We’re all taking a closer look at our eyes these days – on video conference calls and Facetime, or out in public when we’re wearing masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The increased scrutiny of our natural appearance, and particularly the area surrounding the eyes, has given rise to a new phenomenon researchers call “Zoom Dysmorphia.”
People are noticing that their eyes – more specifically, changes in their eyelids and the skin surrounding their eyes – are making them look tired, sad, or grouchy. Many of these concerns patients are flagging are related to aging, genetics, or environment – and are generally treatable.
A board-certified plastic surgeon can help you determine the exact cause and recommend the best option to refresh your look. We see men and women of all ages at our plastic surgery clinics in Dallas and Frisco for surgical and nonsurgical facial rejuvenation options.
What causes that ‘tired eyes’ look?
Over time, skin can lose its elasticity and begin to hang loosely, causing the upper eyelids to sag or appear hooded. In severe cases, the eyelids droop over the lashes and block the upper field of vision. With thinning skin, fat may become more noticeable, causing the upper eyelids to look puffy and the lower eyelids to appear baggy.
Some people lose fat in the brow region with aging or when they lose weight, causing a low or deflated look with a fuller upper lid. We also tend to lose fat along the eye socket bone and cheek, which can magnify the full appearance of the lower eyelid. This, along with sun damage or naturally thin skin, can allow the underlying muscle to show through under the eye, resulting in dark circles.
While we can have some influence over sun exposure and weight loss, we can’t control our genetics or Mother Nature. But there are effective options that can rejuvenate that high-profile area around your eyes, ranging from fillers to laser therapy to surgery.
And now is a great time to make a change. Since many people are working remotely, you can worry less about the initial redness or puffiness some procedures entail.
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After determining what the exact problem is and its cause, we can begin to determine how best to correct it. Options may include:
Botulinum toxin and filler injections
Botulinum toxin such as Botox® or Dysport are a nonsurgical method to “lift” the brows and eyes, creating a refreshed and youthful look. As an alternative to moving or removing tissue, Botox and Dysport smooths and softens the appearance of sagging or wrinkled skin through its action on the underlying muscle. It softens an “angry” or “tired” appearance in some patients.
Fillers also can eliminate dark circles under your eyes by replacing lost fat and softening the transition from the eyelid to the cheek.
Botulinum toxin and filler treatments take about 15 minutes and are done in the office using a topical anesthetic and ice. These treatments are very well tolerated. You can return to work and normal activities immediately and should notice a smoother look in a few days.
Laser treatment uses a narrow beam of high-intensity light to treat minor skin issues to improve appearance. Lasers may be able to remove thin layers of extra skin from the eyelids and lighten or eliminate pigmentation that causes dark spots or circles on or under the eyelids.
Ablative or peel procedures may require one to two weeks to two months for full recovery, depending on the type and intensity of treatments. Most patients see results within two months. Photorejuvenation options, which uses broad spectrum light to reduce the appearance of sunspots and blemishes. These options typically require minimal downtime with visible results within two weeks.
Related reading: Look and feel young again with nonsurgical facial rejuvenation
Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure that rejuvenates the upper and lower eyelids. We make small incisions within the creases of your upper eyelid and/or along the lash line of your lower eyelid. Then, we remove excess skin and fat and tighten the muscle and lower lid to restore your eyes’ bright, youthful appearance.
Upper eyelid surgery can be performed in the office under a local anesthetic while lower eyelid surgery is performed in the operating under general anesthesia. The procedure takes one to two hours, and you can go home the same day. Most patients can return to work and regular activities within a week or two, and the results last approximately 10 years.
We also can perform a brow lift at the same time as a blepharoplasty. While we don’t do these procedures as often as we used to, there is still a role for elevating the tail of the brow to open up the eye area. This is done most commonly using a small incision in the hairline.
Eyelid problems typically affect your appearance only. But in some cases, drooping or puffy lids can interfere with vision or cause eye irritation. My plastic surgery colleagues and I, as well as our nurses and staff, will work with you to determine the best approach and help you look and feel your best.