The eyes are often called the “windows to the soul,” but when eyelid skin starts drooping or bags under the eyes enlarge, those windows can become hard to see through. Sagging lids or puffy bags can also age the face, making a person seem older or more tired than they actually are.
Although topical products can help firm the skin and correct less extensive sagging, they can’t completely counteract the effects of the aging process, which tends to stretch the skin around the eyes. Sun damage, smoking, and heredity can also contribute to changes in the skin and the support structure of the eyes. These changes can include excess fat behind the eyelid, leading to the slackening of ligaments, muscles, and skin; dropping the eyebrows, and thickening of the muscle in the eyelid itself.
The most effective way to “open” the eyes are to surgically remove the fat and excess skin causing the sagging or puffiness. This procedure, called blepharoplasty, takes about an hour and is performed with local anesthesia. An upper eyelid blepharoplasty takes less than an hour and a lower eyelid blepharoplasty is around an hour.
Blepharoplasty was the third most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the U.S. last year, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), with more than 195,000 procedures performed. Blepharoplasty has also become increasingly common for men, with one man for every four women undergoing the procedure.
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