The Windows of The Soul

Eyes may be ‘windows to the soul’ but researchers say they also reveal a lot about your age and vitality.

When 47 younger volunteers evaluated faces of older people in photographs, they were asked to look specifically for signs of aging and fatigue. Eye-tracking technology in the University of Tennessee Health Science study was then used to monitor which facial features were put under scrutiny by the volunteers during the study assessments.

The study found that almost half of ‘scrutiny’ time was spent looking at the eye area. The nose was the next most examined feature, followed by the forehead and area between the eyebrows.

Researchers say information garnered from these types of studies can help cosmetic surgeons and potential patients assess which facial features might need to be addressed in a procedure.

Many people seek cosmetic eyelid surgery because during the ageing process the region around your eyes shows the effects of ageing much sooner than other areas. Blepharoplasty is a procedure usually performed on otherwise healthy patients who may have excess skin, muscle, and fat around the eyelids, that they feel makes them look older than they are.

If you are considering an eyelid operation, you will have an initial consultation with a Blepharoplasty surgeon. Your surgeon will ask about your general medical history and any previous eyelid surgery. He or she will also ask about any possible thyroid or kidney disease as these can produce swelling of the eyelids, and about any history of eyelid conditions and dryness of the eyes. Your surgeon will also discuss with you the results you can expect from your eyelid operation, the inherent limitations and the positioning of the scars.

Eyelid surgery may be performed in a clinic or in a hospital. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis and rarely requires an inpatient stay. The operation takes one to two hours, or less if just the upper or lower lids are being done. Your surgeon may use either conventional or laser techniques.

The surgeon will begin by deciding whether excess skin, fat deposits, or muscle looseness is at fault. While you are sitting upright, the surgeon will mark where the incisions will be made on your skin. Reputable blepharoplasty surgeons will take care to hide the incision lines in the natural skin folds above and below the eye. This helps to minimise scars.

For the upper eyelid surgery, the incision is made in the creases of the upper lids. For the lower eyelid surgery, the incision is made just below the lashes. If you are only having an upper eyelid surgery or a lower eyelid surgery, only upper or lower eyelid incisions will be made. If you have laughter lines (‘crows feet’) that you would also like removed, your blepharoplasty surgeon may extend the incision to the outer corners of your eyes in order to reduce their appearance.

A small, semi-circle shaped section of eyelid skin is removed, and then the surgeon will gently tease out the little pockets of fat that have collected in the eyelids. If muscle looseness is also a problem, the surgeon may trim tissue or add a stitch to pull it tighter. Then the incision is closed using very fine sutures. Your surgeon will then apply an ointment to your eye area to stop it from drying out and use sterile paper tape to support your eyelids.

If a patient only has fat deposits in the lower eyelid, the surgeon may carry out transconjunctival blepharoplasty surgery. In this procedure the surgeon makes no incision on the surface of the eyelid, but instead enters from behind to tease out the fat deposits from a small incision. The advantage of this procedure is that there is no visible scar.

Depending upon whether you are having an upper blepharoplasty, a lower blepharoplasty or both upper and lower lids done, the surgery will last between one and three hours. If you are having other cosmetic surgery procedures done at the same time, you may be in surgery even longer.

Your blepharoplasty surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for eyelid surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Listening to this advice and following these instructions will help your surgery to go more smoothly and will help to reduce the risk of possible blepharoplasty side effects and complications.

Am I a candidate for a Blepharoplasty Procedure?

People over 35 years of age are normally candidates for eyelid surgery, though younger people may undergo blepharoplasty if they have droopy eyelids and/or large under-eye bags. Over half of all blepharoplasty patients are over 50 years old. It is not unusual for both men and women to undergo eyelid surgery, in fact; surgical blepharoplasty is the third most popular cosmetic surgery procedure for both men and women.

A blepharoplasty operation may be suitable for you if you are bothered by:

Excess skin on the upper lid that sags interferes/could interfere with your vision

Excess skin on the upper lid that hides the eyelid skin above the lashes

Excessive wrinkling on the upper lid

Puffiness or bags under the lower lid

Excess skin and wrinkles on the lower lids

Blepharoplasty may be suitable for you as long as you:

Are in good health physically and emotionally

Have realistic expectations about what eyelid surgery can and cannot achieve for you

However, there are some reasons why some people are not good candidates for blepharoplasty, even if they fulfil some of the criteria above. There are some medical conditions which increase the risk of complications from eyelid surgery. Those at risk include people with:


High blood pressure (hypertension)

Dry Eye or problems with your tear ducts.

Graves’ disease


Detached retina

Cardiovascular disease


Your plastic surgeon will ask you about your health during the consultation. Make sure you tell him or her about any medical condition you have so that you and your blepharoplasty surgeon can make the best choice prior to an eyelid operation. If you are considering eyelid surgery but are being treated for or are concerned that you may be suffering from any of the conditions above, discuss your concerns with your own doctor beforehand.

Sources & Credits: with kind thanks to University of Tennessee Health Science Study

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