As time advances, skin gradually loses its elasticity. A lack of elasticity, combined with the constant pull from gravity causes excessive upper eyelid skin and muscle. Excess skin on the upper eyelids can hang over the eyelashes and obstruct vision. Bulges in the upper eyelid can also be caused by the fat that cushions the eyeball from the skull. The thin membrane that holds the fat in place weakens with age, allowing the fat to protrude into the lids.
The most common complaints are one of a tired appearance of the upper eyes, heavy upper eyelids, an inability to wear makeup in the upper eyelids because the makeup often smudges in the excess skin, and a diminished natural eyelid crease. Often times, eyebrow droop can add to the excessive eyelid skin. This can be filed under your insurance as a medical condition. This must be differentiated from true eyelid droop (or ptosis), a condition in which the actual eyelid hangs down, causes a reduction in vision, and is also deemed medically necessary by common insurance providers.
How do you treat droopy eyelids?
No common medical treatments are suggested to correct the excess skin and fat of the upper eyelid. In patients with severe functional deficits in visual fields or contraindications to elective surgery, spectacles with a ptosis crutch or taping up of the dermatochalasis may provide some temporary and inconvenient improvement.
An upper eyelid blepharoplasty surgery restores a natural upper eyelid crease while excising the excessive skin, muscle, and fat that has developed over time. The procedure takes approximately one hour and patients should expect to have bruising and swelling for up to a week after the eyelid surgery. This surgery can be performed in the office or as an ambulatory procedure in an outpatient surgical facility. After the procedure, your doctor ensures that ice packs are placed over the eyes to aid in the healing process. Sutures dissolve in three to five days and patients are seen in the office approximately six days after eyelid surgery for their first post-operative appointment. We also prescribes eye drops and eye ointments to aid with any dryness of the eye that may develop in the first two to four days post-operatively until the skin and eyelids re-establish their normal tone.
After eyelid surgery, patients with once heavy, droopy lids notice a brighter more refreshed appearance to their eyes.
Take the following precautions for a week after the surgery, unless advised otherwise by your doctor:
- Avoid straining, heavy lifting and swimming.
- Avoid strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging.
- Wear sunglasses to protect the skin of your eyelids from sun and wind.
- Sleep with your head raised higher than your chest.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding cleansing your eyelids and the use of eyedrops or ointments.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, an unusual heart rate, new pain, bleeding or visual disturbance.