UCLA Campus    |   UCLA Health    |   School of Medicine Translate:
UCLA Health It Begins With U

The UCLA Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery | Back to Home

Cosmetic Surgery


Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) at UCLA


Eyelid SurgeryEyelid surgery is also called blepharoplasty. This involves removing fat, usually along with excess skin and muscle, from the upper and lower eyelids. Eyelid surgery can correct drooping upper lids and puffy bags below your eyes -- features that can make you look old and tired, or even interfere with your vision. This procedure doesn’t involve crow’s feet, eliminate dark circles under the eyes, or lift sagging eyebrows. Features of your ethnic or racial heritage cannot be erased, though they may be altered.

Candidates suitable for the eyelid surgery:

Blepharoplasty can enhance your looks and give your self confidence, but won’t make you look entirely different. Be realistic in your expectations.

  1. The best candidates for eyelid surgery are men and women who are physically healthy and psychologically stable.
  2. Most are 35 or older.
  3. If droopy, baggy eyelids run in your family, you may decide to have eyelid surgery at younger age.
  4. The medical conditions which make blepharoplasty more risky are thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism and Graves’ diseases, dry eyes or lack of sufficient tears, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
  5. If you have a detached retina or glaucoma. Check with your ophthalmologist before you have surgery.

Risks following the surgery:

View Interactive Patient Education
Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) »
Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

When an eyelid surgery is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. But risks do exist and you should discuss these with your surgeon, reviewing the potential pros and cons involved. Potential complications include:

  1. Temporarily blurred or double vision, lasting for a few days.
  2. Temporary swelling at the corner of the eyelids.
  3. A slight asymmetry in healing or scarring.
  4. Tiny whiteheads may appear after your stitches are taken out, which can be removed easily with a very fine needle.
  5. Following surgery, some patients may have difficulty closing their eyes when they sleep, leading to dry eyes and irritation. This is usually temporary, and can be treated with topical medication (eye drops and ointment).
  6. Another complication is ectropion -- a pulling down of the lower eyelid which may require further surgery.

Pre-surgery planning:

The initial planning with your surgeon is very important. The surgeon will need your complete medical history. Be sure to inform your surgeon of any pre-existing diseases and allergies, and if you are a smoker.

  1. Vision is tested prior to surgery, and in some cases tear production is tested as well. Please provide your surgeon with any recent medical records pertaining to your eyes.
  2. Most insurance policies don’t cover eyelid surgery, unless drooping upper lids interfere with vision (this is demonstrated on a special eye exam).
  3. On the morning of surgery, the surgeon will mark the eyelids with a surgical pen, delineating how much skin to remove and the location of the incisions.

The surgery:

The surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, with no hospital stay.

  1. Eyelid surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia; general anesthesia can be used when necessary.
  2. Blepharoplasty may take from one to three hours. For this procedure, the surgeon makes incisions following the natural lines of your eyelids: in the creases of your upper lids, and just below the lashes in your lower lids. The incisions can extend into the crows feet or laughs line at the outer corners of your eyes. If you have a pocket of fat beneath your lower eyelids but don’t need to have any skin removed, your surgeon may perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty. In this procedure the incision is made inside your lower eyelids, leaving no visible scar. It is usually performed on younger patients with more elastic skin.

Care after the surgery:

  1. Your surgeon will instruct you to keep your head elevated for several days.
  2. Cold compresses are used to reduce swelling and bruising.
  3. You surgeon may recommend moisturizing or medicinal eyedrops
  4. For the first few weeks after surgery, you may experience excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, or (more rarely) temporary changes in your eyesight, such as blurring or double vision.
  5. Stitches are removed between three and five days after surgery. Swelling and discoloration around your eyes typically persists for no more than seven to ten days. Scars may be red initially, but fade with time.

Los Angeles plastic surgeons from UCLA Plastic Surgery offer all aspects of facial plastic surgery including rhytidectomy blepharoplasty nose surgery chin augmentation, BOTOX injections and non-evasive procedures and techniques.

View before and after photos of these plastic surgery procedures, learn more about cosmetic surgery and schedule a consultation today.

Find a Doctor »
Phone: 1-800-825-2752

UCLA Cosmetic Surgery
200 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 465
Los Angeles, CA 90095-6960

UCLA Rated One of the Top Hospitals in the Nation