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What is Eyelid Tightening?

By J. Beam
Updated May 21, 2024
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Eyelid tightening is a surgical cosmetic procedure performed by a plastic surgeon to eliminate or reduce drooping or sagging eyelids. The medical term for eyelid tightening is blepharoplasty. While eyelid tightening is a procedure that will reduce drooping eyelids and can be performed on both upper and lower eyelids, it does not reduce or eliminate the fine wrinkles known as crow's feet or laugh lines.

Typically, patients who undergo an eyelid tightening procedure are middle-aged, healthy individuals who would like to eliminate sagging or drooping around their eyes. Younger patients with droopy eyelids that may be a hereditary feature are also candidates for eyelid tightening. It is not a procedure that will dramatically change one's appearance, but it can be done in conjunction with other procedures if more specific results are desired. A consultation with a plastic surgeon is necessary to determine if eyelid tightening is right for any patient.

The procedure is performed under local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the eye. Incisions are made following the natural creases in the upper eyelid and just below the lash line on the lower eyelids. The skin is then separated from the fatty tissue and excess fat is removed. It may also be necessary to trim some muscle. The excess, sagging skin is then trimmed away and the incision is closed up with extremely fine sutures.

After the procedure, patients can expect mild to moderate pain and discomfort that can be controlled with pain medication. Dry, itchy, or burning eyes are not an uncommon side effect of eyelid tightening, but severe burning or discomfort can indicate a problem. A qualified cosmetic surgeon will closely monitor their patient for one to two weeks following an eyelid tightening procedure, and though every surgical procedure carries some risk, the most common risk associated with eyelid tightening is infection.

Most patients who undergo eyelid tightening are restricted from watching television or reading for two to three days and can return to work or normal activity within seven to ten days. Though everyone heals differently, complete healing can be expected for most patients within one month. Some eye conditions, such as glaucoma, can affect the risk of eyelid tightening, so a proper pre-consult with an ophthalmologist may be recommended.

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Discussion Comments

By turquoise — On Jul 28, 2013

I had lower eyelid blepharoplasty done a few weeks ago. I can't say anything about upper eyelid blepharoplasty because I think the procedure is different, but lower was very easy and quick. I had local anesthesia and didn't feel a thing. I think it all lasted less than twenty minutes.

I think upper eyelid tightening is more complicated, but I wouldn't hesitate to have lower eyelid tightening again.

By discographer — On Jul 27, 2013

@literally45-- Topical products may help with wrinkles on the eyelids, but if your problem is droopy eyelids, no topical product can treat it. Surgery is the best treatment option.

I understand that you're worried about possible consequences, but if you do your research and work with an experienced doctor, everything will be fine.

My sister had eyelid tightening surgery for her upper eyelids six months ago. Her eyelids had become droopy due to age. The operation was successful and her eyelids look great now. There were no complications. Don't let people scare you about this surgery. Like I said, find a good doctor, get all the information you need and go for it!

By literally45 — On Jul 27, 2013

@anon55593-- I wanted to get eyelid tightening surgery but I've heard that many things can go wrong. I've heard of people who ended up with uneven eyelids and others who could not open and close their eyelids as easily after surgery.

Are eyelid tightening creams and serums really effective?

By anon55593 — On Dec 08, 2009

I appreciate the clear and concise description of the eyelid lift on the home page. The product which I love which is very effective for the fine wrinkling is Skin Ceuticals. This is used by the patient daily and is both preventive and therapeutic in wrinkle reduction.

Kimberly, Boston

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