Blepharoplasty surgery, also known as ‘eye lift’ significantly improves the appearance of the eyelid region, giving a natural correction to a tired, sad or angry look. It can also remove excess upper eyelid skin that obstructs the vision. Read our content below to find out more about the procedure, suitability, price and more.
Rejuvenating the eyelids to give a more natural youthful appearance can be achieved by removing excess skin, fat bulges and repairing weak muscles around the eyelid area. If the eyebrow area has also dropped (brow ptosis), this can give the upper eyelids a more pronounced hooding effect as the loose skin folds downwards and makes crow’s feet more exaggerated.
There are two different types of blepharoplasty available at our London & Elstree, Hertfordshire clinics: upper eyelid blepharoplasty and lower eyelid blepharoplasty.
An incision in the upper eyelid crease is made to remove the loose skin and fat and give a “hidden” scar. The amount of skin, muscle and fat removed is carefully measured and marked beforehand. If there is also brow ptosis (droopy eyebrow) or ptosis (droopy upper eyelid), this can be corrected at the same time and the skin incision is then closed with sutures or glue.
Two different approaches that can be used to reposition or remove the excess skin, fat and weak muscles in the lower eyelid. For younger people where fat bulges are the main concern and the lower eyelid skin is not wrinkled, an incision is made through the inner surface of the eyelid (transconjunctival approach) which hides the scar. If there is also loose skin and muscle to be removed, a small incision just beneath the eyelash line can be made (transcutaneous approach), which allows for the lower eyelid to be tightened if needed. The skin incision is then closed with sutures or glue. Your surgeon will assess you and decide which option will give you the best possible outcome.
Initially, you will have a consultation with your surgeon in London or Elstree, Hertfordshire, during which the surgery will be fully explained to you. There will also be a detailed discussion on expected surgical results, risks and benefits of surgery and the care that will be required before and after the surgery.
Photographs will be taken to compare with after surgery. If you have previous photographs of your face that you can bring with you to the consultation, this will be valuable in planning your surgery. A detailed medical history will also be taken and if you have any medication that you take, ideally bring this with you. Please inform us about any allergies, previous surgery and smoking habits.
A full examination of your face and eyelids will be carried out to assess your eyes, eyelids, skin, eyelid laxity (how loose the eyelids are) and whether you have any conditions like blepharitis or dry eyes which can affect the surgery. It may be necessary to treat an underlying condition first, before carrying out any surgery, in order to give you the best surgical outcome. If you have a droopy eyelid (ptosis) or droopy eyebrow (brow ptosis), this can usually be corrected during the same procedure and will be discussed with you.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have and we will also discuss whether any non-surgical treatments, like chemical skin peels or tear trough hyaluronic acid filler will help to achieve the desired outcome.
Surgery should not be performed on the following groups of people:
Other factors may make a person unsuitable for treatment and at OCL Vision, we ask that you fully disclose a complete medical history, mental health history and drug history to make sure that you are suitable to have Blepharoplasty surgery. Suitability for surgery remains at the surgeon’s discretion.
Upper eyelid surgery can be carried under local anaesthesia, with mild sedation or under general anaesthesia. Your surgeon will discuss these with you so that you can decide which option will be best suited to you. Whichever form of anaesthetic is used, the surgical area will be numbed so that you do not feel any pain.
Sedation causes you to be in a calm and relaxed state, but you will be able to respond to instructions. General anaesthesia involves complete loss of consciousness.
Lower eyelid blepharoplasty or combined upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthesia due to the longer surgery time.
You will be given clear instructions when to stop eating and drinking before your surgery. This is usually 6 hours prior to surgery with sedation or general anaesthesia, although clear fluids (water) can be taken up to 2 hours before surgery. Do not wear any makeup or face cream on the day of surgery.
Smokers will be asked to stop smoking at least 6 weeks prior to surgery and for 2 weeks following surgery, as smoking delays the healing process and causes a higher risk of complications. If you take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin or Voltarol, Warfarin or NOACS like Apixaban you will be given individual advice on when to stop or reduce the dose of these drugs.
Should you require medication to treat a heart or lung condition, your surgeon will check with your cardiologist or chest doctor which drugs can be safely stopped temporarily.
