As we get older, for many people the skin around our eyes is the first to show signs of ageing. Excess skin and fat can create a heavy looking eyelid - giving the area around the eyes a puffy, aged appearance. Sometimes these effects, particularly eye bags, are made worse by an inherited condition.
Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is a common cosmetic procedure during which a skilled cosmetic surgeon removes skin, fat and muscle from the eyelids (including removing the ‘bags’). It can also improve vision for some people if the excess tissue was impairing it.
For most people, the skin around the eyes is the first to show signs of ageing. As you get older, your eyelids can become droopy or ‘bags’ might develop under your eyes. Excess skin or fat on the upper eyelid can also impair your vision. Some people’s genes can mean they develop bags under the eyes from a very early age too.
When you look in the mirror you might feel that your appearance, thanks to droopy eyes or bags, does not fit with the vigour or general good health of your mind and body. That can affect your confidence, and you may feel that people don't see the real you.
Eyelid surgery aims to smooth these out to give you a more alert and youthful appearance. People who have had this procedure done with us have said they feel more confident and relaxed about their appearance afterwards.
Some people with the genetic tendency towards early development of bags under the eyes might decide to have surgery in their 20s.
During eyelid surgery, one of our expert consultants will remove skin, fat and muscle from around your eyes. This could mean treating either the upper or lower eyelid or both.
This surgery can't however remove crow’s feet or change the colour of dark shadows under the eyes. If you are worried about the appearance of crow’s feet and other wrinkles around the eye socket, you should speak with one of our skilled cosmetic surgeons. They might recommend another procedure - such as anti-wrinkle treatment by injection or brow lifts - which can be done at the same time as eyelid surgery. You may consider eyelid surgery if you have eyelid problems.
We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence, you'll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
Cosmetic surgery can be a life enhancing decision and we’re here to help you make the right one. Our experienced cosmetic surgeons will guide you through every step of the way.
It’s important to meet with your chosen consultant before treatment so that you are entirely comfortable with them and they know what you want to achieve. This is a chance to discuss just what your eyelid or eye bag treatment can - and can’t - achieve. For example, your operation won’t remove crow’s feet. You can talk to us about anti-wrinkle injections or brow lifts to tackle crow’s feet and improve the appearance of other areas around your eyes. Your consultant can talk you through the potential benefits and risks of eyelid surgery.
It’s helpful to bring some pictures and a friend or relative to your initial meeting to make sure you raise all the things you want to talk about and as a sounding board later. You should also ask to see some of the surgeon's recent before and after pictures of similar operations they've performed.
This is an important decision and we're here to listen and to help you achieve your goals.
If you decide to go ahead with eyelid surgery, we'll allow at least two weeks between your consultation and the date for surgery. This is because we want you to be really happy and confident with your decision.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having cosmetic surgery can cause you anxiety and worry - even if the procedure is as common and relatively straightforward as eyelid surgery. Our experienced and caring clinical staff will be there with you every step of the way. As well as delivering excellent care and treatment, they’ll answer your questions and provide reassurance if you are worried at any point.
During eyelid surgery, our cosmetic surgeons will correct either an upper eyelid, lower eyelid (including eye bag removal) - or both.
Your surgeon is likely to recommend that you have a general anaesthetic for the procedure - which generally takes one to two hours. It can be shorter than that if you're just having one eyelid done. You can talk to your surgeon about possibly having a local anaesthetic. This means you'll be awake during the procedure but only the area around your eyes will be numb.
Blepharoplasty removes excess skin, fat and muscle from around your eyes. For surgery on the upper eyelids, your surgeon will make cuts into the natural lines and creases in the lid and into the laughter lines at the corner of your eye. On the lower eyelids, the cut will usually be just below your eyelashes. This means the scars will run along the eye’s natural folds, hiding them as much as possible. If only fat is being removed and no excess skin, the cut may be made inside the lower eyelid, leaving no visible scar.
The exact position of the cuts will depend on if you are having treatment on your upper or lower eyelid, or both.
They will then remove or reposition excess fat and then the loose muscle and skin.
The surgeon will then finish by applying fine sutures and tiny sterile bandages.
If your operation has been planned as a day-case, you will be able to go home once you have made a full recovery from the anaesthesia. However, you’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home. You should try to arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours.
You will probably experience some pain around your eyes immediately after the procedure.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Your consultant will advise you on how to make your recovery as quick as possible.
When you get home you’ll need to take things easy at first. Arrange at least a week off work. Most people go back to work after a week to ten days. You must not try to drive until you can see normally again.
You'll also find:
You should be able to see the final results of your surgery once swelling and bruising have disappeared after about three weeks.
Once you’re ready to be discharged, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive. We strongly recommend you discuss this with friends and relatives in advance. You should also ask them if they can run some light errands such as shopping as you won’t be feeling up for it.
The nurse will give you a contact telephone number for the hospital and a date for a follow-up appointment with your surgeon. The stitches are usually removed about five to ten days later at the out-patient clinic.
On rare occasions, complications can occur following eyelid surgery. If you experience any of these symptoms – increasing pain; bleeding that doesn’t stop within 10 to 15 minutes; blurred vision that lasts more than three or four days – don’t hesitate to call us
Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
But everybody is different. If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery and the appearance of your eyelids, you can return for a follow-up appointment with your consultant.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.