Blepharoplasty, also known as eyelid reduction, eye lift or eyelid surgery, is a surgical procedure to reshape the eyelids by removing excess fat and skin. Blepharoplasty is a highly effective treatment for the signs of aging around the eye area and can improve common complaints of eye bags and hooded or droopy eyelids. The surgery can also help to improve vision.
As we age, the skin loses elasticity, causing it to wrinkle and sag. Our muscles also slacken as we grow older. This combination of lax skin and relaxed muscles causes the upper and lower eyelids to sag. Loose skin accumulates as folds in the upper eyelids and forms deepening creases in the lower eyelids. The relaxation of the muscle causes the fat which cushions the eyes in their sockets to push forward, causing eyebags to appear.
Stress, a lack of sleep, excessive sun exposure, smoking and genetics can make eye folds, creases and bags look worse.
The ageing process can also cause eyelids to droop and folds of skin to accumulate in the upper lids. Sometimes this gathered skin can hang over the eyelashes and interfere with vision. An upper blepharoplasty can improve vision and make you look younger. A lower blepharoplasty reduces wrinkles and puffiness, rejuvenating the eye area. The procedure is suitable for men and women looking for a quick and effective way to eliminate the tell-tale signs of aging around the eyes.
Blepharoplasty is increasing in popularity and was the third most popular surgical procedure carried out on men and women in the UK in 2020, beaten only by breast augmentation and breast reduction.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Reduction)
At A Glance
1 - 2 hours
Exercise Including Gym
Time Off Work
Restricted activity after 4 weeks
Shower after 1 week (area to be kept totally dry until this point)
On back, elevated is recommended for 2 – 4 weeks
Blepharoplasty Before & After Gallery
See what is possible by clicking the button below.
We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.
Miss. Elizabeth Hawkes
Consultant Ophthalmic And Oculoplastic Surgeon / GMC: 7049736
Miss Hawkes is a Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic surgeon. She is a specialist in cosmetic eyelid surgery, including upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty surgery...
Mr Orfaniotis is a board certified Plastic Surgeon with 13 years experience and over 7500 operations performed. His thirst for knowledge, passion for innovation, and years of practice have resulted in the highest level of expertise in reconstructive and aesthetic surgery...
The eye area is one of the first places on the face to display the signs of aging.
The skin around the eyes is very thin, so, combined with skin laxity caused by an age-related drop in collagen levels, this means the skin around the eyes is more prone to wrinkles, including crow’s feet, or laughter lines, at the corners of the eyes. This sagging also causes the brow to ‘drop’, meaning we lose our youthful wide-eyed appearance. The natural age-related descent in the midface area can cause tear troughs or hollows to develop underneath the eyes.
As we age, fat from the eyelids settles into the eye sockets, giving the eyes a ‘sunken’ appearance. The skin on the lower eyelids sags, resulting in under eye bags.
Although we are all affected by aging, there are certain lifestyle factors which can accelerate this natural process.
One of the biggest things you can do for your skin, not to mention your overall health, is to quit smoking. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, with many of these helping to destroy the skin’s natural collagen and elastin, which give the skin its elasticity. Loose excess skin under the eyes is a common trait which can be seen in smokers.
Excessive sun exposure also plays a huge role in premature aging. The sun’s UV rays penetrate the skin and affect collagen and elastin production, leading to wrinkles.
A lack of sleep, stress and a poor diet can contribute to the appearance of eye bags.
Sometimes the signs of aging around the eye area are down to genetics. For example, droopy eyelids (ptosis) can be hereditary while some people are also genetically predisposed toward dark circles under the eyes, and the early formation of under eye bags.
Get in touch
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If you have any questions or queries please call to speak to one of our advisors or request a call back to speak at a time that suits you.
Blepharoplasty is a very common procedure for both men and women looking to achieve a fresher, more youthful and rejuvenated facial appearance.
Blepharoplasty is a short and highly effective procedure that can achieve immediate changes with very little downtime, and the treatment can deliver both an improved physical and psychological sense of wellbeing.
Who Is Suitable?
