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Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty)

Cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin and tissue around your eyes

Ophthalmic surgeon performing eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) in theatre
Blepharoplasty is a type of cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin and fat from around your eyelids. It is usually done for cosmetic reasons, for example to get rid of wrinkles or sagging skin that you don't like the look of. However some people choose to have blepharoplasty for more practical visions, for example if loose skin around their eyes is affecting their vision.

If you are interested in eyelid surgery and would like to speak to a specialist, our expert cosmetic surgeons are ready and waiting to help you. Call our book online to visit an experienced consultant surgeon at one of our private hospitals near you.

Who performs cosmetic eyelid surgery?

Cosmetic eyelid surgery is performed by generally performed by consultant plastic surgeons, consultant cosmetic surgeons or consultant ophthalmologists. A consultant plastic surgeon focuses on surgery to repair and reconstruct missing or damaged tissue and skin - it can be for cosmetic or non-cosmetic reasons. A consultant ophthalmologist specialises in disorders of your eye, helping treat short-term and long-term eye conditions. Cosmetic surgeons focus on aesthetic procedures. Below you'll find a list of our consultants offering eyelid surgery.

There most common reasons people choose to have eyelid surgery are:

Wrinkles

With age, the skin around your eyes slackens and stretches and the muscles supporting your skin become weaker. This causes skin to gather above and below your eyelids, forming wrinkles.

Wrinkles are a natural part of the ageing process, but some people don't like the way they look - an opinion based entirely on personal preference - and this is the most common reason for having a blepharoplasty procedure.

Loose skin

The surgery is also performed to improve the look of hooded, drooping eyelids or eye bags that occur when the skin around your eyes loosens (this can make you look more tired than you are). If you do feel self-conscious about the skin around your eyes, you can have blepharoplasty to achieve a more youthful appearance and regain self-confidence. Other reasons why people might want blepharoplasty include:

Eliminating a tired look

The drooping of your skin can make you look permanently tired. Blepharoplasty helps achieve a fresher, rejuvenated look around your eyes, making you look younger and more alert.

To improve symmetry around your eyes

Your eyelids may become asymmetrical as you age - one eye could become more drooped than the other, which some people find unsightly. Blepharoplasty lifts the skin from around your eyes and repositions them symmetrically, helping you see better.

To improve your vision

A saggy upper eyelid (which is also known as ptosis) can affect your vision, preventing you from seeing properly.

The cost of your surgery depends on which hospital you have surgery in and who you have surgery with. Cosmetic surgery is not usually covered by private health insurance, so most of our patients choose our self-pay option.

Self-pay patients benefit from fixed-price packages that include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

You can usually see a specialist consultant for your initial consultation within 48 hours of booking your appointment with us. Give us a call and we'll help you find an appointment at a time and place that suits you.

During this initial appointment, your consultant will ask in detail about your general health and your medical history. They will want to know how the skin around your eyelids affects your everyday life - for example, does it interfere with your vision, or your confidence?

Your consultant will carefully examine your eyes and face and have a detailed discussion with you to understand what you would like to gain from surgery. You might be asked to bring old photographs of you to the consultation so your surgeon can compare and ensure your surgery is tailored to your facial features and history. The aim is not to dramatically change your physical appearance, but subtly reduce the effects of ageing, restoring some of your 'younger' and 'fresher' features.

Your initial consultation is an important and positive step in your journey towards feeling better in your own skin. This is a safe space for you to ask as many questions as you like, however big or small. Your consultant will be an expert in eyelid removal surgery and will have extensive experience in helping people regain confidence in their appearance, so do take the opportunity to make the most of their knowledge. Whether it's easing your fears about having surgery or explaining what to expect from your recovery, this is a safe space to ask.

Although we don't have waiting lists for cosmetic surgery, we do enforce a cooling off period between having your first consultation and deciding to book your operation. Once this has passed and you're certain you want to go ahead, we'll usually invite you back to speak with your consultant again about the specifics of the surgery you want and to get your procedure booked in.

