Eye Lid Surgery Experience
This eye lid surgery can give one of the most dramatic results, plastic surgeons usually recommend having both upper and lower eye lid reduction at the same time. They compare having one without the other as painting one wall of a room. Having one done will make the other look twice as bad. Upper and lower eye lid reduction can take away a very tired look and make you look younger. However, if you don’t have big eyes prior to cosmetic surgery you won’t have big eyes after it. Have realistic expectations and you won’t be disappointed.
Looking in the mirror each morning became a nightmare for me, I suffered from the hereditary condition ptosis or drooping eye lids. My father was 60 when he had an upper eye lid reduction on the NHS. He had the excess skin removed whilst under a local anaesthetic. He never had any regrets and my first port of call was to ask his opinion. “Get it done” he said “it makes the world of difference to the way you feel”. Of course most people have to have eye lid surgery done privately, me included.
The worst thing for me was that during the last twelve months one eye had continued to droop lower than the other causing me to look and feel lopsided. I turned 50 in the January and boy did that make me feel old, so now I was old and lopsided!
I decided on a plastic surgeon quite quickly, my daughter had a breast reduction a few years earlier and I was in no doubt the plastic surgeon had done a wonderful job. She was my first choice so I made an appointment for a consultation, you have to pay a small fee for this which will vary, but it is well worth it in order to get an honest opinion. She took me through the details of the operation; she recommended both upper and lower eye lid reduction. There were fat deposits in my lower eye lids (looked liked bags to me!) which she would remove. An incision would be made just under my eye lashes and the fat removed. The excess skin would be removed from my upper eyelid and a cut would be made across the crease and slightly downwards into the crease at the side of the eye. I must admit that I was so bothered about my upper eye lids that I did not consider the bags underneath my eyes, but whilst I was having the one it made perfect sense to have them both done.
I was weighed and my height was taken. I was asked a few medical questions, and I was advised to have a thorough eye test prior to surgery as I had suffered from dry eyes and this type of surgery can aggravate the condition.
Whilst going through details of the operation I was told in detail all the things that can go wrong, whilst I was aware of most of them, some of them I had never even thought of. You can in fact lose your eye lashes! The post operative photos I was shown would be enough to put any normal person off, however, years of watching makeover programs had prepared me and I didn’t flinch, this was too important to me to be bothered about a bit of swelling or should I say a lot of swelling.
I was shown before and after photos of eyes, not glamorous ones with models wearing loads of makeup, but normal people and without make up. The changes were very subtle; the people looked the same just less tired and a few years younger. I had already decided before I left the room that I was having this eye surgery as soon as possible. Any fears I had were dispelled, I had been invited to ask questions but I have to say all my questions were answered in the detailed consultation. It is advisable though to have prepared questions because you will no doubt forget to ask something important if you don’t.
I was lucky enough to be able to have eye surgery just three weeks after my consultation. I had been told I would need 1-2 weeks recovery period, being self employed made it easier to get time off but I knew I would have to return to work as quickly as possible. I was advised that I would have a general anaesthetic and have to stay in hospital for 24 hours. I also had to arrange the payment so that the hospital had cleared funds prior to my scheduled surgery date. I was advised to start taking the arnica tablets prior to surgery and afterwards to help reduce the bruising. Arnica is a natural remedy used to help reduce both bruising and swelling.
When I arrived at the hospital on the of the surgery, I wasn’t worried but I was keen to get it over and done with. Because of my age I had to have my heart monitored, it’s that over 50 bit rearing its head again, well ok it did put my mind at ease that my heart was healthy. The anaesthetist came to see me to check whether I had ever had any problems with an anaesthetic. My plastic surgeon came to see me and marked my upper eye lids and also my lower eye lids in preparation for the eye surgery.
I was taken down to the operating theatre I was told the surgery would last a couple of hours, the next thing I knew I was being woken, I had been warned that I wouldn’t be able to see once out of theatre as I would have cold eye patches over my eyes. I had a burning sensation as I woke but as soon as the nurse realised I had some pain she administered some additional pain killer. I also had a weird feeling at the bottom of my legs. It was like I was having blood pressure taken with one of them sleeves. The nurse told me that they were collars put on the calves of my legs to help prevent DVT.
