Droopy upper eyelids – when the eyelid presses on the mood

Last updated on May 27, 2024 First published on June 08, 2023

Droopy upper eyelids bother many sufferers because they always make the facial expression appear tired or irritated. The droopy upper eyelids can also trigger eye inflammation or obstruct vision. Droopy eyelids can be corrected with a small operation.

Full of beans and in a good mood, but the look in the mirror shows a tired or grumpy face. Most people with drooping eyelids know that this particular eyelid shape distorts their expression. It’s no consolation, and for many people with drooping eyelids, the mismatch between their mood and visible expression is more than just a cosmetic problem. “Being constantly perceived as being in a bad mood or tired and weary because of this physique can become a great emotional burden. Professional situations and private contacts can suffer, and self-confidence is virtually crushed by the eyelids,” knows Anna Burger, senior physician for plastic surgery at the University Hospital Zurich. Time and again, she experiences that women and men with drooping eyelids develop massive psychological problems because of this.

Excess skin is to blame for the sleepy look

Drooping eyelids are caused by excess skin in the area of the upper eyelids. This causes the eyelids to droop, giving a look of tiredness or irritability, making someone appear older or constantly sceptical. Many women and men with drooping eyelids try to counteract this effect by consciously and strenuously keeping their eyes open. However, this puts even more strain on the muscles and after only a short time, symptoms of fatigue appear. The eyes can also become irritated if the moisturising blink is suppressed.

Restricted vision and inflammation due to severe drooping eyelids

If the elasticity of the eyelid skin increasingly decreases, or if it becomes extremely pronounced, the drooping eyelids can restrict the field of vision. The heavy eyelids can push eyelashes into the eye, causing recurrent inflammation. This sagging process is often accompanied by a so-called brow ptosis, i.e. the drooping of the forehead skin. This is clearly visible in the fact that the eyebrow is also increasingly lower.

The surgical eyelid lift is a permanent solution

If the drooping eyelids become a burden, they can be permanently corrected with a minor operation. During the surgical tightening of the skin of the upper eyelids (med. Blepharoplasty), the excess skin and, depending on the severity, also protruding fatty tissue, which actually surrounds the eyeball, is removed. The incision is made in the fold of the eyelid. In typical cases, the scars are hardly visible.

Back home the same day

The operation is performed in an operating theatre and on an outpatient basis, i.e. the patient comes to the clinic on the day of the operation and can go home the same day. In most cases, the operation is performed under local anaesthetic only.

Counselling before the operation

“Before the drooping eyelid operation, we discuss the patient’s wishes and the expected result in a detailed consultation,” Anna Burger describes the procedure. “We explain step by step how we proceed when tightening the upper eyelids.” The preparation is also discussed: “14 days before the operation, painkillers that influence blood clotting (e.g. aspirin) should be avoided. In addition, we recommend not smoking for a fortnight before and after the operation.”

Possible complications

Small bruises may occur after the operation. In the beginning, the eye can also be very sensitive to light, up to and including conjunctivitis. As with all operations, there is a risk of post-operative bleeding, infection, impaired wound healing or excessive scarring.

After the operation, make sure you wear sunscreen

The stitches are removed after one week. You should also avoid the sun for about a year after the operation or use a sunscreen with a high protection factor (SPF 50+).

For patients

You can either register yourself or be referred by your family doctor or specialist.

Register now

Anna Burger, Dr. med.

Attending Physician, Department of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery

Tel. +41 44 255 21 25
Specialties: Aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery, Intimate surgery, Gender dysphoria

Nicole Lindenblatt, Prof. Dr. med.

Senior Attending Physician, Vice Director of Department, Department of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery

Tel. +41 44 255 33 39
Specialties: Microsurgery and supermicrosurgery, Robotic surgery