Eyelid surgery to combat the signs of ageing


Consultant Mr Roger Smith looks at how eyelid surgery can help remove the noticeable signs of ageing.

The eyes are said to be ‘a window on our soul’ and they are certainly one of our most noticeable features. A glance, a wink or just a look can replace many words. As we age, the skin loses its elasticity and for the upper eyelids, this can result in loose skin collecting as deep folds. Deep creases can also form in the lower eyelids and fat can accumulate giving the appearance of bagginess. This can also unfortunately be an inherited tendency and bags can form early in adulthood before any skin changes are caused by ageing.

Many people notice this problem more in the morning as it can be exacerbated by a lack of sleep or a stressful and busy lifestyle. Once you are awake and up and about, the fluid that has settled in these areas during the night tends to disperse and drooping and bagginess is less noticeable.

You can tackle the problems of the upper eyelid with a procedure called upper eyelid blepharoplasty. This is carried out under a local anaesthetic.

The surgeon will make a cut along the natural crease above the eyelid, and remove any excess tissue around the muscle. With this procedure, only the wrinkles in the skin which is cut away will be removed and the area treated will be within the margins of the eye socket. Skin folds extending to the cheek will not be improved by this procedure and wrinkles commonly called crows feet or laughter lines will remain. It is therefore important to discuss fully with your consultant what you would like to achieve and they can advise you fully before you decide to go ahead with this type or procedure.

Once you have fully recovered, this type of procedure can help to make it easier to apply make up and people who have undergone the surgery say they have more self confidence and higher levels of self esteem.

Lower eyelid blepharoplasty is usually carried out under general anaesthetic. The surgeon will make a cut below your eyelashes, and remove or redistribute any excess tissue around the muscle. This can help to tighten the skin and reduce wrinkles.

Both operations usually take between one hour and 90 minutes. Once completed you will return to your own room. Patients who have undergone upper eyelid procedures may be able to go home on the same day. For patients who have had lower eyelid surgery, it is likely that an overnight stay will be needed. You might need to use ice-packs on your eyes for the first couple of days to help reduce any swelling and you can also use eye drops to relieve any discomfort. The nursing team will be on hand to give you all the guidance you need after your procedure and to answer any of your questions about your recovery.

You should not drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours after the operation. Other things to avoid during the first few weeks:

  • strenuous exercise
  • bending forward
  • bright sunshine
  • alcohol

You will also benefit from sleeping with your head raised on a pillow. Improvements are usually noticeable after a few weeks when any swelling has gone down and the skin has returned to normal.

For a consultation, call us on 01622 237 726 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk