Eyelid Reconstruction

Eyelid Surgery – A Comprehensive Guide

Your eyes are not just the window to your soul, but also the gateway to your daily experiences. Over time, various factors can disrupt this gateway, leading to functional challenges like drooping eyelids, inward or outward-turning lids, or even growths that affect your vision and comfort. We prioritize your eye health and well-being at Conlon Eye Institute. Our specialized eyelid procedures address functional and aesthetic concerns, ensuring that your eyes operate at their best. Dive into the world of advanced eyelid treatments with us and experience a life where every blink, glance, and gaze is effortless and clear. Together, we’ll pave the way for optimal eye health and enhanced daily living.

Key Takeaways

  • Eyelid surgeries address both functional and aesthetic concerns, enhancing the overall appearance and health of the eyes.

  • Each procedure requires a thorough consultation to determine the best surgical approach tailored to individual needs.

  • Recovery from eyelid surgeries is generally swift, with patients noticing improvements soon after the procedure.

  • It’s essential to consult with a qualified ophthalmologist or plastic surgeon to ensure the best outcomes.

Understanding Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) encompasses an array of procedures designed to address issues with the upper and lower eyelids. Whether you’re looking to enhance your appearance or improve the function of your upper lid and lower eyelids, these surgeries offer a range of solutions, including:

  • Removing excess skin

  • Correcting droopy eyelids

  • Tightening loose muscles

  • Removing or repositioning fat deposits

Eyelid surgery can provide a rejuvenating effect, improving both your appearance and eye health by addressing the eyelid muscles.

As we delve into different types of eyelid surgery, gaining a clear grasp of the benefits each procedure provides is beneficial.


Definition: Blepharoplasty, commonly known as an eyelid lift, is a surgical procedure designed to rejuvenate the eyelids by removing excess skin, muscle, and in some cases, fat from the upper and/or lower eyelids. The procedure can address both functional and cosmetic concerns, making it one of the most sought-after eyelid surgeries.


  • Cosmetic Enhancement: One of the primary reasons many individuals opt for blepharoplasty is to achieve a more youthful and refreshed appearance. By removing excess skin and fat, the eyes appear brighter, more alert, and less tired.

  • Improved Vision: For those with severely sagging upper eyelids, the drooping skin can obstruct their field of vision. Blepharoplasty can help restore a clear line of sight by lifting the drooping eyelid skin.

Procedure Overview:

  • Consultation: The process begins with a thorough consultation where the surgeon evaluates the patient’s eyelids, discusses their goals, and determines the best approach for the surgery.

  • Anesthesia: The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia with sedation, ensuring the patient is comfortable throughout.

  • Incisions: The surgeon makes precise incisions in the natural creases of the eyelids, ensuring that any resulting scars are well hidden.

  • Removal and Reshaping: Excess skin and fat are carefully removed, and the underlying muscles may be tightened or reshaped for a smoother appearance.

  • Closure: The incisions are meticulously closed with fine sutures to minimize scarring.


  • Immediate Aftercare: After the procedure, patients might experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Cold compresses can help reduce swelling, and pain medication may be prescribed to manage discomfort.

  • Follow-up: Patients typically return for a post-operative check-up within a week, during which any non-dissolvable sutures are removed.

  • Activity Restrictions: It’s advised to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for at least two weeks post-surgery. Protecting the eyes from direct sunlight and wind is crucial, so wearing sunglasses when outdoors is recommended.

  • Final Results: While initial results can be seen soon after the swelling subsides, the final outcome of the surgery becomes evident after a few months when the eyelids have fully healed and settled.

Ptosis Correction

Definition: Ptosis, pronounced “toe-sis,” refers to the drooping or sagging of the upper eyelid. This condition can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired due to aging, injury, or other medical conditions. Ptosis repair is a surgical procedure aimed at correcting the position of the droopy or sagging skin or eyelid, ensuring it sits at the right level and moves correctly with the eye.


  • Corrected Eyelid Position: The primary goal of ptosis repair is to elevate the droopy eyelid to its natural position, aligning it with the other eyelid.

  • Enhanced Appearance: A droopy eyelid can give a tired or uneven appearance to the face. By correcting ptosis, patients can achieve a more alert and symmetrical look.

  • Improved Vision: In severe cases, ptosis can obstruct the upper field of vision. By lifting the eyelid, patients can regain a clear and unobstructed view.