A dressing will be applied to cover the surgical area that can usually be removed the following day after your blepharoplasty surgery. It is common for your vision to be blurry after the surgery as a thick antibiotic ointment is applied into your eyes to prevent against infection and to stop the front surface of your eyes from drying out. This blurred vision will gradually settle. You will be given eye drops and ointment to use in your eyes and on your eyelids after the eyelid surgery.
The majority of people will return home on the same day as their surgery, but if needed an overnight stay can be arranged. Our team of experienced nurses will give you clear instructions to help manage your post-operative care.
Swelling and bruising is normal following blepharoplasty surgery. This should start to settle 1-2 weeks after upper eyelid blepharoplasty surgery or 2-4 weeks after combined upper and lower eyelid surgery. In some people, postoperative swelling and bruising can take longer to settle.
We advise you to use ice packs for the first 10 days following eyelid surgery. Frozen peas placed in a small plastic bag and covered in a thin cloth is an effective icepack. This can then be gently placed on the wound up to 6 times a day, without rubbing or placing any pressure on the wound.
For the first 7 days after surgery, sleeping semi-upright with several pillows placed underneath your head will help the swelling to settle. You will be given eye shields to cover your eyes at night to protect the wounds whilst you are sleeping.
Anything more than gentle exercise (like walking) should be avoided for at least 2 weeks following surgery and swimming should be avoided for at least 6 weeks post-operatively. Makeup can be worn again 3-4 weeks after surgery.
As the wounds from eyelid surgery heals, they may become “itchy” – it is important not to rub your eyes or eyelids following blepharoplasty surgery. Contact lens wear should also be avoided for the first 2 weeks after surgery.
Recovery time does vary but we advise it is better to rest for the first few days after surgery. You will be able to work from home on a computer after 2 days, but it is important to keep your eyes well lubricated using the eye drops that you have been given.
Most people who have undergone upper eyelid blepharoplasty surgery can return to work after 10 days, but for lower eyelid blepharoplasties it is advisable to take 2 weeks off work. After this point, it would be unusual for others to notice that you have had surgery.
If you have had sutures during surgery, these will be removed 10 days after surgery if the wounds are healing well. We like to take photographs to show the results of your surgery at your first post-operative visit and again 3 months later.
The results of blepharoplasty surgery last up to 10 years but do not stop the ageing process. Weight loss or weight gain, sun exposure, pregnancy and menopause can also result in changes in the eyelid appearance. If needed, surgery can be repeated in the future to maintain the results.
At OCL Vision we pride ourselves on our excellent results, but there are some possible, unusual complications to be aware of as with all surgery. Your surgeon will take you through the risks in detail prior to surgery, but we have summarised them below
Some bruising and swelling normally occurs following eyelid surgery. The skin in or near the surgical site can appear either lighter or darker than surrounding skin
include bleeding, infection, scarring, pain, damage to deeper structures, dry eye problems, asymmetry, ectropion, corneal exposure problems, allergic reactions, eyelash hair loss, delayed healing, change in skin sensation, skin contour irregularities and skin sensitivity. Blindness is extremely rare after eyelid surgery, estimated at around 1 in 22,000 occurrences
If you are concerned about any possible complications following your blepharoplasty surgery, please contact OCL Vision to arrange a post-surgery consultation.
One possible non-surgical way to approach eye bags is to use eye creams on the area. However, the effectiveness of this method is debatable, and blepharoplasty offers more significant and noticeable results.
Other options to improve the appearance of the eyelid area include Botulinum Toxin injections, dermal fillers and laser skin resurfacing. These may be suitable for those with less advanced signs of ageing. Our oculoplastic consultant, Susan Sarangapani, will discuss treatment options with you at your consultation and create a personalised plan.
Many plastic surgeons carry out procedures on the eye, such as blepharoplasty. However, our consultant Susan Sarangapani is an oculoplastic surgeon, an ophthalmologist who has specialised in cosmetic eye surgery. In our view, this offers two main advantages:
OCL Vision’s oculoplastic surgeon, Miss Susan Sarangapani, offers both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments, sometimes combining both as appropriate. This holistic approach allows her to personalise care for each patient and deliver optimal results.
Susan Sarangapani specialises in natural-looking results with strong attention to detail, alongside an empathetic consultative approach to ensure she understands exactly what every patient is looking for.
