What Is a Blepharoplasty?

Eyelid Surgery to Correct Sagging or Drooping Eyelids

Blepharoplasty, also known as eyelid surgery, is a surgical procedure that corrects eyelids that are sagging or drooping. Because the skin of the eyelid is thinner than other areas of the face, it tends to show the first signs of aging. Eyelids that sag or droop can affect your peripheral vision and make daily activities more difficult.

Woman on surgery table for blepharoplasty surgery
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A blepharoplasty will remove excess skin and fat and tighten the muscles and tissues of the eyelid. It reduces the skin that is drooping into the visual field and improves peripheral vision.

Types of Blepharoplasty

There are two types of blepharoplasty: functional and cosmetic.

  • Functional blepharoplasty: A functional blepharoplasty removes the excess skin that obscures your field of vision. If the procedure is determined to be medically necessary, it may be covered by medical insurance. How much vision is affected will be determined by testing your visual field with a Humphrey Visual Field (HVF) Analyzer.
  • Cosmetic blepharoplasty: A cosmetic blepharoplasty can be performed on either the upper or lower eyelid, or on both. Depending on the type of lower eyelid blepharoplasty, either excess skin in the lower eyelid is removed or a redistribution or removal of excess fat is performed.

You should have realistic expectations before undergoing a blepharoplasty. While the procedure can improve the appearance of your eyelids, it does not dramatically alter your face.

Candidates for Blepharoplasty

If you are considering a blepharoplasty, you should be in good overall health, not smoke, not have any serious eye conditions, and have facial tissue and muscle that are healthy.

The Blepharoplasty Procedure

Blepharoplasty is typically performed in an outpatient setting and requires local anesthesia and sedation. The procedure can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on whether you are having the procedure on both the upper and lower eyelids.

If your upper eyelids are being operated on, the incision lines are typically made along the natural crease lines of your eyelids. Once the incisions have been made, fat deposits and excess skin are removed, and a strip of the orbicularis oculi muscle that surrounds the eyelids may be removed to deepen the lid crease.

If you have surgery for the lower eyelids, an incision may be made either just below the lower lash line or on the inside of the lower eyelid. Depending on the method, excess skin in the lower eyelid is removed or fat is redistributed or removed.

After the procedure, your incisions are closed with either removable sutures, skin adhesives, or surgical tape.

Recovery After Blepharoplasty

After a blepharoplasty, you will be given specific instructions to follow including the medications you should apply or take orally and a date and time when you should see your surgeon for a follow-up examination. Your healthcare provider will also let you know of any symptoms or signs you should watch for that would mean you should follow up sooner.

You may experience some swelling, bruising, irritation, or dry eyes, but if these symptoms do occur, they are generally very mild. Most of the swelling subsides within two weeks. You will not be able to wear contact lenses or eye makeup for two weeks after surgery.

Your stitches will usually be removed by the third or fourth day after surgery. It may be recommended that you wear dark sunglasses for the next two weeks to protect your eyes from sun and wind. You can return to work in a few days to a week but will need to avoid exercise and strenuous activities for at least two weeks.

Risks of Blepharoplasty

A blepharoplasty is usually very well tolerated. After the surgery, there may be swelling and bruising around the surgical site. This will eventually subside on its own.

Complications are not common but may include infection, a granuloma, reaction to anesthesia, and double or blurred vision. Your eyes may experience some irritation and dryness due to a temporary change in tear distribution.

Your scars from a blepharoplasty will usually be well-concealed and will fade with time. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns they may have related to your specific symptoms as well as any possible complications which may occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you fix hooded eyelids?

    Yes, hooded eyelids—when excess skin sags and folds down from below the brow bone—can be corrected with a surgical procedure known as a blepharoplasty. The procedure removes excess skin and fat and tightens the muscles and tissue of the eyelid.

  • How much does a blepharoplasty cost?

    Around $5,000, depending on where you live. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, in 2020, surgeons charged $4,120 to perform the eyelid surgery, on average—but that is just the surgeon’s fee. Other fees can include hospital or surgical facility costs, anesthesiology fees, and post-operative prescription medication. 

  • Is hooded eyelid surgery covered by insurance?

    It depends. If sagging skin on the eyelids obscures your field of vision, your insurance company may cover all or part of the surgery. This is known as a functional blepharoplasty.

    If hooded eyelids are only a cosmetic concern and do not hinder your vision or cause other problems, it is considered cosmetic surgery and not typically covered by insurance.

    Before having the surgery, talk to your doctor and insurance company to determine if insurance will cover any part of the procedure. 

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Eyelid surgery.

  2. Bhattacharjee K, Misra DK, Deori N. Updates on upper eyelid blepharoplasty. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2017;65(7):551-558. doi:10.4103/ijo.IJO_540_17

  3. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Eyelid surgery recovery and results.

  4. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. How much does eyelid surgery cost?

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