Cadogan Clinic considers individuals fit for the procedure, if all of the following are true of them:
Physically and psychologically fit and healthy
Bothered by the appearance or by signs of ageing in the eye area of the face
Have realistic expectations of what can be achieved by surgery
I would like to thank the Cadogan Clinic and my surgeon for the outstanding job he did on my complicated and difficult surgery. Mine was an unusual case, but I could not have had a better outcome. Throughout the whole process from my first contact with the clinic I had wonderful support. Someone was always on the end of the phone, and I really appreciated the support
I was nervous before my procedure, but I was put at ease by all the staff I encountered from my patient advisor, surgeon and the nursing staff. It was a huge reassurance to have access to the 24/7 on call nurse service immediately after my procedure also.
The Cadogan Clinic and their surgical and nursing staff were excellent throughout my experience with them. The 24/7 nursing support in particular was a huge comfort to me, and I found them extremely responsive
A massive thank you to the Cadogan Clinic. I am very pleased with the results from my surgery. My patient advisor was extremely organised and made me feel reassured throughout the whole experience. My surgeon was excellent and so was the Clinic team - I could not have asked for a better service
I had a procedure at the Cadogan Clinic. From my first consultation, my surgeon was honest, straight forward, and precise. All the details and expectations of the surgery were fully explained, along with the after care. I am still in recovery, but the results already look fantastic; they delivered on all the promises that he made to me.
I could not praise the Cadogan Clinic or their fantastic staff more highly. I had a wonderful experience, am delighted with my outcome and in particular very grateful to the 24/7 nursing staff who were always on hand for any questions I had, at whatever time day or night
I wanted to say a big thank you to the Cadogan Clinic, I am so happy with the results from my surgery. I can’t thank my patient advisor enough for being my support throughout my journey. I felt so reassured from my initial consultation with her and she followed me up closely at each stage. Would recommend highly.
A huge thank you to the Cadogan Clinic who looked after me whilst having surgery. They treated me with so much care and it was truly appreciated. The care from the nurses was wonderful, and I genuinely felt that they really cared. First class service from the start. I also had follow-up calls the day after, couldn’t ask for more. A huge thank you to all involved
At Cadogan Clinic we use eyelid surgery in conjunction with non-surgical techniques to counteract the effects of ageing around the eyes, such as anti-ageing injectables. These are best for targeting wrinkles and fine lines, however, with Blepharoplasty more suited in cases where major intervention is required.
The first step for all of our patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation.
At the consultation, you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing ageing profile.
Having established what will be done, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.
Finally, a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding the post-procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.
If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two-week 'cooling-off' period.
Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.
If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure.
Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended/required:
In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications
In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission
On the day of your procedure, we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.
The procedure itself is straightforward and takes place under general anaesthetic over the course of between thirty minutes and one hour. The surgery involves your surgeon making tiny incisions along the natural crease of the eye carefully separating the skin from underlying structures and removing or repositioning the fatty tissue before stretching the skin and stitching it back together ensuring any wrinkles are smoothed out.
Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between one to two hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.
Once home you will have access to our dedicated oncall nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.
Blepharoplasty recovery is relatively quick and any residual swelling should subside in a matter of days. We advise total rest for several days after treatment. We recommend at least 1 week off work to allow adequately for this process. We also recommend avoiding UV light for 2 -4 weeks to aid the scarring process.
We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.
We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.
Why come to The Cadogan Clinic for your Blepharoplasty?
Cadogan Clinic is an award winning specialist cosmetic clinic, with a track record of delivering safe, high quality cosmetic surgery
We’re home to several of London’s best blepharoplasty specialists, and specialist opthalmologists and oculoplastic surgeons
Unlike many of our competitors, we use the latest anaesthetic technologies to minimise your downtime, and allow you to return home on the day of your procedure
Our nursing team provide a dedicated 24/7 oncall service during recovery – whatever your question, we can provide the answer
We offer a complimentary consultation and treatment with our onsite team of aestheticians to ensure you heal and scar quickly and efficiently
What are the benefits of day case surgery?
What are the risks
Complications are unlikely. That said, as with all surgery, some complications are possible, please read our FAQ's for more information.