Procedure Overview:

  • Consultation: The surgeon will conduct a detailed examination to determine the cause and severity of the ptosis. This assessment helps in deciding the best surgical approach.

  • Anesthesia: Ptosis repair is usually performed under local anesthesia, but general anesthesia may be used for children or specific cases.

  • Surgical Techniques: The choice of technique depends on the cause and severity of the ptosis.

    • Levator Resection: For patients with moderate to severe ptosis, the levator muscle (responsible for lifting the eyelid) is shortened to elevate the eyelid.

    • Müller’s Muscle Resection: For mild ptosis, a smaller muscle behind the levator, called Müller’s muscle, is adjusted.

    • Frontalis Sling: In cases where the levator muscle is extremely weak or non-functional, the eyelid is connected to the forehead muscle, allowing the patient to raise the eyelid using the forehead.

  • Closure: The incisions are closed with fine sutures, which are often placed in the natural crease of the eyelid to minimize visible scarring.


  • Immediate Aftercare: Post-surgery, patients may experience some swelling, redness, and discomfort. Applying cold compresses and using prescribed medications can alleviate these symptoms.

  • Follow-up: A post-operative check-up is typically scheduled within a week to monitor healing and remove any non-dissolvable stitches.

  • Activity Restrictions: Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities, rubbing the eyes, and direct sun exposure for a few weeks. Protective eyewear is recommended when outdoors.

  • Final Results: While some improvement is noticeable immediately, the full results of the surgery become apparent after several weeks to months as the eyelids heal and settle into their new position.

Ectropion Repair

Definition: Ectropion refers to the condition where the eyelid, most commonly the lower one, turns outward, exposing the inner surface of the eyelid and the eye. This malposition can lead to dryness, irritation, tearing, and potential infections. Ectropion can result from aging, sun damage, trauma, or previous surgeries. Ectropion repair is a surgical procedure aimed at correcting this lower eyelid’ malposition to restore its natural alignment against the eyeball.


  • Relief from Dryness and Irritation: By repositioning the eyelid, the eye is better protected and lubricated, reducing symptoms of dryness and irritation.

  • Reduced Tearing: Ectropion can cause excessive tearing due to improper drainage of tears. The surgery can help address this by ensuring the tear drainage system functions correctly.

  • Prevention of Complications: Untreated ectropion can lead to chronic eye infections and corneal damage. The procedure helps in preventing these potential complications.

Procedure Overview:

  • Consultation: An in-depth assessment is conducted to determine the cause and extent of the ectropion. This assessment guides the surgeon in choosing the best surgical approach.

  • Anesthesia: Ectropion repair is typically performed under local anesthesia, ensuring the patient remains comfortable throughout the procedure.

  • Surgical Techniques: Depending on the cause and severity of the ectropion, various techniques might be employed:

    • Lateral Tarsal Strip: Similar to the treatment for entropion, this involves tightening the outer eyelid to help reposition it.

    • Skin Grafting: In cases where skin shortening or scarring is the cause, a small skin graft may be required to lengthen the eyelid.

    • Medial Canthoplasty: This technique addresses ectropion related to the inner corner of the eyelid.

  • Closure: Incisions are closed with sutures, which are usually removed after about a week.


  • Immediate Aftercare: Patients may experience some swelling, redness, and discomfort post-surgery. Cold compresses and prescribed ointments can help manage these symptoms.

  • Follow-up: A post-operative check-up is typically scheduled within a week to monitor the healing process and to remove any non-dissolvable stitches.

  • Activity Restrictions: Patients should avoid strenuous activities, direct sun exposure, and rubbing the eyes for several weeks. Protective eyewear is recommended when outdoors.

  • Final Results: While an immediate improvement in the eyelid’s position is often noticeable, the full benefits and results of the surgery become evident over several weeks as the area heals.

Entropion Repair

Definition: Entropion is a medical condition where the eyelid, typically the lower one, turns inward. This inward rotation causes the eyelashes to rub against the cornea (the eye’s clear front surface), leading to discomfort, redness, and potential vision problems. Entropion can be due to aging, scarring, or previous surgeries. Entropion repair is a surgical procedure designed to correct this eyelid malposition and restore the eyelid turns its normal alignment.


  • Relief from Discomfort: The primary benefit of entropion repair is the alleviation of the constant irritation and discomfort caused by the eyelashes or skin rubbing against the eye.

