October 18th, 2017 by Soderstrom Skin Institute
Differences Between Functional and Cosmetic Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)
J. Eric Lomax, MD
Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
Member Surgeon of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
In 2015, nearly 170,000 people in the US had eyelid surgery. The majority, nearly half were 51-64 years old.* Many of these procedures were done for cosmetic reasons, but others were done for medical reasons.
When most people think of blepharoplasty, they think of a cosmetic “eyelift” performed to tighten up droopy upper eyelid skin and create a more refreshed youthful appearance. You may be surprised to learn that droopy eyelids can actually impair your vision.
When is an “eyelift” considered functional?
When your eyelid falls too low and partially covers your pupil, it can impair your vision. This condition is called ptosis. Some people are born with ptosis and others experience ptosis as they age and the tendons that hold up the eyelid stretches. Either way, it is sometimes necessary to conduct a blepharoplasty to restore normal vision. In most cases, if your vision is being impaired, your insurance will likely cover some or all of the costs of a functional blepharoplasty.
According to Dr. John Eric Lomax, board certified Plastic Surgeon at Soderstrom Skin Institute. “Almost half of all blepharoplasties done at the practice qualify for insurance coverage. Before surgery, we test every patient’s field of vision—many don’t realize that their saggy eyelids are hindering their eyesight. “
When is an “eyelift” considered cosmetic?
As we age, our upper, and sometimes lower, eyelids can get saggy and appear weighed down. As the skin under the eye gets thinner and muscles weaken, bulges or dark shadows can become more prominent. Cosmetic blepharoplasty is performed to reduce these signs of aging and can leave the patient with a more rested and youthful appearance.
Patients have different reasons for considering eyelid surgery. The best approach is to sit down with a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or an ophthalmologist and discuss your concerns. These professionals can help make sure your expectations are realistic and that you have a good understanding of the risk and benefits associated with the recommended treatment.
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*Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery