As we get older, gravity takes its toll—the eyelid skin stretches, eye muscles weaken and fat pockets can bulge and become more prominent around the eyes. This can lead to sagging or drooping eyelids. When the eyelid muscle weakens, the condition is called ptosis. When there is excess skin and fat, the conditions is called dermatochalasis. But whether it’s due to ptosis or dermatochalasis, both conditions can impair your field of vision, making eyelid surgery medically necessary.
“Extra eyelid skin or droopy eyelids can make it difficult to drive, read or see in dim light,” says Shoshana Ambani, M.D., a plastic surgeon at Henry Ford Health. “It can impair your peripheral vision and can make you more prone to accidents.”
To have eyelid surgery covered by insurance, you’ll likely need a peripheral field of vision test, which can be done at your eye doctor’s office. If the test shows you have problems with your visual fields, you will be referred to a plastic surgeon.
How Eyelid Surgery Works
Depending upon your personal anatomy, there are a few different ways eyelid surgery can be done. Every surgery is tailored to each person. Surgeons can:
- Tighten the muscles that open your eyelids
- Remove excess skin and fat around the eyes
- Lift the eyebrows
“If you have drooping brows plus excess eyelid skin, you may be a candidate for a brow lift and an eyelid lift at the same time,” says Dr. Ambani.
What To Expect After Surgery
Eyelid surgeries are generally performed under local anesthesia or light sedation, unless your surgery is more involved. On the day of surgery, be sure to have someone there to drive you home. For two weeks after surgery, don’t do any heavy lifting, and refrain from wearing contacts or eye makeup. (You can, however, wear glasses.)
“Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions on what you can and can’t do after surgery,” says Dr. Ambani. “Stitches typically come out the week after surgery. You’ll have bruising and swelling for four to eight weeks afterward. However, your skin will keep healing and remodeling after that. You’ll see the final results about a year after surgery.”
To learn more about the Henry Ford Center for Cosmetic Surgery, call 1-844-432-6763 or visit henryford.com/cosmeticsurgery to schedule a consultation. If you are in the Jackson area, visit henryford.com/locations/allegiance-health-center-cascade-ridge/plastic-surgery or call 517-205-2107.
Dr. Shoshana Ambani is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. She is the medical director of plastic surgery at Henry Ford Health -- Jackson. Her areas of particular interest include breast surgery, abdominoplasty with liposuction and other body contouring surgeries, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping to improve appearance or breathing), and periocular rejuvenation (eye lift, brow lift).