A real-life blepharoplasty – it can take years off, but only you can know if it’s worth it

If you ever wanted to know what a blepharoplasty really involves, look no further.

blog imageblog imageMy sister Carole underwent one of these a few weeks ago – a kind of 60th birthday present to herself. She’d developed the hooded eyes that our mother had, and the eyelid skin was actually beginning to drop onto her eyelashes.

To tell the truth, this might be one op that I also face in the future, because it’s happening already on my right eye (the left eye was damaged in an accident and isn’t drooping). Currently, I do eye exercises to bring the lid back up, but I feel this is only a holding pattern and won’t last forever.

After she’d already booked the op privately, Carole found that in fact she would have been entitled to the operation on the NHS because it was actually beginning to impede her vision.

She opted for a local anaesthetic, partly for cost reasons (it was £1300 as opposed to £2500 for a general) and partly because she felt that general anaesthetics are something that should be avoided. Therefore she was awake for the procedure – not something she was looking forward to. Each eye took about 30 minutes, with pressure, but no pain.

blog imageAblog imagefter post-op recovery (she was discharged the same day), she was sent home with instructions to keep the stitches dry, which entailed having a messy face for a few days. But it all looks a great deal worse than it felt, she tells me – despite all this bruising, there was no pain to speak of. The picture left shows her at day one, with nice purple eyelids and the stitching very visible.

blog imageThese pictures show her at about days three and five, as the bruising was beginning to spread. Her left eye swelled dramatically even during the operation, while the right eye showed much less trauma.

blog imageThe third picture, with the yellow bruising (ultimately, it reached her top lip), is about a week after the op – the first day she felt able to leave the house, suitably masked with makeup. However, she still noticed she got some second glances in the street.

After only five days Carole went back to have her stitches removed. This was an inexpressible agony, as each eye had one long stitch, so they cut at one side and pulled at the other, at which point, she says, it was the worst pain she’s ever endured in her life – like having ‘hot barbed wire dragged out of my eyelids’. Fortunately, it was over quickly.

Afterwards, of course, she was itching and desperate to rub her eyes, which can’t be done, and her right eye swelled up. After the op, this was the eye that had swollen least, so she was a tad surprised. Three weeks after the op, she is still having trouble with this eye because she can’t blink fully. The surgeon says that this is because everything is tightening after the operation and the problem should ease within two months. In the meantime, she has a cream for night-time to prevent dry eye during the night, as well as a cream for the scars. In a month’s time, she will go back for her 12-week checkup.

blog imageblog imageAs you can see in these before and after shots, the op does indeed take years off you, making you look happier and more alert. Whether it is worth the pain and the money, however, has to be a personal decision. I balk at the idea, but my sister is certainly glad that she’s done it.

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