By Linda Hankemeier
Char can see now see just fine through her Irish eyes after previous years of struggle due to heavy eyelids.
“I come from an Irish background,” shared Char. “Every nationality has some traits. Those of us who are Irish sometimes develop heavily-hooded eyelids over time.”
Upper and lower eyelids slowly change as we age. Skin stretches and becomes loose over time, sometimes to the point that your vision becomes blocked or appearance changes.
Char is one of about 200,000 people a year in the U.S. who opted for a surgical procedure called blepharoplasty, or an eyelid lift. While some people choose this procedure solely to improve appearance, Char and others find the eyelid lift is the only way to truly remove the vision obstruction created by their heavy eyelids.
An eyelid lift is one of the most common forms of plastic surgery in the U.S. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports it was the fourth most common plastic surgery procedure performed with 204,015 procedures completed in 2012 (most current year on record). And, eyelid changes impact both men and women: 14% of all blepharoplasty surgeries were performed on men that year.
“I looked tired all the time. People thought I wasn’t well rested even when I felt great,” Char lamented. “But more importantly, my eyelids were so heavy that I was constantly lifting my forehead muscles to keep my eyes as open as possible which gave me constant headaches.”
Eyelid lifts follow the same process steps as many other plastic surgery procedures. After the necessary pre-operative steps, the day of surgery arrives. The patient is given anesthesia and after the patient is sedated, the plastic surgeon marks the incision lines on the appropriate areas of the eye. Then, incisions are made either in the upper or lower lid, depending on the area needing to be addressed. If the upper lid is the focus, the incisions are made typically around the crease connecting the lid to the brow bone area. For the lower lid, the incision is typically made below the lash area. The additional skin is removed and the incisions are closed.
During recovery, the patient will have bruising and it will take time for the skin to heal. Char described her recovery as “uneventful.” In consultation with her surgeon, she used ointment on the incisions to keep the skin supple and regular application of ice and lots of rest to keep the swelling under control. Approximately five days after surgery, her sutures were removed. She also used makeup during this time to cover the bruising if she needed to go out in public.
The price of blepharoplasty can vary greatly, but there is a chance for at least the upper eyelid lift that it will be covered by insurance if the procedure is needed to correct a medical condition. If the eyelids are impacting a patient’s range of vision, he/she can work with an ophthalmologist to see if visual field testing shows the eyelids are contributing to reduction in vision; the lower eyelids, on the other hand, are normally considered a cosmetic procedure only and is not typically covered by insurance. Char said she found her eyelid lift to be affordable overall. “People will say they can’t afford things. However, it’s just how you choose to spend your money,” Char commented. “We’ll spend thousands of dollars remodeling a kitchen or buying a car. My eyelid lift is something that makes me feel better, look better and see better.”
And almost two and a half years later Char continues to be pleased with the results of her eyelid lift. “My vision is so much better! I used to have to crank myself around in my seat when backing out of my driveway just to see everything. Now, I turn my head as others do.” Char commented. “I don’t have to use my forehead muscles to keep my eyes open all the time so the headaches are gone.”
Now, others can see Char’s Irish eyes a-smilin and know she feels great. “My eyes now match my energy: I look as upbeat as I feel,” she shares.
Call Dr. Paige Holt for a consultation at (309) 664-4444 if you deal with heavy eyelids that hinder your vision.