It was a few hours later when I was returned to my room. I suppose it’s the only time I have ever felt like someone who is blind would feel. Unfortunately because it was late none of my family could get to the hospital in time to visit, if I had thought about it I would have arranged for them to be with me on my return from surgery. I spent the next few hours not being able to find my drink, use the phone or do anything else. Once I could change the eye patches myself it was no problem, I could see a small amount but the swelling does restrict your sight quite a lot in the first few days.
After eye lid surgery you have to sleep propped up with pillows, as I was given relaxation tablets this was no problem, for the first time in a hospital environment I slept well. The next day I got out of bed slowly, I was aware of the swelling but there was no actual pain. I moved towards the mirror, oh boy I looked like I had gone 10 rounds with Mohamed Ali (showing my age again), even so I could see a marked improvement, through the bruises I could see my under eyes were smooth no bags, the fat removal had worked wonders.
I was checked over, given medication to take home and I was on my way. It goes without saying that you can’t drive for a couple of weeks, your vision is impaired for at least a fortnight until the swelling goes down. Drops and ointment are prescribed to keep your eyes as comfortable as possible but they do get sore. I found cold compress’s helped especially when the eyes are healing and start to itch. As the swelling goes down the scar tissue starts to tighten, it is important to moisturise the scars as much as possible. I used a Simple eye moisturiser 3-4 times a day and still do now; it helps to keep the skin supple.
After just over a week the stitches come out. It isn’t painful but it is a weird experience as the stitch goes from one side of the eye lid to the other, when pulled you can feel it going through. Once the stitches are out the eye is much more comfortable. Stera strips are put at the side of the eye and these stay in place for another week.
As times goes by the soreness reduces, as does the swelling and the bruising, each day you can see huge improvement. I have to say that during these first few weeks I didn’t feel like putting make up on and it’s advisable not to for at least 2 weeks. The first time I did use make up after the eye surgery I couldn’t wait to get it back off again. The scars on the lower eye lids healed very quickly and after two weeks I could not even see them.
I have put some before and after eye surgery photos below for you to see, because they are magnified and taken close up they are not very flattering but as you will see even just a few weeks after surgery there is a marked improvement. The good thing is each week the eyes continue to improve and the scars fade. It’s been three months now and you would have to look really close to see any sign of a scar. My eyes continue to improve and I will never regret having blepharoplasty.
Some Tips you may find useful if you ever decide on this type of eye surgery:
Start to take Arnica at least 4 weeks prior to surgery and for at least 4 weeks after.
Be prepared, try any products you want to use prior to your eye surgery and try to use ones you have used before in case of allergies.
Have someone there with you when you come back from surgery, when you can’t see it will help.
Eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can, vitamin C will help the healing process and an all around healthy diet will aid the healing process.
Get organised purchase essential items you may need prior to going into hospital. This is a list of items I found useful:
A pair of sunglasses that cover the whole eye including the sides, it will make it more comfortable when you go out during the first couple of weeks as well as hide some of the swelling and bruising.
Cotton pads – cotton wool may stick to your eyes so purchase the large cotton type pads which you can soak in pre boiled water and keep in the fridge to give you a nice cool pad to ease soreness, swelling and help reduce itchiness.
Antiseptic cream – If you do get any irritation in the scar area you may need to use a mild antiseptic but do check with your surgeon first.
Facial cleansing wipes –In the early days it is useful to use these rather than washing your face as you can be more careful working around your face and eyes. Make sure you use products that you have used previously to prevent allergies.
Eye drops – Your eyes may get very dry and drops can help with this, it is worth mentioning though that over use can make the eyes worse, only use them when you actually need them.
Eye lid moisturiser – Use products that are specifically for the eye area and remember to try it on your skin prior to putting it on your eyes just in case you are allergic to it. Use moisturiser as often as you can and as a minimum morning and night.
New eye make up – The last thing you want is to get an infection, throw away the old makeup, brushes and pads and invest in some new. Make up brushes to apply eye shadow are much gentler to use than the pad type after this eye surgery
Invest in a good eye makeup remover for when you start wearing eye make up again, if possible get a moisturising one I found the Johnson’s one particularly gentle.
I still find it hard to believe how much better I feel for having this eye lid reduction surgery.
If you would like to ask any questions in relation to my experience then please e mail. Please remember though that everyone’s experience may be different.