Upper blepharoplasty, also known as upper eyelid lift surgery, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin, muscle, and fat deposits in the upper eyelids. During the procedure, incisions are created along the natural crease of the upper eyelid. Through these incisions, the excess tissue can be accessed which allows the removal or repositioning of the tissue.

As you age, your eyelids tend to drop down partially which can cover the eyes. Excess skin on the eyelids can interfere with your eyesight and peripheral vision. If performed for medical reasons, such as correcting vision problems caused by excess eyelid skin, and certain criteria are met, upper eyelid surgery may be subsidised by Medicare.

What is an Upper Eyelid Lift?

An upper eyelid lift, also called an upper blepharoplasty, is a facial procedure that lifts the upper eyelid. It involves removing excess skin, muscle, and fat deposits in the upper eyelids.

Ageing causes a low positioning or displacement of the upper eyelid. This is medically called “eyelid ptosis” or “ptotic eyelids”. It happens when eyelid skin becomes lax as the years pass, and the upper eyelid starts to drop into a low position. This commonly affects the outer half of the eye which can lead to vision problems.

Blepharoplasty can help address eyelid ptosis. During the procedure, excess fat and a small amount of skin are precisely cut out from the upper eyelids. This in turn removes the excess skin that is obstructing your vision.

Suitable Candidates for an Upper Blepharoplasty

Suitable candidates for the procedure are looking to address:

  • Excess upper eyelid skin that is obstructing their vision
  • Physical symptoms such as pain, redness, or irritation caused by excess upper eyelid skin that are affecting their ability to perform daily activities.

In addition, suitable candidates must also be in good overall health with no bleeding or clotting disorders. Moreover, they must be non-smokers or are willing to quit smoking before and after the procedure. They must also have realistic expectations regarding the procedure.

How is Upper Eyelid Lift Performed?

Here’s what to expect during an upper eyelid lift surgery:

  • You will be asked to sit in an adjustable surgical chair and extend your head backward on a head supporter.
  • Dr Turner will ask you to close your eyelids.
  • He will mark the area of incisions.
  • The eyelids will be cleaned with a cleansing solution and a small drape will be applied to keep the surgical field sterile.
  • A local anaesthetic will be injected into the eyelid skin.
  • A blepharoplasty incision is created across the upper eyelid, from one corner of the eye to the other. The incision is elliptical and the width depends on how much fat and skin needs to be removed.
  • Dr Turner will remove the excess skin in your upper eyelid along with any underlying fat pads.
  • He will then bring the wound edges together to lift the eyelid and tighten it.
  • Dr Turner will use sutures to close the incisions.
  • The other eyelid will be lifted in the same manner.
  • The eyes will be cleaned and you can open them after blepharoplasty is done.

Depending on your eyelid condition and the surgeon’s skills and techniques, an upper blepharoplasty can take 15-30 minutes to perform.

Recovery after Upper Eyelid Lift

After an upper blepharoplasty, you will experience symptoms such as:

  • Double vision
  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching of the eyes
  • Pain

Depending on your health condition and the surgeon’s recommendations, you can go back home after an upper eyelid lift or you might need to stay overnight. It’s not recommended that you drive after the procedure. Your vision might be compromised due to post-operative pain and swelling so you’ll need to have someone pick you up.

Depending on your recovery progress, you can go back to work 2-3 days after blepharoplasty. Keep in mind, however, that bruising and swelling will be apparent and will gradually decrease over 3 weeks following eyelid surgery. You can wear sunglasses to keep your eyes protected and hide the bruising for the first few days after the procedure.

Risks & Complications Associated with Upper Blepharoplasty Surgery

Upper blepharoplasty surgery has risks and complications, such as:

  • Wound infection
  • Bleeding from the wound
  • Prolonged eye irritation
  • Inability to properly close the eyes (if the eyelids are lifted too much)
  • Problems with eye movement (due to eye muscle injury)
  • Sustained vision problems (rare)