Eyelid reduction is another term for blepharoplasty, but is specifically used to refer to techniques designed to tighten the eyelids and reduce, reshape or lift the eyelid skin around the eye to achieve a refreshed, rejuvenated appearance.
It is possible to tighten the eyelids and reduce, reshape and lift the eyelid skin in just 45 minutes, and this treatment is appropriate for both men and women.
WHAT SIDE EFFECTS DOES BLEPHAROPLASTY SURGERY HAVE?
It is very common after surgery to have puffy eyelids for a while, but significant complications are rare. You might have more trouble in the evening when trying to shut your eyes to sleep the first few nights. Your eyes may be irritated or watery for several weeks following the surgery, but this will return rapidly to normal. You may also have bruising resembling a black eye, and some light pink scarring that will fade over time.
Blurred vision immediately after surgery due to persisting local anaesthetic and ointment applied to the eye at the end of the procedure.
Our surgeons will explain all the risks, the likeliness of them occurring and any possibilities of complications upon consultation.
WHAT DOES BLEPHAROPLASTY SURGERY INVOLVE?
Blepharoplasty is a straightforward surgery which is carried out as a day case. It is usually done under Total Intravenous Anaesthesia (TIVA), a light anaesthetic, but smaller procedures may only require local anaesthetic. The surgery takes between 30 minutes and one hour, depending on the particular type of blepharoplasty which is being carried out.
There are three different types of procedure that our blepharoplasty surgeons carry out at the Cadogan Clinic:
Upper eyelid blepharoplasty: This surgery eliminates vision problems caused by age-related drooping eyelids. Upper eyelid blepharoplasty also restores a youthful appearance. Your surgeon will make an incision along the eyelid crease before removing excess skin, fat or sagging muscle from the area. The skin is stretched in order to smooth out any wrinkles and the incisions are closed. The beauty of this procedure is that the scar is well hidden in the natural fold of the eyelid.
Lower eyelid blepharoplasty: This particular type of blepharoplasty is concerned with the elimination of wrinkles and puffiness below the eye. In lower eyelid blepharoplasty, the surgeon will make an incision just below the eyelashes, the cut extending into the crow’s feet, or inside the lower eyelid before taking out or repoisionting fat from under eye bags. Sometimes the surgeon will also do this to the skin supporting the muscles and tendon of the eyelid if required. The skin is stretched to smooth out the wrinkles and the incision is then closed.
Double eyelid blepharoplasty: Some people have visible eyelid creases, known as double eyelids, while others were born without eyelid creases. Although there is nothing medically wrong with this, some people opt for double eyelid blepharoplasty for a more ‘wide eyed’ appearance. In this particular surgery, several small incisions are made on the double eyelid line and skin is removed. The orbicularis oculi muscle (the muscle which closes the eyelids) and fat tissue will be removed between the incisions. The incisions are then closed.
Double eyelid blepharoplasty is particularly popular in East Asia.
WHAT RISKS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH BLEPHAROPLASTY SURGERY?
Blepharoplasty is a safe surgical procedure, and you will be in the hands of a world-class, highly experienced, blepharoplasty surgeon here at the Cadogan Clinic.
However, like any other surgery, blepharoplasty is not entirely without risk.
Common side effects include:
Puffy, numb eyelids that are difficult to close at night
A black eye (bruising)
Irritated or watery eyes
If you already suffer from irritated or dry eyes which require regular eye drops, it is quite likely that you will need to use even more eye drops, post-surgery. Watery eyes are temporary and should clear up in a couple of weeks.
An eye lift can very occasionally result in:
Temporary blurred or double vision
Blood pooling under the skin (haematoma)
Very rarely, a blepharoplasty may result in more serious problems, such as:
Eye muscle injury
Drooping of the eyelid
Lower eyelid pulling downwards, showing the white of the eye below the iris (eyelid retraction)
Lower eyelid drooping away from the eye and turning outwards (ectropion)
Ectropion is caused by post-operative swelling and usually settles as the swelling subsides.
Visual impairment is an extremely rare side effect of blepharoplasty and many people find that their vision improves in the long term.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE BLEPHAROPLASTY TREATMENT?