Susan Sarangapani is part of OCL Vision, a group of expert eye surgeons offering consultation, treatment and surgery onsite in one place. Choose from our central London location (close to Harley Street) or Elstree, Hertfordshire.
Susan Sarangapani is an expert in her field and has undertaken a fellowship at the internationally renowned Craniofacial Unit of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, ensuring extensive training in facial and eyelid reconstruction surgery.
Will I have a scar after blepharoplasty? At OCL Vision, Miss Sarangapani carries out blepharoplasty surgery with “hidden scars”. This means that for upper eyelid blepharoplasty, the surgical incision is made in the skin crease and for lower eyelid blepharoplasty, the incision is made either on the inside of the eyelid (transconjunctival) or just below the lower eyelashes (subciliary). Where extra skin is being removed around the outer edges of the eyelids, scarring will be kept to a minimum and Miss Sarangapani will advise you on the use of scar gels following surgery to minimise any remaining marks on the skin.
Scarring can be more visible in patients who have poor skin healing, previous acne or other underlying skin conditions, or those who have had previous surgery in the same area. Whilst your wounds are healing, please do NOT have any Botox, Fillers or other treatments in the eyelid and upper face area as this can lead to unpredictable results and scarring.
Find out the answers to some more of the most frequently asked questions about blepharoplasty, from our expert surgeon Susan Sarangapani.
Insurance companies generally don’t cover blepharoplasty surgery as they consider the surgery to be a cosmetic procedure. However, where the upper eyelid skin is very loose and overhangs the edge of the upper eyelid it can block the field of vision and interfere with daily activities, for example driving and reading. In cases where the field of vision is blocked, some insurance companies may consider covering the cost of blepharoplasty surgery. This is usually done on a case by case basis and visual field tests and colour photographs will need to be submitted for approval to the insurance company. Insurance companies usually do not cover the cost of lower eyelid blepharoplasty.
Blepharoplasty surgery cannot stop the ageing process that happens to everyone. In most cases, blepharoplasty surgery lasts up to 10 years. However, weight loss or weight gain, genetics and some health conditions, for example thyroid problems, can impact how long the effects of blepharoplasty surgery last.
All surgical procedures carry some risk, but this risk can be minimised by making sure that your surgery is carried out by a reputable Oculoplastic or Plastic Surgeon. A good surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with you, show you before and after photos of patients and be available after your surgery, should there be any issues.
There are, however, some limitations to blepharoplasty surgery, especially with the lower eyelid. Before blepharoplasty surgery, Miss Sarangapani will carefully measure how much skin can be safely removed whilst still allowing your eyelids to close properly. If this is not done and too much skin is taken away, this can lead to dry eyes, eyelid droop and possibly the need for further corrective surgery.
Blepharoplasty surgery removes excess loose skin around the eyelids, which will mean that wrinkles in the skin are also removed. The surgical incision is made in the skin crease and if extra skin or wrinkles are being removed in the crow’s feet area, the natural skin lines on the face are used to hide any scars.
It is better to avoid alcohol for the first 48 hours following blepharoplasty surgery – this helps keep any bruising following surgery to a minimum.
No, blepharoplasty does not cause glaucoma.
Blepharoplasty surgery can be repeated if, over the course of time, excess skin and tissue laxity have recurred. It is always important to ensure that surgery is carried out by an experienced surgeon who will assess and remove the correct amount of skin and tissue that is safe to do so.
See our oculoplastic surgeon answering some top FAQs in the videos below. For more videos, please visit our YouTube channel.
Miss Susan Sarangapani specialises in Oculoplastics; she uses both surgical and non-surgical treatments to achieve outstanding natural-looking results in eyelid and facial restoration treatment. Susan offers personalised care and takes an empathetic approach when providing consultation.
Susan can be seen for blepharoplasty consultations or surgery at our clinic in New Cavendish Street in Central London, as well as in Elstree, Hertfordshire.
Our blepharoplasty surgeon, Susan Sarangapani, is available for consultation and surgery in central London and Elstree, Hertfordshire.
If you would like to discuss potential treatment options, please make an enquiry or call us on 0203 369 2020
Last updated on
March 10th, 2023
Ms Susan Sarangapani