Blepharoplasty: Cosmetic and Functional Eyelid Surgeries

What Is Blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is the term used to describe upper and/or lower eyelid surgery. While these types of facial surgeries were practiced as early as 3,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, and then the Greeks and Romans, it was Karl Ferdinand von Grafe who coined the term blepharoplasty in 1818. At that time, a form of the technique was used to repair deformities caused by cancer in the eyelids.

Purpose Of Blepharoplasty

Today, blepharoplasty is most commonly used as a cosmetic surgery to enhance the appearance of the eyes. The purpose of the procedure is to remove fat deposits, excess skin, and excess muscle from the upper and lower eyelids. The procedure can also reinforce the surrounding muscles and tendons of the eyelids, giving a more youthful look to the eyes. Cosmetic eyelid surgery is often performed in conjunction with other facial rejuvenation surgeries, such as facelifts, brow lifts, etc.

With age, the eyelids can become puffy, wrinkled, and swollen looking. Fat buildups in the eyelids can cause the eyelids to sag. Sometimes, this sagging may interfere with peripheral vision. In these cases, blepharoplasty is a functional eyelid surgery, helping to restore the full range of vision.

Types of Blepharoplasty

Surgery of the upper and lower eyelids is not always the same. The extent of the procedure determines exactly what the process will involve. Normally, incisions are made following the natural lines of the eyelids to reduce the appearance of scars.

However, if there is no removal of excess skin required for the patient, the surgeon may prefer to perform a transconjuctival blepharoplasty. In this case, the incisions are made inside and behind the lower eyelids, so there will be no visible scarring.

Another popular type of eyelid surgery being performed is an Asian blepharoplasty. There are several anatomical differences between the eyelids of Asian and occidental peoples. About one half of the people with eastern or southeastern Asian backgrounds are born without a supratarsal eyelid, sometimes called “single-lidded”. Many of these people choose to have an Asian blepharoplasty performed to artificially create a crease above the eye, and it is reported to be the most common cosmetic surgery procedure among people from eastern and southeastern Asia.

Who Is Blepharoplasty NOT For?

There are a number of conditions which make eyelid surgery dangerous and not advisable. People who experience excessively dry eyes or lack of sufficient tears should avoid this procedure. Disrupting the tear film and other tear producing glands may make the condition even worse. Anyone experiencing glaucoma or other eye conditions may not qualify.

Those who suffer from thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism and Grave’s disease also do not qualify. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or other circulatory disorders may also produce complications.