Your surgeon will give you all your pre-operative advice at your consultation. This may include having an eye test, if you have eye health issues, as well as a physical examination and eyelid photography from all angles.
You will need to stop taking blood thinning medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and any other medication or herbal supplement associated with increased bleeding. Your surgeon will advise how long before surgery you need to stop taking these medicines.
You are advised to stop smoking for at least two weeks before your surgery. Smoking reduces healing and increases the risk of complications. Arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery on the day.
IS BLEPHAROPLASTY SURGERY PAINFUL?
Blepharoplasty is basically skin deep and there is little pain in the post-operative recovery phase. Any discomfort is minor and can be controlled with simple pain relief and eye ointments provided by your surgeon.
Most patients need no analgesia at all after this surgery. Any feeling of grittiness after surgery can be treated with the eye ointment given to you at the time of surgery. Although patients may look bruised and have visible dressings, they can often work from home the next day, and be back to their daily activities after a few days. The pain is minimal.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECOVER FROM BLEPHAROPLASTY?
Recovery from Blepharoplasty is quick but because surgery is in the middle of the face, the dressings and any bruising will be visible. There are a few patients who disregard this and continue normal life, however, we would suggest that exercise is a bad thing as it will delay recovery from bruising and swelling. Working from home is a good option, but it will take 10 days for bruising of the lower eyelids to settle, the upper eyelids generally settle rather quicker. Bruising can be disguised with make-up and we can advise you about cosmetic camouflage. If you are at all sensitive, you should take two weeks before appearing at work. Stitches are removed in the first week. You should also remember that vision can be a little blurred the first day. This is partly due to the surgery and local anaesthesia used, even when you have a general anaesthetic, but also the ointment applied inside the eyelid morning and night does to some extent obscure vision.
On occasion surgery to the lower rather than the upper eyelid can cause swelling which is a nuisance for longer. There is always swelling of tissues after surgery and if this extends under the conjunctiva and on to the eyeball, this is called chemosis. It makes the eye look watery and this can take several weeks to completely settle. In addition, any bruising under the conjunctiva gives bright red ‘haemorrhages’. Chemosis and haemorrhages are of no significance other than the appearance, it does eventually settle.
Swelling can also push the lower eyelid away from the eyeball causing an ectropion, which is annoying but in most cases settles spontaneously within a few days or weeks.
DO I NEED DOWNTIME AFTER THE BLEPHAROPLASTY TREATMENT?
This really depends on your tolerance to of your appearance. All the surgery is in the middle of the face and therefore rather obvious. There will be some small dressings for about a week and a little bruising of the cheeks below the eyelids. There may be some minor pain and swelling around the incision areas, and your eyes will tend to water.
Alternatively, there may be some dryness that occurs, which is easily relieved with some ointment that your surgeon will provide. Occasionally the ointment will cause the patient to have slightly blurred vision, so you may want to rest and take some extra time off work to just relax at home where you’ll be comfortable. Some patients may have added sensitivity to light temporarily following eyelid surgery, so bare that in mind if your work involves bright lights.
Longer term you may develop chemosis, which is oedema (swelling) of the conjunctiva covering the white of the eye. It settles, but it may take a week or two. Those people who have malar pads or festoons of the upper cheek will find that these swell and persists for a month or two.
We would advise you to rest, avoid putting your head down and ad an extra pillow at night, so that any swelling or bruising settles quicker. We do have patients, who completely disregard this advice, without long-term issues and go back to full work or off on holiday the following day. We do however, like to see the patients to remove stitches a few days later. We will advise on make-up or in the form of cosmetic camouflage which does allow you to get out and about with confidence.
WILL MY EYES LOOK NATURAL AFTER BLEPHAROPLASTY?
Blepharoplasty surgery can give life-changing results and an experienced expert surgeon will not change the shape of the eyes, unless this is the aim. Surgery has evolved in recent years and less muscle fat and skin are being removed.
Fat may be repositioned rather than removed. There will be no tell-tale signs that it has been removed, you will have a natural, face new look to your face. In addition, we aim for an extra youthful vitality which is achieved by fat grafting of the brow, temple, cheekbones, lower eyelids that surround the eye. Fat grafts include stem cells, which improve skin quality as well as contours This is a very specialised technique which makes all the difference in achieving incredible results you’ll be happy with.
