While I can’t remember exactly when I started to notice my eyelids had begun to droop, I’ll never forget the moment I took the plunge and contacted a plastic surgeon.
I was scrolling through Instagram on a Saturday morning when a gorgeous photo of Julia Morris popped up on my feed.
In the snap, the now 54-year-old comedian looked bright-eyed and fresh, writing she’d recently undergone a blepharoplasty – or as Julia so brilliantly described it: “Eye beef removal”.
The difference to her face was remarkable.
I knew right then I wanted to have the same procedure. I’ve always had hooded lids, but in the last few years I’d noticed they had drooped dramatically.
As a woman in her thirties who enjoys make-up, it bothered me for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, I felt it made me look older than I am. But it also made applying and enjoying eyeshadows, eyeliners and mascaras difficult.
Eyeliner was pretty much a total no-go as I would be left with a half-moon shape on my upper lid where it touched my lower lashline. The only way I could get around it was a fast-drying liquid variety that I had to let set before opening my eye again. Far from ideal.
On top of that, we’d just gone through two years of lockdowns and my self-confidence wasn’t at its best – so after seeing Julia’s results, I was sold.
Dr Michael Zacharia, a leading cosmetic surgeon in Sydney’s Double Bay, told news.com.au’s The Beauty Diary that blepharoplasties – the medical term for an eyelid lift – are currently very popular.
“Cosmetic procedures seem to be more accepted now and social media plays a big part in this,” he said.
“I am seeing younger patients having this procedure because of asymmetries etc, but also older patients who develop excess skin with ageing.
“Opening the eyes lifts the whole of the face and makes the appearance more refreshed and younger without giving a surprised appearance.
“Sometimes the brow also needs to be lifted to help remove the excess skin and everyone needs to be assessed on an individual basis.”
During my consultation, Dr Zacharia explained he would perform the procedure – which takes about an hour – while I was awake, using only local anaesthetic to numb the area rather than putting me under.
“All surgeries have risks and complications, however a blepharoplasty is usually very minor and there is very little risk to the eye itself,” he said.
“Upper blepharoplasty usually involves removal of a strip of excess skin along the natural eyelid crease, and possibly some of the muscle and fat underneath, then suturing the skin together. This can be performed under local anaesthesia in the office environment.
“The lower lids are usually more complicated and most often performed under general anaesthesia.”
In my case, I was only having my upper lids done, so we went ahead with just local anaesthesia, though I’ll admit it was a little daunting.
There’s something weird (and slightly terrifying) about the idea of having your eyelid cut into while awake.
But surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
The worst part was definitely the anaesthesia being injected, which was a little unpleasant, but I very quickly became numb.
In the chair, the doctor talked me through every little slice he was making, and while I could feel things were happening, it definitely didn’t hurt.
When I opened my eyes for the first time my lids were really heavy which felt really strange, but my vision was totally fine.
My face, however, looked a bit puffy and the incision marks on my eyelids were pretty raw.
“Initial recovery with swelling and bruising takes 1-2 weeks to settle,” my doctor advised.
“Sutures are usually removed at 5-7 days and most patients can be back at work after a week. The incision takes several weeks to settle and by 3-6 months the scars are hardly noticeable.”
Immediately after, my eyelids were sore but it only lasted 24 hours. The next day I found the pain had completely gone away.
By day three of my recovery I was going for walks wearing sunglasses, though of course, exercise while I still had stitches wasn’t allowed.
Showering was also a little tricky as I needed to keep my incisions dry.
The worst part was how itchy the incisions became for a few days from about day four due to scabbing, a natural part of the healing process.
But after my stitches were removed a week after the procedure was performed, the scabs fell off, and the annoying sensation went away.
Once the stitches were out, I started to see the results of Dr Zacharia’s work – and boy, even though my incisions were still pretty red – the change was impressive.
My face looked lighter, as if I’d had the best eight-hour sleep of my life. Much more of my eyelids were now also visible as they were no longer hidden behind my droop.
No wonder so many people have decided the surgery – which costs on average between $4000 and $6000 in Australia – is “worth every cent”.
“This procedure was probably the most common cosmetic surgery performed last year as it can often be done under local anaesthesia in the rooms, recovery is quick, and the results are excellent,” Dr Zacharia said.
“It has definitely increased in popularity recently as more and more people are interested in cosmetic procedures.”
It’s been nearly a year since I went under the knife and I have zero regrets. It’s honestly such a small tweak that has changed my appearance and confidence levels so much.
My scars have healed really nicely, and while I know they are there, no one else can see them. They’re practically invisible.
The best part is I can now wear makeup completely differently and it has been so fun to play around with different eyeshadows and eyeliners knowing my “eye beef” won’t get in the way.
My only regret is wishing I’d done it sooner.
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