  • Prevention of Complications: If left untreated, entropion can lead to corneal abrasions, infections, and ulcers. The surgery helps prevent these potential complications.

  • Improved Eyelid Function: The procedure restores the eyelid’s natural position, ensuring it functions correctly in protecting and lubricating the eye.

Procedure Overview:

  • Consultation: A comprehensive evaluation is conducted to determine the cause and severity of the entropion. This helps the surgeon decide the most suitable surgical approach.

  • Anesthesia: The surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia, ensuring the patient feels no pain during the procedure.

  • Surgical Techniques: Depending on the cause and type of entropion, different techniques may be employed:

    • Everting Sutures: Temporary stitches are placed to rotate the eyelid outward. This is often a temporary solution for those who cannot undergo surgery immediately.

    • Lateral Tarsal Strip: A common procedure where a small section of the outer eyelid is tightened, helping to rotate the eyelid back to its normal position.

    • Repositioning of Eyelid Muscles: In cases caused by muscle relaxation due to aging, the eyelid muscles are repositioned and tightened.

  • Closure: The surgical incisions are closed with sutures, which are typically removed after a week.


  • Immediate Aftercare: Post-operatively, patients might experience mild swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Cold compresses can help reduce swelling, and antibiotic ointments may be prescribed to prevent infection.

  • Follow-up: A post-operative visit is usually scheduled within a week to assess the healing process and remove any stitches.

  • Activity Restrictions: Patients are advised to avoid heavy lifting, bending, and strenuous activities for a few weeks. It’s also crucial to avoid rubbing the eyes.

  • Final Results: The eyelid’s position typically improves immediately after surgery, but full recovery and final results can be expected within a few weeks.

Eyelid Tumor removal

Definition: Eyelid tumors refer to abnormal growths that can develop on the eyelid. These growths can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Regardless of their nature, it’s essential to address these tumors promptly to preserve eye health and maintain aesthetic appearance. Eyelid tumor removal is a surgical procedure aimed at excising these growths while ensuring minimal impact on the eyelid’s function and appearance.


  • Preservation of Eye Health: Removing tumors, especially malignant ones, is crucial to prevent the spread of cancer and protect the eye and surrounding structures.

  • Restoration of Aesthetic Appearance: Tumors can distort the eyelid’s appearance. Their removal and subsequent eyelid reconstruction can restore a more natural look.

  • Prevention of Complications: Some benign tumors can grow and cause discomfort, irritation, or vision obstruction. Removing them can prevent these potential issues.

Procedure Overview:

  • Consultation: A thorough examination, often accompanied by a biopsy, is conducted to determine the tumor’s nature and decide on the best surgical approach.

  • Anesthesia: The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, ensuring the patient doesn’t experience discomfort.

  • Excision: The surgeon carefully removes the tumor, ensuring clear margins to reduce the risk of recurrence, especially in malignant cases.

  • Reconstruction: Depending on the tumor’s size and location, eyelid reconstruction may be necessary after its removal. This can involve direct closure, skin grafts, or local flaps to ensure the eyelid retains its function and appearance.

  • Closure: The surgical site is closed with fine sutures to minimize scarring.


  • Immediate Aftercare: Post-surgery, patients might experience swelling, bruising, and mild discomfort. Cold compresses can help reduce swelling, and antibiotic ointments may be prescribed to prevent infections.

  • Follow-up: Patients typically return for a post-operative check-up within a week, during which any non-dissolvable sutures are removed and the healing process is assessed.

  • Activity Restrictions: It’s advised to avoid strenuous activities, direct sun exposure, and rubbing the eyes for several weeks. Sunglasses are recommended when outdoors to protect the healing eyelid.

  • Final Results: While the surgical site’s appearance improves over time, the full results, especially in terms of scarring, become evident after several months.

Preparing for Eyelid Surgery

Prior to eyelid surgery, discussing your medical history, medications, and expectations with the surgeon is a crucial step. This will help the surgeon determine the best course of action and ensure that you are adequately prepared for the procedure. You may be advised to abstain from smoking two weeks before and after the eye surgery itself, as well as avoid certain foods, drinks, and herbal supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding and bruising.

Your surgeon will conduct a comprehensive eye examination, including a medial spindle procedure, and discuss treatment options with you. Additionally, they may take photographs of your eyes and assess your peripheral vision. Following your surgeon’s pre-operative instructions and making any necessary lifestyle modifications to encourage optimal healing and results is vital.

