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Nonsurgical Options to Eyelid Surgery: Do They Work?

Woman smiling and showing off her eyes

Youthful, alert eyes can communicate an attractive vitality. Aging eyes, and in some cases, genetics, can create an older, tired appearance. I often see men and women who are considering eyelid surgery at my Toronto practice because they have wrinkled skin, droopy eyelids, and fat bulges under the eyes.

In some cases, however, surgery isn’t necessary. Laser resurfacing, nonsurgical skin tightening and lifting, dermal fillers, micro-fat grafting, and even an enhanced skincare regimen are treatment options that can improve the appearance of both the upper and lower eyelids for some patients. It’s probably not surprising that many of the patients I see ask about alternatives to eyelid surgery that can produce the desired results.

Nonsurgical treatments for upper and lower eyelids may be combined with blepharoplasty to produce the best results. When I examine patients and listen to them describe what bothers them about the appearance of their eyelids, my job is to recommend a personalized treatment plan.

That treatment plan is really based on the answer to a single question: “What is the best approach in your specific situation?”

In many cases, precise surgical excision of lax skin (blepharoplasty) of the upper and lower eyelids is the most effective procedure to aesthetically:

  1. Define and expose the double-lid line and lift sagging upper lid skin from the lash margin and;
  2. Reduce excess skin folds draping below the lower lid margin

What about nonsurgical treatments? I’ll explore these options throughout the remainder of this blog post.

Injectable Treatments

BOTOX® injections can significantly improve the contours of the upper eyelid and brow. Treatments should address both of these areas because they are interrelated, and neuromodulators that minimize wrinkles can produce a slight brow lift, too. Dermal fillers such as Restylane® can also play a role in creating a more youthful-looking eyebrow arch.

I wouldn’t recommend using chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing treatments, or radiofrequency devices on the upper eyelid skin. And, in some cases, upper eyelid surgery may be the best choice to create a more alert and younger appearance. Injectable fillers can also restore volume in the area below the eyes. I may even combine upper blepharoplasty with filler in the tear trough and a volumizing filler in the cheeks to create comprehensive results.

Laser Treatments

The delicate skin of the lower and upper lids represents perhaps the thinnest skin on your entire body. If you’re concerned about fine lines or lax skin, laser skin resurfacing treatment can be an excellent solution. A chemical peel might be another option to correct skin discoloration under the eyes. Other common lower eyelid concerns include dark circles, bulges, or changes to the contours, which are conditions caused by fat pads in the lower eyelid gradually falling forward. Eyelid surgery is necessary in these cases to remove and reposition fat to retain the volume that creates a youthful appearance. I may even recommend transferring a small amount of fat from a patient’s abdomen into the undereye area to restore lost facial volume, a procedure called fat grafting.

I also use surgery to remove excess skin because laser treatments or chemical peels provide limited benefits, especially considering that the surgical procedure offers exceptional, long-lasting results.

As I mentioned earlier, nonsurgical treatments can be effective under the right circumstances. But the dramatic changes produced by upper and lower eyelid surgery—which can be combined in a single procedure—are apparent when you look at before-and-after photos of some of my previous patients.

If you’re looking in the Toronto area for an eyelid surgery specialist, contact our office using the online form or call us directly at (416) 925-7337 (Toronto location) or (905) 743-9888 (Oshawa location) to schedule an appointment.

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Derek Ford, MD FRCSC

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Derek T. Ford, MD, FRCSC