Blepharoplasty (eyelid lift)

A cosmetic procedure eye surgery dealing with the contours of the upper and lower eyelid space.


Eyelid lift (Blepharoplasty) is one of the most commonly performed functional and aesthetic facial plastic surgical procedures. This cosmetic eye surgery deals with the contours of the upper and lower eyelid space.

This procedure concerns the removal of excess skin and muscle from the upper or lower eyelid and either reduces or repositions the underlying fat to a more youthful configuration.

Upper eyelid surgery concentrates on the region between the eyebrow and the eyelashes. Lower eyelid surgery focuses on the area between the eyelashes and the cheek.

Why do people get eyelid surgery?

An eye lift procedure can be performed for any of the following reasons:

  • A tired look is the most common reason for eye lift surgery. Hereditary factors and changes with age can cause a drooping of skin and the tissues under the skin, with protrusion of the underlying fat causing the ¨heavy eyelid¨ look, commonly associated with bulginess on the inner aspect of the eyelid.
  • The procedure can remove excess skin, muscle and fat in the lower lid, which gives a lined appearance and the presence of ‘bags’ under the eyes.
  • The appearance of the eyelids may be asymmetrical and blepharoplasty may be performed to improve symmetry.
  • Saggy upper eyelid skin, known as ptosis, can obstruct the visual field (you may not be able to see the full extent of your lateral vision). In this case, ptosis surgery is performed to remove this obstruction and improve vision.

Who is suitable for eyelid lift surgery?

Your surgeon will assess your suitability for eyelid surgery during your initial consultation. They will evaluate you for any factors which may increase surgical risk, like diabetes, thyroid eye disease and issues with dry eyes. If you smoke, your surgeon may also recommend that you stop for a few weeks before the surgery, as smoking can slow down the recovery process.

Frequently asked questions about blephroplasty

What happens at the first appointment?

A full medical history will be taken to ensure that the consultant is aware of any medical conditions that may affect your ability to undergo surgery. Your surgeon will also need to know about any medications that may increase your risk, including medication which reduces your risk of blood clots, such as warfarin or aspirin. A detailed examination of the eye, eyelids, facial skin and underlying tissues will be undertaken to ensure that the surgery will not compromise the health and integrity of your eyes.

Another essential aspect of the consultation is a detailed discussion to understand your expected outcomes of any prospective surgery to ensure that these are realistic and achievable. You may be asked to bring older photographs with you, which will help to ensure that surgery is planned to suit your facial features and history, so that you still look like you afterwards.

A second consultation up to two weeks later is sometimes required to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and that you have the opportunity to discuss any areas of concern before proceeding. This is often referred to as a “cooling off” period.


What does blepharoplasty surgery involve?

In the expert hands of Moorfields Private surgeons, blepharoplasty is a safe and predictable operation, offering practical and aesthetic benefits. To ensure it is painless, blepharoplasty will be performed under local anaesthetic with sedation for shorter procedures or general anaesthetic for longer ones.

What happens during upper blepharoplasty?

During an upper eyelid lift, your surgeon will make precise markings to indicate areas with excess fat and skin. They will then make an incision along the natural eyelid crease and remove any excess skin, fat or muscle. Patients with dry eyes will have less tissue removed to avoid increased exposure of the eye to air and worsening of symptoms.

The incision is then closed and the scar is hidden from sight within the natural fold of your eye. Sutures (sticky thin strips) or tissue adhesives are applied with care to smooth out the area around your eyelids and eyebrows and help it heal.

What happens during lower blepharoplasty?

For a lower eyelid lift, the incision will be made inside your lower eyelid or below your eyelashes, allowing the surgeon to remove or reposition excess fat. If needed, support for the muscles and tendons will be added before closing the incision.


How painful is eyelid surgery?

The operation is performed under anaesthetic and your surgeon will apply antibiotic ointment to your eye immediately after surgery, which can cause blurred vision. It is normal to experience dry eyes, numbness and surface irritation for a short time after the procedure. Most patients only need non-prescription painkillers, such as paracetamol, to relieve this.


How long does eyelid surgery take?

How long the procedure takes will depend on the level of surgery required, but generally eyelid surgery would be expected to take between 45 minutes and two and a half hours. You should make sure someone is available to take you home and watch over you for several hours following your surgery.


What eyelid surgery results can I expect?

An essential part of your initial consultation is having a detailed discussion with your consultant to understand your expectations from upper eyelid surgery. Your consultant will discuss what results are realistic and achievable, and may ask you to bring in older photographs of yourself. This will help your surgeon plan the procedure to suit your facial features and history.

Most patients report that they are satisfied with the results of their eyelid surgery and experience an improved self image, while those with ptosis benefit from improvements to their visual field.


Blepharoplasty recovery and aftercare

After the operation, your surgeon will likely apply sticky thin strips to support your eyelid. Known as suture strips, these can usually be removed around one week later. You are advised to avoid strenuous activity for one week and will not be able to drive for a few days after the operation. The recovery process for upper and lower eyelid lifts is usually quite quick. You can expect to return to your normal routine within a day or two of your treatment, although the bruising may be visible for up to a fortnight. Double eyelid surgery on both your upper and lower eyelids may require a longer recovery period of two to three weeks.

Immediately after surgery, you may have blurred vision due to antibiotic ointment, which is applied to your eyes. After this, you may experience ocular surface irritation, dry eyes and numbness around your eyes for a short period of time.

Your surgeon will give you blepharoplasty aftercare instructions. This will involve gently cleaning your eyes with prescribed eye drops or ointment. Cold packs can reduce swelling but it is recommended that you keep your eye area dry for a few days to help with recovery. You should also wear dark glasses to protect your eyes from wind or sun irritation and take naps to help them rest. It is advised that you avoid smoking and wearing contact lenses during your blepharoplasty recovery.


Are there any eyelid surgery risks?

In expert hands, an eyelid lift is a safe and predictable procedure offering significant aesthetic and functional benefits. Like with all surgery, there are some risks with the procedure and these will be discussed with you in detail at your consultation.


What are the next steps?

Firstly, you will need to book an appointment to meet one of our consultants.

You will then have a “cooling off period” to think things over. If you are still keen to proceed after that, we will book a date for your treatment.

Following treatment, you are usually able to return home on the same day depending on the level of surgery required.

Around 7-10 days after your treatment, you will return for a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to check how your eyes are recovering and to have your sutures removed.

Two to three months after your treatment, you will return for a final check-up.

How much does blephroplasty cost?

Initial consultation

From £300

This includes initial consultation and a visual acuity assessment.

If further outpatient tests and investigations are required, they will be charged at an additional rate. Your consultant will discuss this with you at your consultation.


From £4,600

Treatment costs start from around £4,600 per procedure, including your consultant’s professional fees, post operative consultation and take-home medication. 

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