Why Consider Upper Eyelid Surgery?
There are several reasons why a patient may decide to move forward with this procedure. As a person ages, the muscles that support the upper lids weaken and stretch. This can cause extra fat to build up above and below the eye. As a result, patients may experience unwanted bags under eyes or excess skin on the upper lids.
Blepharoplasty of the upper lids can help resolve these issues and allow patients to feel more comfortable in their appearance.
In some cases, the drooping upper lid may hang over the eyelash, obscuring a person’s vision. This is known as “ptosis,” and in some cases it only inhibits peripheral vision, whereas in others, the eyelid can droop low enough to block the pupil and obstruct the vision completely.
Keep reading to learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive treatments for these conditions.
What Is Functional Upper Eyelid Surgery?
An upper eyelid surgery differs from a type of blepharoplasty that focuses on the upper lids. Whereas a blepharoplasty addresses the entire eyelid, an upper eyelid procedure corrects issues that affect only one area of the eyelid.
As a cosmetic surgery, upper eyelid blepharoplasty focuses on reducing and tightening excess eyelid skin, resulting in more natural, youthful-looking eyes. The treatment will raise the position of the upper lid, minimizing or eliminating the appearance of a droopy eye.
This procedure can remove loose skin from the upper eyelid for a more balanced look. Other issues that functional upper eyelid surgery can correct include:
- Excess folds of the upper eyelid skin that rub together to cause skin irritation.
- Overused muscles that strain to lift sagging skin in the upper eyelid area, resulting in forehead pain.
- Difficulty wearing glasses and/or contact lenses due to baggy upper eyelids.
What Is Upper Eyelid Ptosis Repair?
Ptosis refers to drooping of the upper eyelid, and it can cause the lid to partially or completely cover the pupil. An individual with ptosis may appear tired and sleepy, but most concerning is the patient’s impaired vision.
At the center of every case of ptosis is a weakened or damaged levator muscle, which is responsible for opening and closing the eyelid.
There are two common causes of ptosis:
- Congenital: People with congenital ptosis are born with an impaired levator muscle, which causes decreased or nonexistent function in the levator muscle. Children with congenital ptosis may angle their heads backward or to the side in an attempt to see better, which can cause neck issues. Congenital ptosis can develop into lazy eye, or amblyopia, if untreated.
- Involutional: With involutional or acquired ptosis, ptosis is not present at birth. There are five types of acquired ptosis:
- Aponeurotic: The levator muscle gradually stretches and detaches from the eyelid, usually because of advancing age.
- Neurogenic: Certain conditions, including myasthenia gravis, Horner syndrome, third nerve palsy, or stroke can damage the nerves that control muscle movement in the upper lids.
- Myogenic: Systemic muscular diseases, such as muscular dystrophy or chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (progressive weakness of the eye muscles), causes the levator muscle to weaken.
- Mechanical: The upper lid is pushed down by excess skin or a mass, such as a tumor.
- Traumatic: Ptosis occurs after an injury to the eye, previous eye surgery, or another type of trauma to the eye area.
If upper eyelid skin droops low enough to impair a person’s vision, a functional upper lid blepharoplasty can correct this problem.
Ptosis repair is designed to remedy ptosis by minimizing excess skin and fat in the upper eyelid.
Like cosmetic blepharoplasty, upper eyelid ptosis repair is performed by a facial plastic or oculoplastic surgeon like Dr. Azzizadeh. In many instances, ptosis treatment is performed by a surgeon who specializes in eyelid surgery.
What to Expect During an Upper Eyelid Procedure
The eyelids are delicate, making it important to find a surgeon experienced in performing upper eyelid procedures. Dr. Azzizadeh will take the patient’s medical history and note whether they have trouble with dry eyes, allergies, circulatory issues, glaucoma, diabetes, or thyroid problems. He will also sit down with a patient and ask what outcome they hope to receive from the surgery. Dr. Azzizadeh will be able to explain what to expect both before, during, and after the blepharoplasty, as well as describe how the surgery is performed and what risks or complications may arise.
