing fat and skin from underneath the eyes. It may help with but not entirely remove ‘crow’s feet’ — those wrinkles that form at the outside corner of the eye. You may opt to have upper eyelid surgery, lower eyelid surgery or both.
What does eyelid surgery involve?
Your eyelid surgery will take one to three hours depending on how extensive your procedure is, and in some cases you may have to stay in hospital overnight.
Often the surgeon will work on the upper eyelids first, making incisions that follow natural creases where they can so that any scarring will be as inconspicuous as possible. Then the skin is separated from the underlying tissue so that the excess skin and fat can be removed. They may also reposition fat and tighten the muscles before closing the cuts with tiny stitches or surgical glue. On the lower eyelids, the surgeon will normally make the incision just below your lash line, but if they are only removing fat they may be able to cut inside the lower eyelid, which will conceal any scars. Sometimes laser resurfacing will then be used to soften fine lines.
What are the pros and cons of blepharoplasty?
If you have lower eyelid surgery or both lower and upper eyelid surgery, your surgeon may use a general anaesthetic, so you should be aware of the risks involved with this before deciding on treatment. Otherwise your procedure will be done under sedation and the surgeon will use a local anaesthetic.
Common complications of an eyelift include dry or watery eyes and a feeling of tightness. Rarer risks are infection, bleeding, abnormal colouring or position of the skin (sometimes preventing the eye from closing completely) and, in very rare cases, a potential loss of vision.
How long will I need to recover from eyelid surgery?
Dry or watery eyes are common and itching or tightness can make it difficult to sleep, but if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks you should contact your surgeon. You will need to avoid bending down or straining, and sleep with your head elevated to reduce swelling, but any swelling or bruising should subside within a fortnight. If you have had stitches, these will be removed 3 to 7 days after surgery.
Depending on the extent of your surgery and the nature of your job, you should be able to return to work one to two weeks after surgery.
How much does an eye lift (blepharoplasty) cost?
Prices for blepharoplasty range from £1200 — £5000 depending on whether you require surgery on both eyes, and whether you want both upper and lower eyelid surgery. Upper eyelid surgery starts from £1200 but lower eyelid surgery fees are higher because a general anaesthetic is given, and start from around £2200. The average cost of a complete eye lift for both eyes is around £4000.