Surgery for age-related droopy eyelids can help appearance, even vision

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By Kenneth Farr, M.D.

Your eyes are perhaps one of the first things other people notice about you, and are a very important part of your overall appearance.  However, for many people, the normal aging process also often brings some unwanted consequences when it comes to the appearance of their eyes — with droopy eyelids, sagging eyebrows and bags under the eyes often giving people a tired appearance … and making them look older than they actually are.

Droopy eyelids, also called ptosis, are a problem for millions of aging Americans.  As we go through life, even if we have taken excellent care of ourselves, the skin around our eyes stretches and wrinkles. Fatty deposits cause the upper lids to sag, while under the eye the tissue bulges forward and becomes discolored. In addition to making a person look older, tired and drowsy, in severe cases, loose and sagging skin can also affect vision, partially blocking vision and sometime affecting peripheral or side vision.  In addition, many people with eyelid ptosis complain of an aching in their eyebrows – as they must often continuously raise their eyebrows in order to see.

There are a number of causes of droopy eyelids, including age, sun exposure, smoking, alcohol use, poor nutrition and heredity.  Once thought to be an accepted part of aging, more and more people are now seeking ways to improve their appearance, and their vision, through eyelid surgery – correcting both aesthetic and vision issues with a simple, safe – and effective — procedure.

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a surgical procedure that is performed to improve the appearance of the upper eyelids and/or lower eyelids.  The surgery restores the youthful appearance to the surrounding area of your eyes by removing bulging fat and under eye bags, and sculpting and contouring the lax muscle in the upper or lower eyelids. The procedure can markedly reduce aging changes beneath the eyes and eliminate visual obstruction while making you look more rested and alert.  In addition, once droopy eyelids are improved through blepharoplasty, vision can be improved by providing a less obstructed field of view.

Blepharoplasty, which is performed on an out-patient basis and involves little recovery time, can be performed on either the upper eyelid, lower eyelid or both at one time.  The surgery is most often performed by an ophthalmologist or oculoplastic surgeon.  When choosing a surgeon, it is important to choose not only a board certified ophthalmologist who knows the anatomy and structure of the eyelids and orbit, but also one who has had extensive training in ophthalmic plastic reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

Eyelid surgery is an important option for people who want to not only look younger and freshen their appearance, but who may be experiencing vision problems due to droopy eyelids.  Although vision problems resulting from eyelid drooping as people age may be gradual, excessive sagging of the upper eyelid is both a medical and cosmetic concern for many individuals.  Contact an ophthalmologist to discuss your options for looking, and feeling, years younger when it comes to your eyes.

Dr. Farr can be found at Palmetto Eye Specialists, www.palmettoeye.com.