How to deal with your aging eyelids
From wrinkles to sagging, what can help?
You’ve worn sunscreen on your face every day to protect your skin from the sun’s effects. You’ve also tried night creams, ointments and serums — every over-the-counter remedy to keep your aging skin looking young. But if your eyelids are beginning to droop and the skin around your eyes has wrinkled, you might see “tired eyes” every time you look in the mirror.
If you’ve exhausted your options but you still want to look young again, your best option might be a cosmetic procedure or surgery.
“There are a number of options to make skin around your eyes look firm again, depending on whether you’ve got wrinkles, puffiness or drooping eyelids,” says Dr. Gregory W. Bormes, a plastic and cosmetic surgeon at Geisinger Community Medical Center. “Advancements in cosmetic procedures mean that you might be able to see results in appearance without surgery.”
Why do eyelids droop over time?
Your skin begins to lose elasticity as you age, causing the skin above and below your eyes to begin sagging. This excess skin may start to look wrinkly and, in some cases, may negatively impact your vision.
In addition, the fat that cushions your eyes may fill in excess skin around your eyes, giving the appearance of puffiness above the eye or bags underneath.
Crow’s feet on the outside corner of your eyes can also deepen as you age due to sun exposure and squinting.
Non-surgical cosmetic eyelid procedures
There are a number of non-surgical procedures that can make the skin around your eyes look smooth and firm again. The option that is right for you will depend on your particular problem and the results you’re hoping to achieve.
For wrinkles below the eyes, muscle-relaxing injections are gaining in popularity because of their easy administration and short recovery time.
Injectable fillers can reduce the look of hollowness under the eyes, as well as fill in deep crevices.
“Muscle-relaxing injections and fillers can smooth deep wrinkles with limited recovery time, though the procedure needs to be repeated to keep relaxing muscles and preventing wrinkles from reappearing,” says Dr. Bormes.
Cosmetic surgery for eyelids
If you’re looking for a more permanent option to eliminate saggy eyelids, or if your vision is affected by drooping skin, you may look to surgery for the fix.
“Eyelid surgery removes small flaps of skin and fat, and can also reposition fat so eyes appear less puffy in places and fuller in hollow areas,” says Dr. Bormes.
During an eye lift, called a blepharoplasty, a surgeon will typically remove skin, fat and muscle above the eye along the lines of your eyelids and use small stitches to reconnect the lids. On lower eyelids, a surgeon may make a small incision to remove fat from the baggy part of the eyelid and reposition it to the hollow area.
Eye lifts are often done as outpatient procedures, which means you can go home shortly after your surgery to begin recovery, which lasts a few weeks. During recovery, you may experience swelling and bruising.
Many patients are satisfied with the results of their eye lifts; however, some patients’ eyelids will begin to droop again after surgery.
“The results of any cosmetic procedure or surgery vary from patient to patient, so it’s important to have an honest conversation with your doctor about expectations before you decide to move forward with injections or an eye lift,” said Dr. Bormes.
Gregory Bormes, MD, is a fellowship-trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon who sees patients at Geisinger Community Medical Center. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bormes or another specialist, please call 800-275-6401.