When Is An Eyelid Lift Medically Necessary?

Blepharoplasty (frequently referred to as an eyelid lift) is a popular procedure to resolve drooping upper or lower eyelids. While the procedure is designed to restore a youthful appearance, there are also potential medical benefits to improve vision and eye function.  

The problem of drooping upper eyelids may occur for several different reasons, which may require different treatments. The most common issues are the downward displacement of the eyelid margin (blepharoptosis) and excess eyelid skin (dermatochalasis).

Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the lower or upper eyelids. A common question board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Landis, hears regularly: when is eyelid surgery medically necessary?

Medical Reasons for Upper Eyelids Drooping

The most critical factor in determining the medical necessity of blepharoplasty is what the patient is experiencing. Typically, the patient will know their eyelids are causing problems with vision when they are prevented from doing activities like driving and reading or experiencing headaches or eye strain.

In addition to these lifestyle issues, there are objective findings that your surgeon will discover through physical exam and studies,  like visual field testing, photographs, and eyelid measurements. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, indicators for medical need for an eyelid lift include:

  • The patient notices functional impairment
  • The distance between the center of the pupil and the edge of the eyelid (margin reflex distance) is less than 2mm
  • Superior visual field loss 
  • Impaired reading or other near-sighted activities
  • Eye discomfort or strain
  • Chin-up head tilt
  • Optical interference because of hooded upper eyelids

Keep in mind – these are not rules but suggested guidelines. The determination for a functional diagnosis for surgery is necessary for the patient’s insurance coverage. Each health care company has its own guidelines, which may be different than these indicators. A consultation with Dr. Landis can help you to determine whether you may qualify for medical blepharoplasty.

Cosmetic Improvement

Blepharoplasty not only corrects eyelids from drooping over your eyes and impairing your vision but has the added benefit of making you look more alert and younger. One of the problems with aging eyelids is that when they become hooded, puffy, and hide your eyes, they can give you the appearance of being tired and worn. After an eyelid lift, patients are excited to look younger and more focused. It can affect not only their appearance but how others see them at home and on the job.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you feel your upper eyelids are causing significant cosmetic issues or functional problems, you may be a suitable candidate for blepharoplasty. Come in for a professional assessment to explore your options.

Start the Process

If you are struggling with impaired vision because your upper eyelids droop down over your eyes and you would like to know more about your options to correct the problem and improve your lifestyle, Dr. Landis can help. He along with his dedicated team of health care professionals help patients in the Minneapolis area get the care they deserve. 

Contact us today or call (952) 562-5940 to schedule a consultation

Schedule a Private Consultation

George H. Landis, MD Minneapolis | Board Certified Plastic Surgeon