Zoom video calls have become a fact of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. More people are working from home and videoconferencing to do their jobs and to socialize. More time on video calls has meant more people noticing things they wouldn’t mind changing about their facial appearance – including droopy eyelids.
Interest in facial procedures has increased during the pandemic, including for eyelid lifts for droopy eyes, according to news reports. Common reasons given were more time on video calls and ability to work from home and take time to recover.
Droopy eyelids are common, especially with aging. Over time our skin begins to sag. The upper eyelids are one place where we tend to thin and lose elasticity. As a result, the eyelids can look droopy, even sleepy.
While droopy eyelids are often a harmless sign of aging, not everyone is happy with this outcome. Plastic surgery is an option.
“Drooping eyelids are commonly associated with aging, but if you are concerned about your appearance, cosmetic surgery will help,” says Salvatore Pacella, MD, division head of plastic surgery at Scripps Clinic.
Sometimes, a droopy eyelid can sag so much that it covers your pupil and affects your sight. You may need surgery to maintain your vision in such cases.
A drooping eyelid is also known as ptosis. It may be present from birth or you can develop it later in life. It may also be the result of an injury. While mainly common in older adults, it can happen in people of all ages.
In children, ptosis can lead to vision problems if it interferes with vision. The affected eye may become weaker. This may cause amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (wandering eye).
A droopy eyelid occurs when one or both upper eyelids sag or drop lower than normal. Your doctor can help determine whether it is related to an underlying condition or to aging or family history.
“If drooping eyelids are the result of aging or something you were born with, your doctor may not recommend anything be done since the condition is not likely to threaten your health,” Dr. Pacella says. “However, if you want to reduce the drooping, and improve your appearance, plastic surgery is an option.”
Non-surgical treatments can help make your eyes look more youthful. Injections such as Botox and Dysport and dermal fillers can tighten the skin of the eyelids. A board-certified plastic surgeon or oculoplastic surgeon can help you choose the right treatment.
Eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty may be performed for functional, reconstructive or cosmetic purposes.
An upper eyelid lift involves removing excess skin, and sometimes excess muscle and fat, from the upper eyelids. “When it is for cosmetic reasons, the goal is to provide a more open look to the eyes and youthful appearance,” Dr. Pacella says.
While cosmetic eyelid surgery is an elective procedure, a functional eyelid surgery may be covered by insurance. This would apply to cases where the eyelids sag so much that it blocks your vision.
Eyelid surgery is among the least expensive plastic surgery procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
“Recovery is relatively simple,” says Dr. Pacella, who has spoken internationally about cosmetic eyelid surgery.
“The results of this procedure can be spectacular,” he adds. “The eyes are the window to the soul. They are the first thing anyone notices about you.”