“When we look at someone, we look them in the eyes – and it’s in the eyes where we see the first sign of aging,” says Wayne P. Foster, MD,FACS, facial plastic surgeon in Toms River and Wall, NJ. Puffiness, bulging and drooping skin around the eyes can make the eyes look tired and hooded. Dr. Foster notes that genetics and factors such as sun exposure and cigarette smoking may all accelerate the aging process, so the eye aging process may start even younger than we think. “Most people can use a little help to improve their eyes in their 30s,”he says.
Thankfully, surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic improvement procedures for the eyes are readily available to provide a more youthful and pleasing appearance. The first step is to seek an evaluation from a qualified specialist who will offer the treatment options that are right for you.
“Treatment has evolved to include in office procedures that are more accessible and affordable, and easier to go through,” says Dr.Foster. “We use Botox to relax the lines of movement in crow’s feet, and fillers to fill in gaps and valleys in lower eyelids, including the tear trough that develops with age.” After the Botox procedure there is no downtime, he explains, and after a filler there may be puffiness for 2 or 3 days.
Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is indicated to correct excessive skin and fat pushing forward on the upper and lower eyelids.“Sometimes a laser can be used instead of surgery to tighten the skin without a surgical incision, or to minimize swelling and bruising,”Dr. Foster adds. “When surgery is necessary, it’s performed under a light twilight sedation in a private surgicenter setting.” After blepharoplasty, he says, patients can expect to be healed enough to use makeup within a week.
“There are several types of eyelid surgery used for functional and/or cosmetic reasons,”says Ronald W. Kristan, MD, FACS, an ophthalmic plastic surgeon at Atlantic Eye in Holmdel, Little Silver, Manasquan and Long Branch.“Blepharoplasty is the type of cosmetic surgery that excises excess eyelid skin,” he says,“to make the eyes appear more youthful and appealing.”
Ocular plastic surgery, Dr. Kristan explains,was first used in World War II to repair injuries to the orbital area, which is the tissue around the eye. Today, in addition to reconstructive and functional eye surgery done for medical reasons, many people are opting for cosmetic surgery to correct droopy or baggy eyelids and improve the overall look of the face.
In some cases, both functional and cosmetic concerns may be present. “You have to listen to what is bothering the patient,” Dr.Kristan notes. “Is their vision impacted by the excess eyelid skin, or is it more a matter of not liking the way their eyes make them look?” An eye evaluation will determine what procedure will benefit the individual patient’s needs.
Dr. Kristan explains that cosmetic fillers, and neuromodulators like Botox, are useful tools but they do not achieve the same results as blepharoplasty. “Fillers are very artistic,” he observes. “It’s like you’re sculpting.” Although fillers and neuromodulators are often used to refresh the eye area, they do not remove excess eyelid skin and are not intended to be a substitute for blepharoplasty when it is indicated. “Neuromodulators and fillers serve one purpose, and blepharoplasty serves another,”he says.
Dr. Kristan advises patients to consult an ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam before undergoing blepharoplasty. “Any eyelid surgery, whether cosmetic or functional, will change the dynamics of the blink,” he explains, and cautions that “conditions like dry eye, especially if it’s severe, can result in issues post-surgery.” It’s important, therefore, to have your eyes evaluated to rule out any underlying problems.
fosterMD –Facial Plastic Surgeon