What scarring can I expect following blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty leaves minimal scarring. Any upper blepharoplasty scars will be well hidden in the fold of the eyelid, while lower blepharoplasty scars heal very well, disguised by the eyelashes and in the crow’s feet.
However blepharoplasty scars may potentially be visible when there is a hood of skin extending into the eyelashes to be removed. However this scar fades to be virtually invisible on most people.
It is vital that you follow all the aftercare instructions issued by your surgeon to help aid the scarring process.
We advise total rest for several days after treatment, including taking at least one week off work.
You should avoid UV light for between two and four weeks and quit smoking, as this irritates the eyes, delays healing and can cause scars to be more noticeable.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GENETIC REASONS FOR HAVING EYELID SURGERY?
Typical genetic causes for eyelid surgery include an array of cosmetic issues such as lumps on the eyelid, sunken eyes, droopy eyelids (ptosis).
Some individuals are also genetically predisposed toward dark circles under the eyes, and the early formation of bags under the eyes.
All of these genetic conditions can be addressed by eyelid surgery and blepharoplasty.
Should I choose an oculoplastic surgeon for my blepharoplasty surgery?
Blepharoplasty, eyelid surgery, is a highly specialised area. So it is important that you choose an expert in this field to carry out any surgery on this most delicate of areas.
An oculoplastic surgeon is an ophthalmologist, otherwise known as an eye doctor, who has undergone many years of specialised training in eyelid and facial plastic surgery. Although plastic surgeons are highly trained and are able to carry out aesthetic eyelid surgery, they do not possess the depth of knowledge or expertise of the eye as an oculoplastic surgeon does.
As a trained ophthalmologist, an oculoplastic surgeon is able to examine the eye, identify any pre-existing eye disease and deal with any functional eyelid disease such as eyelid cancer, lid malpositions and entropion, a condition which turns the eyelid inward. These specialists are also able to examine the eye after blepharoplasty to ensure there are no eye complications and expertly manage any complications should they arise after surgery. A plastic surgeon will not be able to carry out these examinations as they have not undergone the same level of training in the eyes and have no training in the basic equipment used to carry out eye examinations. As a result, a plastic surgeon cannot provide the same level of expert care as a trained ophthalmologist.
These specially trained oculoplastic surgeons are responsible for eyelid surgery in hospitals across the UK.
As well as blepharoplasty, oculoplastic surgeons can carry out other eyelid surgery including repairing an eyelid which is turning in or out, correcting drooping eyelids (ptosis) and removing eyelid cysts (also known as chalazion or meibomian cyst).
Here at the Cadogan Clinic, we would highly recommend that an oculoplastic surgeon carries out any eye-related surgery, be it for functional or purely aesthetic reasons.
How to choose the best eyelid reduction surgeon
Eyelid reduction surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a highly specialised area, so it is important that you choose a surgeon who is an expert in their field to carry out this type of surgery.
The best surgeon to carry out eyelid reduction is an oculoplastic surgeon, an ophthalmologist who has undergone many years of specialised training in eyelid and facial plastic surgery. Although highly qualified, a plastic surgeon does not possess the same expert knowledge about the eye and has not undergone the same level of training as an oculoplastic surgeon.
A good surgeon should be able to explain the procedure in great depth, as well as the recovery period and any potential risks or complications. They will also be honest about potential outcomes and help you to manage your expectations.
When you have your initial consultation, make sure the surgeon has an extensive portfolio of before and after photographs that they can share with you so you can get a good idea of how the results of your surgery will look. Be sure to check out testimonials from previous patients.
If you are not physically and psychologically fit and healthy, an ethical surgeon will not attempt to perform the procedure.
You can check if a surgeon is a registered doctor or surgeon on the General Medical Council (GMC) online register.
Some surgeons may be members of professional associations, such as the British Oculoplastic Surgery Society (BOPSS). However there are some qualified surgeons who are experts in their field but choose not to sign up to a trade body for their own reasons.