Eyelid Lift and Brow Lift: What You Need to Know

5 common questions, answered by an expert

Eyelid Lift and Brow Lift: What You Need to Know

Do you worry about skin around your eyes getting saggy, baggy or wrinkled? An eyelid lift or brow lift are possible fixes for that problem.

Advertising Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Before deciding on any surgery, it’s important to consider all the facts. Ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon Julian Perry, MD, answers common questions.

1. How do you decide if these procedures are right for you?

Most people consider an eyelid or brow lift for cosmetic reasons.

We’re more conscious of our appearance than ever before — and social media keeps many of us looking at ourselves on a regular basis. Eyelid and brow lifts can brighten your eyes and help you look more youthful and alert.

But drooping skin in the eye area is sometimes more than a cosmetic concern.

“You may start to notice heavy skin and tissue on your upper eyelids. Sometimes you can even see or feel it resting on your eyelashes,” Dr. Perry says. “This can cause eye fatigue and even interfere with your vision.”

A simple way to check for this? Use your finger to hold your eyelid and eyebrow up. If that seems to improve your vision, then drooping skin is likely the culprit. And, if it interferes with your vision, your insurance may help pay to correct it.

Advertising Policy

2. What are the options to lift skin around the eyes? 

For an eyelid lift, you would consider eyelid surgery — or what doctors call blepharoplasty. 

  • Upper lid blepharoplasty is surgery to remove skin and sometimes the fat of the upper eyelid. “This is a very straightforward procedure,” says Dr. Perry. “It involves light sedation and takes about 25 minutes.” Recovery typically involves about a week of swelling and bruising, but little pain. Stitches in the eyelids come out after a week.
  • Lower lid blepharoplasty addresses bags and wrinkles underneath the eye. The surgeon will remove or reposition fat using a small incision, and tighten excess skin, if necessary. Recovery is similar to that of upper lid blepharoplasty.

For a brow lift, the surgeon makes incisions just above the brow to lift and tighten the skin above your eyes. This procedure leaves small but visible scars. Incisions made in the hairline can make the scars less visible.

3. Are these surgeries safe?

“I’ve performed over 18,000 eyelid and eyebrow procedures,” Dr. Perry says. “They are extremely safe.”

Most of the risks are cosmetic: asymmetrical results, excess tissue that’s left behind, and results that just don’t go far enough in correcting the problem. Brow lifts also leave visible scars — “but we have developed new techniques to minimize these scars,” he says.

Major risks, such as bleeding, infection, nerve damage or other problems, are rare.

4. Is this just a quick fix or a long-term solution?

“I always tell patients that the results last a lifetime, but the aging changes continue,” says Dr. Perry. In other words, your face, like the rest of you, will keep getting older, and it’s going to show.

Advertising Policy

But, Dr. Perry says, “Many patients enjoy good results for decades.” And more surgery in the future is an option too.

5. What are other considerations?

Dr. Perry says that most people are good candidates for eyelid and brow lifts, with just a couple of exceptions:

If you’ve already had upper blepharoplasty but have started feeling droopy again, you may not have any upper eyelid skin left to remove. In this case, a brow lift it may be a better option.

Also, if you are on blood thinners and aren’t able to stop taking them before surgery, the surgical plan might need to be modified.

If surgical solutions aren’t for you, there are non-surgical ways to brighten your eye area, too:

  • Use moisturizer and sunscreen regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Use chemical peels for fine wrinkles around the eyes
  • Cosmetic injectibles are another option

If you’re thinking it’s time to take action against bags and wrinkles around your eyes, you can consult with a plastic surgeon and weigh the options.