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Double eyelid surgery, also known as Asian eyelid surgery, is a procedure that creates a natural-looking eyelid crease in people who do not have one. (Learn More)
People of Asian descent who do not have an eyelid crease due to genetic reasons most commonly request double eyelid surgery, but anyone looking to improve the appearance or function of their upper eyelids can get the surgery. (Learn More)
Double eyelid surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and typically completed within a couple hours. Suture litigation and external incision are the two primary surgical approaches to the procedure. (Learn More)
As with any surgery, complications can occur with double eyelid surgery. These can range in severity from dry eye to malpositioned or asymmetric creases to vision loss. (Learn More)
Immediately after surgery, the eyes will be swollen, and you may experience some pain and discomfort. Swelling can last a couple of weeks, but most people make a full recovery in three to four weeks. (Learn More)
Surgeon costs alone for double eyelid surgery run an average of $3,000. Additional expenses include facility fees, costs of anesthesia, and postoperative care. As an elective cosmetic procedure, insurance rarely covers the surgery, so you will most likely have to cover all expenses yourself. (Learn More)
Double Eyelid Surgery
Double eyelid surgery, also known as Asian blepharoplasty, is an elective cosmetic procedure. The surgery makes a crease or fold in the upper eyelid.
People who do not have a distinct crease in their upper eyelid may get this surgery because they think it makes their eyes look better and brighter.
The procedure got the name Asian eyelid surgery because many people of Asian heritage do not have a distinct crease in their upper eye. There is a genetic wdifference in the way the upper eyelid skin attaches to the muscle that pulls the eyelid up. If desired, double eyelid surgery can change the look of the eyelid.
Who Is a Candidate for Double Eyelid Surgery?
People of Asian descent are not the only people who seek double eyelid surgery. Anyone who wishes to change the appearance of their eyelid may get it.
People may get the surgery:
- To reduce puffy upper eyelids or add a crease.
- As part of a surgery to fix drooping eyelids.
- For medical reasons in order to remove extra skin on the eyelids that is causing vision problems.
If you think you could benefit from double eyelid surgery, consult with a plastic surgeon who is experienced with eyelid surgeries. They will be able to assess if you are a good candidate for the surgery and likely to achieve the outcomes you are hoping for.
What to Expect From the Surgery
Double eyelid surgery is a permanent surgical procedure with the goal of leaving the patient with a natural-looking eyelid crease.
There are two primary methods for creating the new eyelid crease. These are:
Suture litigation.Through this approach, eyelid tissues are compressed and indented to form a new crease. Once the eyelid is in the right position, sutures are placed and buried under the skin.This technique creates a crease that stays in place, meaning it does not move as you look down. With suture litigation, the results can fade over time.
External incision.This approach starts by marking the new crease on the eyelid to ensure the best placement and then making an incision. Skin, fat, and underlying muscle of the eyelid can be removed in patients with particularly heavy eyelids. The skin-muscle flap is then repositioned to help form the new crease.Unlike suture litigation, external incision creates a dynamic flap that moves as you look around.
The entire operation takes about two hours in total and is performed on an outpatient basis. Before being sent home, you will monitored for a short time as you wake up from the anesthesia. This also allows your eyes a cooling off period. Once discharged, someone else will need to drive you home, and you’ll need to rest and recover.
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential complications that can happen with double eyelid surgery. Although it is a commonly performed and relatively safe procedure, all surgeries present the possibility for negative side effects and outcomes.
Potential complications associated with double eyelid surgery include the following:
- Orbital hemorrhage
- Dry eye
- Damage to the cornea
- Poorly positioned, asymmetric, or incomplete or indistinct lid crease
In addition to the above complications, it is possible that the new crease fails to form following surgery. When this happens, additional surgery may be recommended to create a deeper crease that will take hold and give the desired results.
What Does Recovery Look Like?
Immediately after surgery, your eyes will be swollen and some pain is to be expected. Over-the-counter pain medications are often sufficient to address the pain and discomfort.
The following steps should also be taken to enhance recovery:
- Apply ice packs to decrease swelling.
- Relax in an elevated head position, including in bed, to decrease swelling.
- Apply antibiotic eye ointment as directed by your surgeon.
The average recovery time for double eyelid surgery is about three weeks. Any strenuous activity should be avoided during this time.
In the first days and weeks after surgery, the eyes will be swollen, and bruising of the whites of the eyes can occur. Sutures are removed one to two weeks following surgery.
Most people make a complete recovery after four weeks, though swelling can last for up to six months after the surgery. Although the eyes may be swollen, the results of the surgery are noticeable right away.
During the consultation, we will ask you about your eye health history and your medications, and perform some tests. You will then be examined by the surgeon who will discuss your treatment options. Your personal Patient Counselor will help you throughout the process.
Your Counselor can review payment options and schedule you for surgery and related appointments, such as pre- and post-operative exams. Prior to your procedure you will have a dilated eye exam, and you should discontinue wearing your contact lenses and begin taking eye drops as instructed.
Plan to be at the center for two to three hours the day of your procedure. ICL eye surgery is a fairly brief outpatient procedure. Your surgeon dilates your eyes, and gives you a local anesthetic to numb the area. A tiny incision is made, and the clear lens is slipped between your iris and your eye’s natural lens. The day of your procedure should be a day of rest.
Your Patient Counselor will give you detailed post-operative instructions and eye drop regimen for your recovery. After ICL surgery, you’ll need several follow-ups with your eye doctor. Visual recovery is rapid, and you can expect noticeable improvement within a day or two. Most patients are generally able to return to their normal activities within two or three days following their procedure.
How Common Is Eyelid Surgery?
Over 211,000 people in the U.S. received the procedure in 2019, which was up 2 percent from 2018.
About 50 percent of people of Asian descent do not have an upper eyelid crease. Because of this, Asian blepharoplasty is the most commonly requested cosmetic surgery in Asia. Among Asian Americans, it is the third most commonly requested procedure.
What Is the Cost?
The average cost of eyelid surgery is about $3,200, reports ASPS, though this number only includes surgeon fees. The costs of anesthesia, operating room and hospital expenses, and any aftercare you receive will be added on top of that.
As an elective cosmetic procedure, it is unlikely that your insurance will cover the surgery. Most plastic surgeries are not covered by insurance and must be paid out of pocket. Be sure you know the total cost of the procedure before signing up for it, as you will mostly likely be responsible for the entire fee.
Asian Blepharoplasty. AEDIT.
Asian Blepharoplasty. (August 2009). Seminars in Plastic Surgery.
How Much Does Double Eyelid Surgery Cost? (May 2020). MedicineNet.
Plastic Surgery Statistics Report. (2020). American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Complications of Blepharoplasty: Prevention and Management. (May 2012). Plastic Surgery International.