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What is an upper eyelid lift (blepharoplasty)?

An upper eyelid lift, or blepharoplasty, is a common upper eyelid surgery that removes extra tissue from the upper eyelids. This can help to restore function and potentially improve the appearance of the upper eyelids. Upper eyelid skin can begin to fall with time, sagging over the edge of the eyelid itself and blocking the peripheral vision. Patients often find themselves trying to compensate for this sagging tissue by raising their eyebrows to help pull the extra tissue out of their field of view. In some patients, this can lead to fatigue, eyestrain and headache that interfere with the ability to read, drive or work comfortably. In others, the eyelid skin may not be severe enough to interfere with activities, but the extra tissue can disrupt the aesthetic balance and harmony of the upper face. To see before and after pictures of eyelid lifting, view our before & after gallery.

How do I know if I’m a candidate for an eyelid lift?

People have eyelid lifts for several different reasons. For many patients, surgery is corrective, restoring vision blocked by their eyelids. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help determine if your eyelids are blocking your vision. We find these questions help patients determine if they are a potential candidate for corrective eyelid surgery. Ask yourself:

  • Do I raise my eyebrows to see better?
  • Does my forehead ache from trying to keep my eyelids out of my vision?
  • Does my eyelid skin rest on my eyelashes – or beyond?
  • Am I having a hard time seeing road signs while driving because my eyelid skin is blocking my view?
  • Have I ever missed seeing another car while driving because my eyelids blocked my view?
  • Do my eyelids get in the way when I read?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a candidate for corrective upper eyelid lifting surgery. Corrective eyelid surgery is often covered by insurance. Skip ahead to the next section to learn more.

Other patients have upper eyelid lifting surgery to approve their appearance. They may also notice that their eyelid skin rests on their eyelashes, but not to the point that their eyelids are interfering with their vision. These patients may notice difficulty wearing makeup on account of excess eyelid skin, or simply that their heavy eyelids make them look tired and unhappy. If you notice these changes, you may still be a candidate for upper eyelid lifting surgery. Keep reading to learn more about surgery.

Will I need any testing?

Even if you answered “yes” to the questions above, it’s important to meet with Dr. Repp to determine if you are a candidate for an eyelid lift. If you are a potential candidate, some of the cost of surgery may be covered by your health insurance. Depending on your insurance company, you may require a series of tests prior to surgery, such as a test of your peripheral vision. Not all patients will qualify for their health insurance to assist with the cost of surgery, but you may still be able to proceed with an eyelid lift even if your insurance will not pay for your surgery. In this case, your insurance company considers your surgery cosmetic, with the cost covered by you.

What should I expect the day of surgery?

An eyelid lift is typically an outpatient, or day surgery, allowing you to recover at home following surgery.

Eyelid lift surgeries are commonly done in an ambulatory surgery center. Dr. Repp will work with you to customize a plan to help keep you comfortable during surgery. Most patients receive medication to help maintain general comfort during the procedure (IV sedation). They will also get medication to anesthetize the eyelids.

Surgery of both upper eyelids is commonly performed at the same time, allowing removal of the excess eyelid tissue on both sides during the same surgery. Some patients will elect to have surgery on their lower eyelids at the same time to treat lower eyelid bags. Health insurance typically does not cover the cost of lower eyelid surgery, but many patients still elect to have it done at the same time, so they only need one recovery. Dr. Repp will work with you at your initial office visit to determine if additional procedures, such as lower eyelid surgery, are a good fit for you.

After surgery, most patients will return home the same day for recovery.

Can you tell me about the recovery and aftercare?

Each patient is unique, so Dr. Repp will customize an after-care plan for you, but some general guidelines follow. Ask Dr. Repp if these apply to you before following any of the recommendations on this site. And if something does not seem right, do not hesitate to call Dr. Repp.

Most patients will use frequent cool compresses for the first two days after surgery. During this time, Dr. Repp will likely ask you to limit activity, commonly recommending that you avoid any heavy lifting or bending. These activities can stress your surgery site and set back your healing. Following surgery, most patients experience only mild-to-moderate discomfort that can often be effectively treated at home with medications recommended by Dr. Repp. If you experience more than mild pain or discomfort, you should call Dr. Repp immediately for recommendations. You will also need regular ointment on your incision line. The ointment acts as a salve, soothing the eyelids as you heal.

Many patients wonder when they can safely return to work or other normal activities. There is no single answer for every patient, so ask Dr. Repp for details. The same is true for when patients can return to wearing their contact lenses, although many patients can begin wearing their soft contact lenses by two weeks and their hard lenses by one month. Check with Dr. Repp to see if these guidelines apply to you. Lastly, Dr. Repp will place sutures during your surgery. Typically, these are removed between one-to-two weeks following surgery. Ask Dr. Repp for details.


Eyelid lift surgery is a common procedure performed by ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeons. In some patients, it can help improve a patient’s quality of life or the aesthetic harmony of the eyelids. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Repp to find out if you are a good candidate.

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