What Is Blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty is plastic surgery of the eyelids. This is a common procedure where excess skin and fatty tissue is removed from around the eyes. Drooping eyebrows can also be corrected at the same time. The procedure can be performed on the upper, lower or all four eyelids.
Blepharoplasty can be done to improve visual function and improve cosmetic appearance. Excessive upper eyelid tissue can block the upper field of vision. Correction of the overhanging skin folds will improve the function of the upper eyelid and peripheral vision. Even if vision is not affected, blepharoplasty can be performed to improve a sagging, tired appearance or irritation from eyelashes. Most patients enjoy improved peripheral vision and a more youthful, energetic appearance.
Blepharoplasty is typically done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. The procedure can be performed in our office or in the outpatient surgery center depending on the patient’s preference and general health. The procedure typically takes less than one hour to perform.
Small skin incisions are made in the natural skin creases of the upper eyelids so that scars are rarely noticeable. With lower eyelid surgery, a thin incision is made either on the underside of the eyelid, or it is hidden beneath the eyelashes. The excess skin and fatty tissue are then removed. Our physicians devote careful attention to recreating the eyelid crease and contour to ensure a natural, youthful look.
There will be mild to moderate amounts of eyelid swelling for 1-2 weeks after surgery. Post operative pain is rarely experienced. There will be a thin line of sutures in the eyelid crease which will be removed 5-7 days after surgery. Keeping your head elevated and applying cold ice packs to the eyes for 1-2 days after surgery helps reduce the swelling. Most patients are able to return to normal light activities the day after surgery. Eye ointment is usually applied to the eyelids for the first few days. Mild blurring of vision and tearing may be experienced for a day or two.
Does Insurance Cover Blepharoplasty?
Most insurance companies will cover upper eyelid blepharoplasty surgery if functional visual impairment due to the excess eyelid tissue can be demonstrated. During an evaluation with our doctor, the necessary tests can be performed to help determine if you are eligible for insurance coverage. If peripheral visual impairment cannot be demonstrated, the procedure is typically viewed as cosmetic and is not covered by insurance. Lower eyelid blepharoplasty is typically not covered by insurance.
Other Oculoplastic Surgeries
Other surgeries can be performed on the eyelids for functional reasons, such as droopy eyelids (ptosis) due to a weakening of the muscle that elevates the eyelid. Eyelids that turn in or out causing problems with excessive tearing and eye irritation can also be corrected. These surgeries are typically covered by insurance.
Dr. Joseph Walrath, a board-certified oculoplastics specialist, is available for consultation by calling (866) 527-3722 or visit JosephWalrathMD.com.