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Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid Surgery (blepharoplasty)

As we get older, the upper eyelids tend to sag and our lower eyelids tend to become puffy. This can lead to a tired and older looking appearance. Blepharoplasty is a procedure designed to remove any puffiness and sagging, giving the eyes a smoother and more youthful appearance.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to do the procedure?

Eyelid operations take between one to three hours, depending on whether the surgery involves both upper and lower lids.  For the upper eye, an incision (or cut) is made in the natural fold of the eye lid and then excess skin and fat are removed.  For the lower eyelids, an incision is created just beneath the lash line.

What type of anaesthetic is used?

Eyelid surgery is usually performed as a day case procedure, using local anaesthetic along with some drugs to make you feel drowsy. Occasionally, a general anaesthetic is given. Mr Henley will discuss your anaesthetic preference with you.


How will I feel after my surgery?

When the local anaesthetic wears off, there can be a slight throbbing tenderness around the eyes. However, blepharoplasty is a fairly comfortable procedure and many people do not need painkillers at all. There will be bruising and swelling and your eyes may be watery for the first two days. You may also experience a dry and gritty feeling for up to six weeks. Avoiding contact lenses during the first six weeks is a must.

After surgery, it may feel tight when closing your eyes. You may even be unable to close your eyes at first. Do not be alarmed - this feeling will disappear within the next week or two.

The scars occasionally become a little tight during the four to six weeks following surgery and their appearance may concern you. Should this problem occur, it usually settles down on its own within six months.


What are the risks of surgery?

Any risks will be discussed with you in detail at your consultation. You will also be provided with detailed written information to help you make an informed decision about any surgery.

After this operation, you may feel that your eyesight is not quite so good and that you now need glasses. This is because the swelling, which occurs after surgery, can make you more aware of any age related changes (decline) in your eyesight. As the swelling subsides over the coming months, much of this is likely to improve.

Don’t expect your eyes to match perfectly. Most people have minor differences in the size and shape of their eyes and cheeks (orbital asymmetry). Cosmetic eyelid surgery can make such pre existing differences much more obvious to you although others are unlikely to notice. 

Blindness has been reported as a complication of blepharoplasty in some medical journals. However, this was some time ago and when surgical practices were much less sophisticated than they are now. Mr Henley has no experience of this complication in any patient he has operated on and neither have his colleagues. He, nevertheless, believes that you should be aware that these reports exist. Other risks include bleeding and infection, although these are extremely rare.


When will I be able to get back to my usual schedule?

Expect some bruising and swelling at first; those black eyes are normal. You may want to pack a pair of sunglasses for the journey home. The swelling may also blur your vision for a day or two, but this will settle down. You can keep these side effects to the minimum by sleeping in an upright position for the first few nights. Ice packs (wrapped in a towel or cloth and never directly to the skin) applied to the area two or three times a day can be soothing.

Four to seven days after surgery, the surgical glue used to close the incisions will be peeled away. Concealer make-up can now be applied if you wish, and you should be presentable to go out and about or back to work within two weeks. Remember to avoid using contact lenses for the first six weeks following the surgery. 

People often say that they can see a dramatic improvement in looks within the first few weeks. However, you should not judge the final result until about six months.


Can I have this procedure on the NHS?

Usually, there is very little chance of obtaining correction of lower eyelids on the NHS or through private healthcare insurance. However, if your upper eyelids are sagging to such an extent that it affects your vision, funding may be possible. Mr Henley will advise you about your possible options during the consultation.


How long do the results last?

The results of a well performed blepharoplasty are usually long lasting (around 15 years).  However, it’s good to remember that aging never stops which is why the results are not permanent and some people develop subsequent wrinkles after a few years.



Eyelid surgery before & after surgery

Patient A - Upper and Lower Eyelids

Before surgery

This lady wanted an upper and lower Blepharoplasty. The pre-operative photograph shows that there is an excess of skin on both the upper and lower lids.

At the end of the operation

This next photograph shows the patient immediately at the end of the operation. The incision lines and inevitable bruising that goes with this surgery are clearly visible.


Before surgery - Fat Transfer

11 months after surgery

Patient B - Upper Eyelids Only

You can see in this lady’s pre-operative photographs that the skin on the upper eyelid has lost its shape and tone, causing droopiness and hiding of the upper eyelid crease. To correct the sagging upper eyelid, incisions are made where the natural arch and crease of the eye should be.

Before surgery


Six weeks after surgery

You can see that the youthful looking upper eyelid crease has been restored


Eight months after surgery

Before surgery


Eight months after surgery


This photograph shows the markings made by Mr Henley just before the operation. These markings assist the surgeon in determining where the natural crease should be and how much skin needs to be removed


Six weeks after surgery

These photos show the scar line at six weeks.


Eight months after surgery

Note how the scar changes with time from a red line to one that is almost invisible.

Patient C - Upper Eyelids Only

Before surgery

This lady was also concerned with the droopiness of her upper eyelid

Seven months after surgery


Before surgery


Seven months after surgery

Scars at six weeks after surgery

Scars six months after surgery


Scars at six weeks after surgery

This gentleman was made aware of his Orbital Asymmetry during consultation with Mr Henley before his surgery.

Eleven months after surgery

If you look closely, you may be able to see that this gentleman's left eye sits a little more forward than the right


Mr Henley would like to thank these patients for allowing their photographs to be displayed for the benefit of others who may be considering cosmetic surgery.

The information provided is intended to give a brief outline of the procedure. It is not a substitute for a personal consultation with a surgeon.


Contact 0800 288 4777

Get in touch to discuss having Mr Henley as your Consultant Plastic Surgeon