The Surgical Process

During eyelid surgery, various techniques are employed, such as incisions, sutures, and tissue manipulation. Anesthesia options include local, regional, and general anesthesia, depending on the procedure and patient preference. Post-operative care instructions typically involve keeping the eyes clean and free of debris, avoiding strenuous activities, and utilizing cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising. Following the surgeon’s instructions for medication intake and attending follow-up appointments contributes significantly to a successful outcome.

Anesthesia Options

There are several types of anesthesia available for eyelid surgery, including local, regional, and general anesthesia. Local anesthesia is typically employed for upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty, while IV sedation or oral sedation is utilized for more extensive procedures. Local anesthesia involves numbing injections, such as lidocaine hydrochloride, sometimes with the addition of epinephrine, to numb the nerves responsible for pain sensations in the eyelid area.

Regional anesthesia is used to numb a broader region of the body and may be employed for procedures such as joint surgeries or childbirth. The patient may remain conscious or sedated during the procedure.

General anesthesia, on the other hand, induces a state of unconsciousness and complete loss of sensation. It is commonly used for major surgeries, and the patient is unaware and unresponsive during the procedure.

Surgical Techniques

Eyelid surgery employs various surgical techniques to achieve the desired results. These techniques can include:

  • Incisions along the creases of the eyelids

  • Incisions inside the mucosa of the eye

  • Removal of excess skin and fat

  • Suturing to close the incisions

The specific technique used, such as a skin graft, will depend on the individual case and the type of surgery being performed.

Sutures commonly used for eyelid surgery include 6-0 polypropylene and dissolvable stitches. Tissue manipulation in the context of eyelid surgery involves using surgical techniques to manipulate and reposition the tissues of the eyelids, such as the removal of excess skin, fat, and muscle, as well as redistributing or tightening the tissues for a desired aesthetic or functional outcome.

Post-Operative Care

After eyelid surgery, post-operative care instructions typically involve:

  • Carefully wash beneath the eyes with wipes or a soft washcloth

  • Cleaning the skin incisions with soap and water three times daily

  • Maintaining the head in an elevated position for a few days post-surgery

  • Resting when feeling fatigued

  • Consuming ample amounts of fluids

  • Following the surgeon’s guidelines for medication intake

  • Keeping up with follow-up appointments

Wound care procedures following eyelid surgery include:

  • Having someone drive you home and provide assistance at home for 1-2 days

  • Ensuring adequate rest

  • Cleaning the incision sites twice daily with saline solution or soap and water

  • Applying antibiotic ointment on the stitches or wounds 3-4 times daily for 7 days

  • Utilizing cold compresses and eye drops as instructed

  • Refraining from vigorous exercise and activities that may strain the incision area

  • Following up with your doctor for stitch removal if necessary

Recovery and Results

Post eyelid surgery, the recovery process usually spans 10-14 days, with the ultimate results apparent within 4-6 weeks. Bruising and swelling typically dissipate within the initial few weeks, while the healing of incisions and scars takes place during the recovery period. It’s important to note that individual healing times may vary, and some patients may experience temporary side effects or complications.

Results from eyelid surgery can include improved self-confidence, a more youthful and rested appearance, and in some cases, better vision. However, awareness of potential risks and complications like dry and irritated eyes, trouble closing the eyes or other eyelid issues, and significant scarring is crucial. By following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can greatly improve the chances of a successful outcome.

Choosing the Right Surgeon

When selecting a surgeon for eyelid surgery, considering elements such as board certification, years of experience, and specialized training in eyelid surgery is vital. Additionally, it is beneficial to review the surgeon’s track record of successful eyelid surgeries. To review and assess a surgeon, you can check online reviews, seek referrals from trusted contacts, and review patient testimonials on the surgeon’s website.

During a consultation with a surgeon for eyelid surgery, you can anticipate discussing your aesthetic objectives, reviewing before and after photos of the surgeon’s work, and inquiring about any questions you may have concerning the procedure. Bedside manner is of great significance when selecting a surgeon for eyelid surgery, as it facilitates trust and open communication between the surgeon and the patient.

Insurance and Financial Considerations

Health insurance may cover eyelid surgery if it is deemed medically necessary, such as in cases of impaired vision. However, coverage for cosmetic eyelid surgery is generally not provided. The typical costs associated with blepharoplasty range from $2,000 to $7,500, with an average cost of approximately $4,120.

