Eyesight is one of the most important senses for our elderly population. Good eyesight allows them independence and freedom to drive themselves to activities and appointments as well as to read, sew, do puzzles or watch television. When eyesight deteriorates with age, so does their independence. Not all eyesight loss is unavoidable and a procedure called blepharoplasty can help.
The skin around the eyes is the most delicate and naturally thin. As we age, this skin stretches and the eye muscles weaken. This process happens slowly for some and does not affect every day life. For others, the situation is more serious. Drooping eyelids can compromise vision by up to 50% or more. Some blepharoplasty patients claim that before eyelid surgery, their eyelids felt heavy and they felt tired even after eight or more hours of sleep. Many never realized that their vision was compromised until having an eye exam.
If the above describes how you feel these days, sometimes it's time to make an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon and see if blepharoplasty can help you regain your full range of vision as well as help you feel and look more refreshed.
Eyelid surgery removes excess fat, skin and muscle from around the eyes. It is designed to correct drooping upper lids and baggy lower lids. Most vision problems occur when the upper lids droop into the field of sight.
Blepharoplasty will not remove lines or wrinkles and is not a fix for dark circles under the eyes. If line and wrinkles are also a concern for you, your cosmetic surgeon can talk to you about performing other corrective procedures in conjunction with your blepharoplasty.
The eyelid procedure itself lasts one to two hours and is usually performed under local anesthesia with IV sedation. If you're especially nervous about local anesthesia, you can discuss the possibility of general anesthesia with your surgeon.
After anesthesia has been administered, your surgeon will make small incisions in the crease of the eyelids and remove the excess skin and fat. The goal is to create natural-looking eyelids again and restore your full range of vision. The incisions are small enough that after healing is complete no one will notice the incision location.
After the procedure, you'll be drowsy from the anesthesia and will need someone to drive you home and stay with you the first night. Recovery is a gradual process but most people feel good enough to resume normal activities after seven to 10 days. Aside from the benefit of better vision, patients report feeling and looking refreshed and younger after eyelid surgery.
When eyelid surgery is considered necessary to restore vision, Medicare and most insurance companies will cover the costs associated with the procedure. However, if you choose to have other cosmetic procedures at the same time, like a browlift or facelift, you will be solely responsible for those costs.