There is not much you can do to prepare for eyelid removal surgery. Your consultant will want to know what medications you are taking before you have surgery to ensure you are not at risk of blood clots from taking medication that thins your blood, such as ibuprofen and aspirin. They will talk through this with you, as well as anything else you need to do in preparation for the procedure.

Blepharoplasty is performed either under general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic with sedation. General anaesthetic causes a loss of consciousness, meaning you are not awake during surgery. Your consultant will ensure you know the kind of anaesthetic you will need for the procedure. Local anaesthetic is an injection that numbs the area being operated on, meaning you are awake during a procedure but do not feel any pain during it. Your consultant might use an injection of sedative medication to help you relax.

During upper eyelid surgery, your surgeon will make markings on your skin to indicate whether there is excess fat and skin. They will then make an incision (cut) along your natural eyelid crease and remove excess fat, skin, or muscle using specialist surgical tools. They will then close the incision with suture strips. These are thin sticky strips that keep your skin in place as it heals, and which stay in place up to one week after surgery.

During lower eyelid surgery, the incision will be made in your lower eyelid or below your eyelashes, allowing your surgeon to remove or reposition excess fat. They will then close the incision using sticky strips.

The operation can take between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on exactly what is being done.

After surgery, your eyelids will feel tight and sore and your eyes might be watery or itchy, and they might also feel sensitive to the light. You will have slightly blurred vision as soon as you wake up, which is completely normal. Your eyes will also typically be swollen and bruised. This can last for up to three weeks, while the swelling can sometimes last up to eight.

You will usually be able to leave the hospital on the same day as the surgery and return to most of your usual activities within a day or two of surgery. You will need someone to collect you from surgery as you won't be able to drive home. We can arrange for a taxi to collect you from hospital if needed, but it's always best to have someone with you as you might need help when you get home. You can usually drive again within five days, but it is best to speak with your consultant about this, as each person's recovery timeline is unique to them.

Your consultant will supply you with antibiotic drops for your eyes to use throughout your recovery period. They might suggest applying ice packs around your eyes to reduce any swelling, as well. They will offer instructions on how to use these. We recommend wearing sunglasses to reduce eye strain and taking regular naps to reduce tiredness.

Your consultant will offer you a more accurate, tailored recovery timeline based on your individual needs and circumstances.

It is important to remember that complications from eyelid surgery are rare and that there are risks attached to any surgery, not just this one. Most people who have the operation will not experience complications.

Specific complications that can occur during eyelid surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Bleeding from your eyes
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Scarring
  • Vision loss (very rare)

Serious complications as a result of the surgery are rare. If you have any concerns about these, speak with your consultant. They will be able to discuss their likelihood with you in more detail and put your worries at ease.

We answer your most frequently asked questions about eyelid surgery.

What age is best to have blepharoplasty?

Any adult can have the surgery, but most people who have it are in their 30s or older. Your consultant will ensure you are at the right age and stage of your life for blepharoplasty.

Is eyelid surgery worth getting?

Yes, eyelid surgery is worth it for people who want to achieve a younger, fresher look and reduce the signs of ageing. Many people find the procedure helps them regain their confidence and improves their self-esteem.

Does blepharoplasty leave a scar?

All procedures involve incisions around your eyes, meaning you will have scarring after surgery, but these are rarely visible because they fall in the folds around your eyes. Your consultant can also offer you a special cream or ointment to apply over your eyes to reduce scarring quickly and effectively.

How long does blepharoplasty last?

The results typically last for up to seven years, but this depends on your circumstances and how you age - for some people it can last longer.

When will I look normal after blepharoplasty?

Swelling and bruising will go down within three weeks.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times to fit your schedule
  • The freedom to choose your hospital and your consultant
  • Bespoke, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Private en-suite rooms as standard
  • Tasty and nutritious meals cooked onsite to your dietary requirements
  • Support from the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help spread the cost of your care

If you want to know more about eyelid surgery and find out if it's the right treatment for you, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2023. Next review due March 2026.

  1. Eyelid surgery, Moorfields Private Hospital
  2. Eyelid surgery, NHS
  3. Blepharoplasty, Cambridge University Hospitals

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