Cosmetic Eyelid surgery can be financed through various options, such as:

  • CareCredit

  • Personal loans

  • Credit cards

  • Medical credit cards like CareCredit

Discussing payment options with your surgeon and considering all financing possibilities before proceeding with surgery is crucial.

Common Complications and How to Avoid Them

Potential complications of eyelid surgery include infection and bleeding, dry and irritated eyes, difficulty closing the eyes, or other eyelid problems, noticeable scarring, blurred vision, and injury to the eye muscles. To reduce the risk of these complications, it is recommended to avoid smoking, keep the head elevated for several days post-surgery, avoid rubbing or touching the eye area, and apply cool compresses to manage short-term irritation and discomfort.

Being aware of potential side effects and complications linked to eyelid surgery and meticulously following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions is vital. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your eyes, you can greatly reduce the chances of encountering complications and achieve a successful outcome.

In Conclusion: Beyond Aesthetics to Everyday Excellence

The eyes, often deemed the mirrors of our soul, play a pivotal role in our daily interactions and experiences. While aesthetic enhancements can boost confidence, the true power of eyelid procedures lies in their ability to improve the quality of life. By addressing functional challenges, we not only rejuvenate the appearance but also pave the way for clearer vision and enhanced comfort. At the Conlon Eye Institute, we’re committed to ensuring that every individual enjoys the dual benefits of health and beauty. Let’s work together to ensure your eyes reflect the best version of you, both inside and out.


Eyelid Reconstruction FAQ

Q: What is eyelid reconstruction?

A: to the rearrangement of eyelid tissue to treat a number of eyelid related (drooping upper eyelid), thyroid eye disease, eyelid skin cancer, eyelid malposition (out-turning/in-turning of the eyelid) and eyelid (twitches or spasms)

Q: What is ptosis?

A: Ptosis, the medical term for drooping upper eyelid, which can result from aging, trauma, and muscular/neurological conditions.

Q: What is thyroid eye disease?

A: Thyroid Eye Disease refers to eye/eye area issues associated with thyroid diseases. These issues cause “bulging” eyes, resulting from the following symptoms:

  • Swelling (edema)
  • Eye protrusion
  • Eyelid retraction
  • Double vision (caused by hypertrophied contracted eye muscles)
  • Excessive orbital fat

Symptomatic treatment includes eye drops and steroids, but such treatment is ineffective for one-third of sufferers. These cases may necessitate a series of eyelid/orbital procedures. Patience through a series of procedures may be necessary, as thyroid eye disease treatment is complex.

Q: What is ectropion?

A: Ectropion is an eyelid malposition where the lower eyelid turns outward, often causing eye irritation and tearing. Secondary changes include lid margin thickening, inflammation, mucus production, and inner aspect eyelid roughness.

Most commonly, aging causes a laxity of the eyelid tissues, thus allowing the eyelid to hang away from the eye. Other causes of the condition include Bell’s Palsy, eczema, psoriasis, and congenital malformations.

Surgical correction tightens the lower lid. Complex cases may require a skin graft.

Q: What is entropion?

A: Entropion is an eyelid malposition where the eyelid rolls inward, resulting in irritation. Although related to aging eyelids, it is caused by muscle spasm, inflammation, or conjunctiva scarring.

Treatment requires eyelid laxity surgical correction, attaching the lower eyelid If present, a mucous membrane graft may be needed to correct inner  scarring. BOTOX® administration provides pain relief and facilitates surgical repair.

Q: What is blepharospasm?

A: Blepharospasm is a bilateral condition characterized by abnormal eyelid muscle contractions. BOTOX® injections provide spasm relief, although there is no cure for the condition.

Q: What is hemifacial spasm?

A: Hemifacial spasms are the uncontrolled  contraction of the muscles on one side of the face, caused by irritation of the facial nerve. In less than one percent of sufferers, a tumor is the cause of the nerve irritation, thus all sufferers must undergo imaging.

Hemifacial spasms are treated with BOTOX® injections to the and upper cheek muscles. Surgical options are offered in carefully selected should be conducted at a center specializing in the procedure.

Q: What is eyelid skin cancer?

A: Eyelid skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells on or around the eyelid area. Skin cancers that occur around the eyelids are generally treatable, usually through surgical excision. Following removal, reconstructive techniques are used to repair the eyelid, and CO2 laser is used to correct irregularities.