Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) Risks
Reviewed by Yael Halaas, MD
Eyelid surgery is not risk free. No surgery is. The good news is that serious complications are rare and can usually be avoided by carefully choosing a qualified surgeon and following his or her instructions to a T.
General Surgery Risks
General surgery risks can occur with any and all surgeries, including eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) and Asian double eyelid surgery.
- Anesthesia complications
- Visible scars
- Pooling of blood (hematoma)
- Poor healing
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Numbness or skin sensation changes
- Skin discoloration
- Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside the body, and can block blood flow and cause swelling and pain or break free and move through the bloodstream)
- Heart and lung complications
Risks Specific to Eyelid Surgery
Certain eye- and vision-related risks are more specific to eyelid surgery.
- Dry eye syndrome (usually temporary)
- Inability to close your eyes (usually temporary)
- Pulling down of lower eyelid (ectropion or lid lag) and related eye irritation
- Pulling inward of the edges of your eyelids (entropion), which can cause your eyelashes to rub against your eyeball.
- Blindness (extremely rare)
- Double or blurry vision
- Temporary swelling at the corners of the eyelids
- Tiny whiteheads on the eyelids
- Eye asymmetry
- Eyelid sagging
- Difficulty blinking or keeping your eyes closed while asleep
- Sunken eyes or hollowness under the eyes, which may occur if your surgeon removes all or too much of the fat pads under your eyes.
- Dissatisfaction with the cosmetic results
Some complications may require revision surgery.
Eye Surgery Risks: High-Risk Groups
Certain people are at greater risk of eyelid surgery complications.
For example, if you have thyroid problems (hypothyroidism or Graves' disease), insufficient tearing (dry eyes), a circulatory disorder or high blood pressure, eyelid surgery may be riskier for you than for those without these health issues. Other disorders that may increase your risks are myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular disorder marked by weakness of voluntary muscles), diabetes, a detached retina or glaucoma (high blood pressure within the eye).
Eyelid Surgery Risks: Protect Yourself and Your Eyes
Make sure your surgeon and anesthesiologist know your complete medical history and are aware of all the medications that you take, even so-called natural supplements. Mention any past eye or vision problems, including the use of contact lenses or glasses, and whether or not you have had LASIK surgery.
Be sure to ask your surgeon what your personal risks are based on your medical history, overall health and other factors, and what, if any, symptoms may be warning signs of more serious complications.
Choosing a board-certified facial plastic surgeon can also help assure your safety and minimize complications and risks.