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As you get older the skin of the upper and lower eyelids looses its tone and starts to droop.  The support structures behind the eyelids gradually become weaker allowing pockets of fat, that surround the eyeball, to fall forward.  This can produce the appearance of bags around the eyes.

People often complain of tired or droopy eyelids and some people may even find that the skin of the upper lids actually obstructs their vision.  These problems may be helped by a blepharoplasty.

The aim

To freshen and revitalise the appearance of the eyes by removing or tightening the eyelid skin and reduce the prominence of any bags that may have formed around the eyes.

The operation

Blepharoplasty is a procedure for removing excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids, which also involves the removal or tightening of the fat compartments behind the eyes.  Incisions are made in the eyelids and closed with a removable suture.  If the eyebrows have become low or are asymmetrical, they may need to be separately treated with an endoscopic brow lift.

An upper eyelid blepharoplasty takes about an hour and a half and can be performed under local anaesthetic as a day case procedure, although a general anaesthetic may occasionally be required. A lower lid blepharoplasty takes about two hours and always requires a general anaesthetic, usually followed by a night in hospital.


You will need to have had an eye test with an optometrist/dispensing optician within the last 12 months to ensure that your eyes are healthy and that you do not suffer from any eye diseases such as glaucoma.  They should also check that the prescription for your glasses/contact lenses, if you wear them, is correct.

If you smoke, it would be better to cut down or stop before surgery as this will reduce the risk of postoperative infection, bleeding and bruising.  It is important that you let Mr Watts know if you are taking any medication, including alternative therapies, before surgery, to ensure that none of them increases the likelihood of bleeding.


The eyelids will be bruised and swollen after surgery.  Bruising will start to disappear after about a week but may persist for up to three weeks.  The swelling will take longer to settle, especially around the lower eyelids, where the full result will not be seen for several weeks.   Make-up can be worn from about a week after the sutures are removed, but it may be three to four weeks before the full benefit of the procedure can be seen.

Common risks

The main risks of this operation are from the under and over-removal of skin and fat from the eyelids.  However, considerable care is taken to remove similar quantities from each eyelid to preserve symmetry or to adjust the amount taken to correct any preoperative asymmetry.  There is a small risk of wound infection, but this is usually controlled with a course of antibiotics.  The prescription of any glasses or contact lenses that you wear may alter for a short period after surgery and you may also experience a period where your eyes are dry or irritated.   Most of these complications are short lived and easily treated, but a small percentage of people may need a revision procedure to gain the full cosmetic benefit.

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