Did you know that ptosis, or drooping of the upper eyelid, affects an estimated 4.7% to 13.5% of adults worldwide? That may seem like a small range, but it translates to millions of affected individuals.
Unfortunately, ptosis, also known as blepharoptosis, can cause more than a sleepy appearance. According to studies, severe, even moderate blepharoptosis can cause poor visual function. It can also worsen headaches and may even lead to depression.
Fortunately, there’s a way to fix drooping eyelids: blepharoplasty.
We’ll cover the facts you need to know about drooping eyelids and blepharoplasty below, so be sure to read on.
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What Causes Drooping Eyelids?
In adults, blepharoptosis is usually an acquired condition resulting from age. It occurs when the muscle in the upper eyelid stretches or pulls back from the eyelid.
While aging is one of the most common causes of drooping upper eyelids, an eye injury can also lead to ptosis. It can also occur as a side effect of some eye surgeries.
What Is Blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty is surgery for drooping eyelids. It may involve the removal of excess fat, muscle, or skin in the upper eyelid.
While blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure, it’s safe and effective for treating ptosis. Indeed, surgeons in the US performed 325,112 eyelid surgeries in 2020 alone.
Can Blepharoplasty Fix Drooping Lower Eyelids?
Are your lower eyelids drooping too? If so, then what you have is ectropion on top of blepharoptosis. It’s similar to ptosis in that the eyelid also sags away from the eye.
Fortunately, according to this resource, blepharoplasty also works on drooping lower eyelids.
You might be wondering why you’d want to get ectropion treated if it only affects the lower eyelids. The chief reason is that when your lower eyelids droop, it exposes the inner eyelid. That can then lead to eye irritation, dryness, and redness.
Over time, ectropion can make you more prone to conjunctivitis (eye infection). If that happens, your eye is at risk of developing icky pus or fluid build-up.
Moreover, untreated ectropion can result in complications like corneal abrasions and ulcers. Ultimately, all those problems can impair your vision. It might even lead to permanent vision loss or blindness.
How Does Blepharoplasty Work?
Blepharoplasty is often an outpatient procedure, so you don’t have to sleep at a hospital.
Before the procedure, your surgeon cleans your eyelids. Then, your doctor injects a numbing agent into them. You may also receive an intravenous medication to help you feel more relaxed.
Once the numbing agent takes effect, your surgeon begins the surgery. If you’re having upper and lower eyelid surgery, the upper lids usually go first.
Your doctor begins by making an incision along your upper eyelid’s skinfold. The surgeon then removes excess fat, muscle, and skin and closes the cut.
After doing your upper eyelids, your surgeon can then make a tiny cut below the lashes of each lower eyelid. The incision can be inside the lower lid or below the eye’s natural crease.
Next, your doctor removes excess fat, muscle, and skin from the lower eyelids. Your surgeon may also redistribute some of these components. Once done, tiny stitches close the incision.
After the surgery, you need to spend some time in the recovery room of the surgeon’s clinic. Here, your doctor or another medical professional monitors you for complications. If you feel okay, you can go home after a few hours.
Is Blepharoplasty Always Considered Cosmetic?
Not all the time! Eye doctors can sometimes consider them medically necessary.
An example is if your drooping upper eyelids already impair your vision. In that case, the impairment can affect your ability to read, work, and drive. Moreover, your risks of developing anxiety or depression may increase.
Older adults may also experience all of those complications. However, they can be in even more danger as vision impairment can raise their odds of accidents. That includes slips, trips, and falls, leading to bone fractures.
As discussed above, drooping lower eyelids can lead to chronic eye infections. In such cases, your eye doctor may deem lower eyelid surgery medically necessary.
Is Blepharoplasty Painful?
The procedure isn’t since your doctor gives you numbing and relaxing agents. Your surgeon doesn’t start the surgery until you’re numb and feel relaxed.
However, you might feel some slight pain or discomfort after the surgery. That’s normal since the meds that helped you feel numb and more relaxed start to lose effect. Moreover, the unpleasant sensations are usually just temporary.
If you don’t have high pain tolerance, let your surgeon know. That allows your doctor to prescribe pain medications you can take at home.
You might have to take acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, as other pain drugs may cause more bleeding.
You may also experience temporary light sensitivity and blurred vision. You can reduce these symptoms’ severity by wearing dark-tinted glasses as you recover.
Your doctor may also recommend a cold compress. That can help ease slight swelling and bruising on your eyelids after the surgery.
Your surgeon will ask you to return to the clinic after a few days. During this appointment, your doctor will ask you about your vision and how your eyes feel. Be honest and talk about any signs or symptoms you may have experienced.
Your surgeon will also check your eyelids and remove the stitches if needed.
You’ll still need to protect your eyelids and eyes from too much sun exposure for at least one to two more weeks.
After two to three weeks from the date of your surgery, your eyelids should have recovered. You can wear your regular sunglasses at this point.
Get Your Drooping Eyelids Fixed ASAP
Remember: Drooping eyelids aren’t only an aesthetic issue; they can put your safety at risk. Besides, you don’t want to deal with impaired vision, as even just a slight loss can make your life harder.
So if you have ptosis, ectropion, or both, seek an eye doctor or surgeon ASAP.
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