During the planning phase, Dr. Azzizadeh will conduct a physical examination of the eyes and photograph them from several different angles. If a patient is receiving functional surgery to improve ptosis, Dr. Azzizadeh may ask for a vision exam detailing how the condition is interfering with the vision. This is especially important for insurance purposes.
An upper eyelid procedure can be performed at an outpatient surgery clinic or hospital. Dr. Azzizadeh performs surgery at one of two locations: the La Peers Surgery Center or the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He may provide a patient with general anesthesia to minimize pain during the procedure. Alternatively, a patient may receive local anesthesia to block pain and sedatives to relax throughout the surgery.
To perform an upper eyelid treatment, Dr. Azzizadeh makes an incision on the upper lid. The incision is made along the natural crease of the lid to limit or conceal scarring. Next, he repositions or removes fat, muscle, or skin before closing the incision.
An upper eyelid treatment can be completed in about two hours. Additional time may be required depending on the amount of fat, muscle, or skin that needs to be repositioned or removed.
Upper Eyelid Surgery Recovery
A patient can usually return home soon after a blepharoplasty. He or she receives postoperative care instructions to limit the risk of complications during the upper eyelid surgery recovery period. These instructions can include:
- Get plenty of rest in the first few days after surgery.
- Keep the head elevated while sleeping.
- Avoid putting pressure on the eye.
- Applying ice packs to the eye area throughout the day.
- Refrain from participating in strenuous activities for at least a week.
- Using glasses instead of contact lenses, if applicable, for two to four weeks post-surgery.
- Wearing sunglasses outdoors at all times to protect the healing area from the elements.
- Carefully clean the eyelids with any prescribed or recommended solution.
By taking care to follow Dr. Azzizadeh’s instructions, a patient’s healing process can go smoothly and normal activities can be resumed after the recovery period.
Patients may experience blurred vision in the days after surgery. The upper eyelid can become swollen and bruised, which is why it’s important to keep the head elevated and use cold compresses to reduce swelling.
The upper eyelid can also become stiff following a blepharoplasty. A patient can use lubricating ointment and/or drops for several weeks after treatment to manage upper eyelid dryness.
Patients will need to consult with a doctor at least one week after surgery to ensure that the upper eyelid is properly lubricated. It’s also crucial to complete regular follow-up appointments with the doctor until the upper eyelid can fully close.The total upper eyelid surgery recovery time lasts about one to two months. It can take four to six weeks for all of the swelling to subside.
A patient can typically return to work within five to seven days of functional upper eyelid surgery. A regular exercise routine can be resumed within two to three weeks of treatment.
Most patients achieve the full results of an upper eyelid procedure within a few months of treatment. Patients should periodically meet with Dr. Azzizadeh to ensure that recovery stays on course. If patients experience extreme pain or other severe side effects after surgery, they should seek medical attention immediately.
Who is a Candidate for Upper Eyelid Treatment?
Anyone considering upper eyelid treatment should meet with an eye doctor first. This allows potential patients to undergo an eye consultation and receive insights into how to correct upper eyelid issues. The patient can also learn about various eye surgeries and evaluate myriad treatment options.
In the event that an initial upper eyelid treatment does not deliver the intended results, Dr. Azizzadeh can help. Dr. Azizzadeh can evaluate a patient and address any upper eyelid issues.
To date, Dr. Azizzadeh has administered many upper eyelid treatments for patients from around the world. Dr. Azizzadeh also performs Asian blepharoplasty and other highly specialized eyelid procedures. Dr. Azizzadeh can assess a patient and determine their eligibility for an upper eyelid procedure. He can verify that a patient can achieve the full results of an upper eyelid treatment, too.
Explore Upper Eyelid Treatment Options with Dr. Azizzadeh
Dr. Azizzadeh can meet with patients who are considering upper eyelid treatment options. He offers in-person consultations in Beverly Hills, along with virtual consultations via Zoom. Schedule your consultation online or call us today at 310-620-3755.