Eyes that look perpetually tired can make you look older than your years. Perhaps more importantly, they may make you feel older, and this is as true for men as it is for women.
The eyes, more than any other feature, convey your personality. When they begin to look run down with time, it can not only adversely affect your self-esteem, but also how others perceive you. Do you find that colleagues are constantly asking whether or not you are angry or sad? If so, chalk it up to your eyes.
Rejuvenating the eyes is a fairly simple way to produce a profound change in both your physical appearance and demeanor. There is a wide range of options to rejuvenate aging eyes, both surgical and non-surgical. As always, the right procedure or procedures is going to depend on your individual anatomy and needs. Dr. Sean Doherty of Boston discusses the various modalities for refreshing the eyes and why it is so important to see a board certified plastic surgeon.
Treat Hooding with an Upper Blepharoplasty
“Many patients come to me complaining about their eyes. They feel like they look tired, [and they want to look refreshed],” says Dr. Doherty. For patients who are bothered by heaviness in the upper eyelid, called “hooding,” the best solution is an upper eyelid blepharoplasty. This is a pretty simple surgical procedure in which the plastic surgeon removes the excess skin that is sagging into the upper lid. The sutures are readily camouflaged within the crease of the eye so that any scarring is well hidden. The stitches remain in place for 7 days after which they are removed, and the patient can go on with his or her life. The recovery is easy and the surgery is not significantly painful, all for a huge payoff. Removing just a small amount of skin can open up and “lift” the eyes, making you look at least a decade younger.
The ideal patient for any surgical procedure to the eye is in good health, does not smoke and doesn’t have any medical issues that affect the eye and could complicate their results, such as a thyroid condition or dry eye.
Lower Eyelids: More Complicated but also More Options
The lower eyelids are a slightly bigger deal than the upper eyelids. “Puffiness and swelling is usually the cause of people’s dissatisfaction with their lower eyelid,” says Dr. Doherty. Everyone reaches an age where suddenly a lack of sleep, eating salty foods, and indulging in that extra glass of wine show up the next morning as a sleeping bag of puffiness underneath your lower lids. Addressing or even just diminishing the swelling will help to improve the look of the lower eyelids. “We all have fat inside our eyes on the lower lids and that’s what holds onto swelling,” explains Dr. Doherty.
There are effective surgical procedures to address the swelling and fat in the lower eyelids. However, these procedures are much less straight forward that the surgery to remove hooding in the upper lid. “A surgical intervention to the lower eyelid is a much more significant procedure because it has more recovery,” says Dr. Doherty. It needs to really be planned much more thoughtfully.
Furthermore, different surgeries address different issues. Some patients just need a removal of a little bit of skin, some need an extensive removal of fat from underneath the eye and some need both. The right one for you is going to depend on your anatomy and needs. This is one of the reasons why an in-person consultation is absolutely vital.
Non-Surgical Procedures for the Eyes
In terms of non-surgical techniques for the eyes, there is nothing as effective for the upper eyelids and hooding as a blepharoplasty. Dr. Doherty is always straightforward with his patients about this fact. Since it is such an easy surgical procedure with very little downtime and no general anesthesia, he feels completely comfortable pushing his patients in that direction. The lower eyelids, however, are a different story. There are a variety of non-surgical options that can refresh your lower eyelids. These include:
- topical treatments with caffeine to reduce swelling
- laser skin resurfacing
- chemical peel
- pinch excision
Lasers, a chemical peel and microneedling all work to stimulate the skin and tissues in order to make the area more taut and smooth. Fillers can be used to address any hollowness in the “tear trough” area, and a “pinch” excision is a minor surgical procedure that removes a wedge of skin thus making the area beneath your eyes more firm.
Fillers Are Not the Solution for Every Eye Issue
Many patients come to see Dr. Doherty asking him to put fillers beneath their eyes thinking that this is going to fix all their aging eye issues. This is not the case. “Fillers under the eyes is one of my least favorite procedures to do,” explains Dr. Doherty. He has found that patients really think that it’s going to totally transform their lower eyelids, but it won’t.
There are specific patients who do well with fillers under the eyes. They have a hollowness in their tear trough, the area in the inner corner under the eye. Instagram and the internet have really set the bar super high with the amazing pictures of people who are transformed “with one drop of filler underneath their eye,” says Dr. Doherty. Most patients, unfortunately, are not good candidates for fillers under the eye. In fact, fillers may even worsen your situation as it can cause swelling. “You don’t want to do a lot to encourage swelling,” he shares.
Vital to See a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
It is vital that anyone considering a procedure, whether surgical or non-surgical, to rejuvenate the eyes be assessed in person by a board certified plastic surgeon. Only someone with the proper training, experience and artistic eye can truly determine which procedure or procedures is right for your unique anatomy, needs and personality. If a patient meets with someone, whether it be their physician or another plastic surgeon, and he or she doesn’t ask for the patient’s complete medical history or any other procedures that the person has had on the eyes, this puts you at risk for having the wrong procedure. Or perhaps doing something that may cause issues down the line most specifically scarring. “And that is a surgical scenario that you just don’t want to be in,” explains Dr. Doherty.