Eyelid lift surgery is done to repair sagging or drooping upper eyelids (ptosis). The surgery is called blepharoplasty.
Sagging or drooping eyelids occur with increasing age. Some people are born with droopy eyelids or develop a disease that causes eyelid drooping.
The procedure is done as follows:
Eyelid surgery is done in a surgeon's office. Or it is done as outpatient surgery in a medical center.
An eyelid lift is needed when eyelid drooping reduces your vision. You may be asked to have your eye doctor test your vision before you have the surgery.
Some people have an eyelid lift to improve their appearance. This is called cosmetic or elective surgery. The eyelid lift may be done alone or with other surgery such as a browlift or facelift.
Eyelid surgery will not remove wrinkles around the eyes, lift sagging eyebrows, or get rid of dark circles under the eyes.
Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general include:
Risks of an eyelid lift may include:
Medical conditions that make blepharoplasty more risky are:
You can usually go home the day of surgery. Arrange ahead of time for an adult to drive you home.
Before you leave, the health care provider will cover your eyes and eyelids with ointment and a bandage. Your eyelids may feel tight and sore as the numbing medicine wears off. The discomfort is easily controlled with pain medicine.
Keep your head raised as much as possible for several days. Place cold packs over the area to reduce swelling and bruising. Wrap the cold pack in a towel before applying. This helps prevent cold injury to the eyes and skin.
Your doctor may recommend eye drops to reduce burning or itching.
You should be able to see well after 2 to 3 days. DO NOT wear contact lenses for at least 2 weeks. Keep activities to a minimum for 3 to 5 days, and avoid strenuous activities that raise the blood pressure for about 3 weeks. This includes lifting, bending, and rigorous sports.
Your doctor will remove the stitches 2 to 7 days after surgery. You will have some bruising, which may last 2 to 4 weeks. You may notice increased tears, more sensitivity to light and wind, and blurring or double vision for the first few weeks.
Scars may remain slightly pink for 6 months or more after surgery. They will fade to a thin, nearly invisible white line. The more alert and youthful look usually lasts for years. These results are permanent for many people.
Drolet BC, Sullivan PK. Evidence-based medicine: Blepharoplasty. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2014;133:1195-205. PMID: 24776550
Neligan PC, Buck DW II. Blepharoplasty. In: Neligan PC, Buck DW II. Core Procedures in Plastic Surgery. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:chap 1.
Last reviewed on: 2/10/2015
Reviewed by: Hebe Molmenti, MD, PhD, Private Practice specializing in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.