Frequently Asked Questions About Eyelid Surgery

We understand that making decisions about eyelid surgery can be difficult. It is our experience that informed patients will be the most satisfied with their results. Dr. Levin has provided the content on this page for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.

What is cosmetic eyelid surgery?

Cosmetic eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) involves sculpting the upper and lower eyelids in order to restore a youthful appearance to the eyes, and sometimes to improve vision. Upper eyelid surgery can open up droopy upper eyelids. Lower eyelid surgery removes puffiness and swelling. Most patients look younger and more rested after successful eyelid surgery.

I am of Asian ancestry. What can you do for my eyes?

Many Asian patients request a "double" upper eyelid and removal of the bags beneath the lower eyelids.

How are lower eyelids treated?

Today, there are many options excellent for improving lower eyelids. Lower eyelid bulges are usually treated with a transconjunctival incision (incision inside the eyelid) so as to avoid a visible scar. Some patients may be candidates for newer techniques such as fat transfer, mid-face elevation, laser resurfacing and/or canthoplasty.

What is the success rate of cosmetic eyelid surgery?

Eyelid surgery is very successful in patients who have been properly educated and have reasonable expectations.

How is cosmetic eyelid surgery performed?

Dr. Levin attempts to maximize results while minimizing side effects by individualizing each procedure to the specific patient. The Silktouch carbon dioxide laser is used on excessive tissue of the eyelids. After sculpting the eyelids, fine absorbable or removable sutures are used.

Is there any pain after surgery?

Patients have surprisingly little discomfort after most eyelid procedures. Generally, over the counter Tylenol in conjunction with ice pack placement over the eyes for 24 hours is all that is needed. An occasional patient will require stronger medication.

Can the procedure be performed in your office?

Most cosmetic eyelid surgery is performed in our surgical suite for your convenience, confidentiality and comfort. Our operating room is approved by the California Medical Association's Institute for Medical Quality which meets California State standards for outpatient surgical procedures.

How long does the operation take?

We ask you to arrive at the office ½ hr before surgery and to stay until you feel you are ready to go home. The actual procedure generally takes 90 minutes for upper and lower eyelids.

Are the eyes patched closed?

Your eyes are never patched closed. We place ointment in the eyes that modestly blurs your vision. If you notice problems with your vision, we want to know immediately. We ask that you keep ice packs or packets of frozen peas on your eyes for 24 to 48 hours after surgery when you are awake but resting.

When can I return to normal activities?

Most patients are watching TV within one to two days after surgery, and can read and work at a computer terminal within three to four days. The eyes will fatigue quicker during this period, however. Patients generally return to work seven to ten days after surgery and resume athletic workouts two weeks after surgery. We ask our patients to recognize that healing occurs gradually over weeks to months, although most improvement occurs in the first month.

Am I too young to have surgery?

Most patients with heavy eyelids have had the condition since birth and are candidates for upper eyelid surgery in their twenties, though most wait until their mid-thirties or later. Lower eyelid bags are nearly universal and come on with age, although the exact age usually depends on hereditary factors.

What if I’ve had LASIK or other refractive surgery?

Patients who "throw away" eyeglasses following corrective vision surgery often find that eyelid bags heretofore hidden by the glasses appear more pronounced. Patients who have had successful corrective vision surgery are excellent candidates for cosmetic eyelid surgery. We usually recommend that three to six months separate cosmetic eyelid surgery and refractive surgery.

Can other procedures be performed at the same time?

Yes, other facial surgical and laser procedures can be combined with eyelid surgery. Brow lift (forehead lift) and facial laser resurfacing are the most commonly performed additional procedures.

How much does surgery cost?

Fees reflect your specific issue and the extent of surgery needed to correct it. A price estimate will be given at your consultation for cosmetic surgery that includes the surgeon's fee, the fee for the operating room, and the fee for an anesthetist if required.

Will my insurance cover eyelid surgery?

Insurance does not pay for cosmetic surgery.

What if I don't have insurance coverage or have HMO/Kaiser coverage?

Many of our patients elect not to use their HMO plans (including Kaiser), enabling them to choose their own eyelid surgeon. Eyelid surgery can be accomplished in our approved surgical suite and is an affordable option for many individuals who desire to improve their appearance.