Asian Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

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Estimates are that 50 to 75 percent of all Asians are born with a single eyelid; that is, they lack the crease in the upper eyelid that is common to most other ethnicities. And, in Asians who are born with this crease, it often differs in shape and size from that of other ethnic groups. The creation of a double upper eyelid, sometimes called Asian eye surgery, has been one of the most popular procedures among Asian women in both Asia and America.

The addition of a crease to the eyelid can make the eye appear larger and the face more welcoming. This procedure can also make it easier to apply eye makeup. Most Asians who opt for blepharoplasty choose the procedure for these reasons, not in order to appear more "Western" or "American." Full blepharoplasty, which entails removing the excess fat and tissue surrounding both the upper and lower eye, is often performed to achieve a larger, more prominent eye opening.

If you're considering double eyelid surgery, the following information will provide you with a good introduction to the procedure. For more detailed information about how this procedure may help you, we recommend that you consult a plastic surgeon who is board certified or has completed a residency program that includes instruction in this procedure.


* The national average cost of Eyelid Surgery is $2,912

Eyelid Surgery are among the top five surgical procedures.

Blepharoplasty is a medical term used to describe Eyelid Surgery.









  1. What are some of the most common benefits of this procedure?
  2. How is blepharoplasty performed?
  3. How long does the surgery take?
  4. Where will the surgery be performed?
  5. How much pain is there?
  6. What can I expect after surgery?
  7. What is the recovery period like?
  8. What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
  9. Ideal candidate:
  10. Other important information
  11. Risks


What are some of the most common benefits of Asian eyelid surgery?

For Asians, upper eyelid surgery can make the eyes appear larger. For those who choose full blepharoplasty, pockets of tissue beneath the eye are removed, and the area surrounding the entire eye is tightened and smoothed, giving the patient a more youthful appearance.

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How is blepharoplasty performed?

Blepharoplasty is performed with very fine electrocauterization instruments to control bleeding. In lower eyelid surgery, the doctor makes tiny incisions near the lower lashline, removes excess skin and fatty tissue, and closes the incisions with tiny sutures to reduce scarring. Another common method, the transconjuctival approach, involves making an incision from inside the eye pocket in order to remove fat. The benefit of this method is that there is no scarring on the outside of the skin, but success depends on the contraction of the excess skin as a result from internal tightening.

In upper eyelid surgery, the incisions are made in the eyelid itself, where the crease would be found naturally. Excess tissue is removed, a natural skin fold is created, and the incisions are carefully closed with fine sutures. Any scars are hidden by the crease created during the procedure.

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How long does the eyelid surgery take?

Double eyelid surgery takes from one to three hours to complete, depending on the technique used and the extent of the surgery.

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Where will the surgery be performed?

Blepharoplasty can be performed in your doctor's office, an ambulatory surgical clinic, or the hospital. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can return home the day of the surgery. Either general or local anesthesia may be used, depending on your and your doctor's preferences.

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How much pain is there?

Directly after the procedure, you may feel a tight sensation around the eyes. Some minor discomfort may last for a day or two. Your doctor may prescribe a mild pain reliever to relieve these symptoms.

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What can I expect after surgery?

After surgery, your eyes will be lubricated with ointment to reduce dryness. On the first evening after surgery, you should rest quietly with your head elevated. Tightness, swelling, numbness, and changes in vision are normal for the first few days. You may also experience some bruising, which typically disappears within seven to 10 days. For a few weeks after surgery, tearing and sensitivity to light may affect your eyesight. If necessary, you can apply cold compresses to your eyelids to reduce discomfort. Eye-drops may also be prescribed by your doctor.

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What is the recovery period like?

For a week after surgery, you should avoid strenuous activities and sports, as well as activities that dry the eyes, including reading, watching television, wearing contacts, and using a computer. Your doctor may also recommend that you cut down on alcohol consumption and avoid excessive blinking, which can lead to increased swelling. Wearing dark sunglasses will protect your eyes from wind and sun. Most patients are able to return to work within seven to 10 days.

Your sutures will be removed within a week of surgery. At first, the incisions will probably be red and somewhat bumpy. Slight scars may remain pink for six months or so, but can easily be concealed with makeup. Any scars will eventually fade to thin, nearly invisible white lines or be concealed beneath the folds of your eyelid.

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What is the long-term outcome like for most people?

The results of blepharoplasty are long lasting. The double eyelid created by the surgery is permanent, as is the removal of fatty tissue. However, the procedure will not prevent normal looseness of the skin or fine wrinkling of the eyelid in the future.

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Ideal candidate:

In general, the best candidates for double eyelid blepharoplasty are:

  • 18 years of age or older
  •  In good physical health
  •  Psychologically stable
  • Informed about the procedure
  • Free of ophthalmic conditions such as glaucoma or detached retina
  • Without medical conditions such as high blood pressure, circulatory problems, hypothyroidism, or other thyroid related conditions.
  • Realistic about the outcome of surgery

The above is only a partial list of the criteria that your surgeon will consider in determining whether or not this procedure is appropriate for you. Be sure to ask your surgeon if he/she considers you an ideal candidate for upper and/or lower eyelid blepharoplasty.

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Other important information

The appearance of the Asian eyelid is distinctly different from that of other ethnic groups, so make sure that your doctor is experienced in Asian eyelid surgery.

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Eyelid Surgery Risks:

Significant complications from upper eyelid blepharoplasty are infrequent. As with any surgical procedure, however, there is always a possibility of infection, or reaction to the anesthesia.

Other potential complications include:

- Temporary problems with excessive tearing
- Decreased sensation in the eyelid
- Dryness, burning, stinging, gritty sensation in the eye(s)
- Prominence or firmness of the scars
- Asymmetry in healing or scarring
- Milia or whiteheads at the site of sutures
- Retrobulbar hematoma (bleeding behind the eye), a rare condition that can cause loss of vision
- Difficulty closing the eyes completely; in rare cases, this condition may be permanent. Further surgery may correct this problem.

In order to minimize these risks, it is important that you follow all of your surgeon's instructions, both before and after surgery.

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The information on this web site is only intended as an introduction to this procedure and should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor as a guarantee of the result. The best method of determining your options is to consult qualified surgeons who are able to answer specific questions related to your situation.

*Disclaimer: Source: According to the  American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), nationally in 2010. Most surgeons offer convenient payments plans for this procedure. Cost does not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses. Costs may vary depending the extensiveness of the procedure, location, and other factors. Costs are provided solely for research purposes. For specific estimates, please contact a qualified plastic surgeon. 

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