The choice to have surgery doesn’t always come easy, especially for something that may feel cosmetic in nature. Quality of life, however, takes precedence when it comes to a “cosmetic” procedure that improves your ability to see clearly. Functional blepharoplasty alleviates drooping eyelid skin that limits vision and affects your overall ability to function in the world.
What is blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty can be done for either functional or cosmetic purposes. The surgery itself may be performed on either the upper or lower eyelid, depending on a patient’s symptoms. As we age, our skin loses its elasticity, and the upper eyelid can droop or gather excess skin. The undereye skin can become puffy or start to sag. Dr. Sewit Amde, a plastic surgeon with Hancock Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, says most of her clients needing a functional blepharoplasty are between the ages of 60 and 80. Those desiring the cosmetic blepharoplasty, however, are generally between 40 and 60 years old.
Insurance versus out-of-pocket
Whether a procedure is considered functional or cosmetic depends on the doctor’s assessment as well as the patient’s symptoms. If a patient complains of impaired vision because of excess eyelid skin, they may qualify for the Humphrey Visual Field Test. This test measures the vision of the patient in a first round of testing. Then, the patient’s eyelids are taped back, and their vision is measured again. A 30% rate of improvement is needed in order to qualify for an insurance-covered functional blepharoplasty.
A lower-lid blepharoplasty may also qualify. These patients will most likely have a sagging lower eyelid that makes it difficult for tears to wash over the eyes. This problem can lead to dry eyes, which can be a hindrance to vision and eye health.
Cosmetic blepharoplasty is not covered by insurance. Patients who opt for this often have chronic “bags” under their eyes. Dr. Amde frequently helps patients who are tired of being told they look sleepy gain a refreshed look around their eyes. For this type of surgery, a patient will have a single evaluation with the doctor before scheduling a procedure. A few follow-up appointments will be needed post-surgery as well.
Don’t wait until your vision is remarkably impaired to get the help you need. Dr. Amde and the other professionals at Hancock Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery are compassionate, knowledgeable, and skilled doctors with their patients’ best interests at heart. This passionate team will make sure you leave feeling better than ever about the face you put out for the world to see.