Cosmetic eye surgery
Technically known as blepharoplasty, eye plastic surgery can be performed for both functional and cosmetic reasons. Most such procedures aim to reshape the upper eyelid, lower eyelid or both; they focus on the removal or reshaping of skin and tissue that interferes with vision or creates a look the patient finds aesthetically undesirable.
Eye Surgery Costs
As a rough guideline, you should expect to pay between about $4,000 and $7,000 for eye correction surgery. If your eyelid skin poses a significant obstruction to your vision and the procedure is deemed medically necessary, the cost may be covered, in full or in part, by your health insurance provider.
Always book a consultation with the surgeon that falls well in advance of any proposed date for the procedure. You should tell the surgeon if you are under the care of an ophthalmologist or optometrist, and you must let your cosmetic surgeon know if you've had laser eye surgery, suffer from dry eyes, use corrective lenses or are a cosmetic contact lens user. These factors may affect your candidacy for surgery, or the surgical techniques your doctor will use.
The Eye Plastic Surgery Procedure
If your eyelid surgery is being performed in tandem with other procedures, your doctor will probably choose a general anesthetic; otherwise, you'll probably be put under a local anesthetic. Eye surgeries are usually performed on an outpatient basis and take one to two hours to complete.
Your surgeon will mark the creases of your eyelids and make small incisions to allow access to both the fat and muscle deposits near the surface of your eyes as well as the fat deposits that are more deeply recessed. The surgeon will then remove or redistribute fatty tissues as well as excess skin and muscle. Finally, any loose skin will be tightened before the incisions are sutured shut with tiny stitches.
Risks of Eye and Eyelid Surgery
You should discuss all risks and possible complications with your eye surgeon well in advance of the procedure. While cosmetic eye surgery is considered a safe operation, you should be aware that all surgeries come with risks. The risks and possible complications specific to blepharoplasty include:
- Bleeding and hematoma
- Double vision or an inability to close your eyelids; these are temporary
- Dry eyes
- Asymmetry of the eyes
- A hollowed-out appearance of the eyes
- Vision loss (very rare)
Recovering from Eye Correction Surgery
You'll need to report to your surgeon three to four days after the procedure to have your stitches removed and allow your doctor to observe your recovery. Use cool cloths, gel packs, cold compresses or anything else your surgeon recommends to control the bruising and swelling that will follow. Sleep with your head elevated to reduce swelling, and expect only relatively minor pain. Some patients are directed to avoid alcohol, vigorous exercise and head-down postures and positions. You should expect to make a full recovery and resume normal activity within two to three weeks.
Alternatives to Consider
Instead of invasive surgery, some patients have fillers injected into the areas around their eyes to correct abnormalities and address age-related tissue deterioration beneath the lower eyelid. These non-surgical procedures can be performed in about 10 minutes, with little pain and very little recovery time. They last 12 to 18 months; however, they must be repeated again and again if you wish to maintain your results.