Upper eyelid correction

When people talk to each other, most of us focus on the eyes. Due to the continuous blinking of the eyelids, it also happens to be the area that first starts to show signs of ageing in the face.

Your appearance

Skin surplus or bags under the eyes often give a tired appearance, while your eyebrows coming down sometimes make you look grumpy. If your appearance is restored to how you’re truly feeling, it immediately has a hugely positive impact on what you radiate. Your eyebrows also play a major role in this, as especially their position have a big influence on how you come across.

This position is directly related to the amount of skin (surplus) in the eyelid: when the forehead sags this immediately leads to more skin excess in the eyelids. On the other hand, when there is too much skin excess the forehead muscles try to relieve the pressure on the eyelids by actively raising the eyebrows. This results in a deep forehead wrinkles. Therefore, when analyzing your gaze, the eyebrow position should be taken into account just much as the skin excess of the upper eyelids.


Excess skin of the upper eyelids can cause both cosmetic and functional problems. People often complain of a feeling of pressure, or notice that it takes more and more effort to keep their eyes open at dusk. Watery or dry eyes are also a common complaint. Sometimes the skin surplus is so bad that the folded skin starts to blemish or that the surplus ends up restricting the vision, so that people can no longer look behind them. In some cases, the muscle that opens the upper eyelid is weakened to such an extent that the rim actually drops in front of the pupil. This is a quite common occurrence with people who have worn hard contact lenses all their lives.

An upper eyelid correction is the most common cosmetic procedure. Almost everyone knows someone who has had it done. It is a relatively modest operation, which generally does not limit people for more than a week. As a result, you can achieve a functional relieve and an optimal arcade arch with a natural, more open look, which can really make a big difference.

The goal

The goal of the procedure is to reduce the excess skin in the upper eyelids while maintaining a natural look, reducing any functional and aesthetic complaints you may be experiencing at the moment. This operation is usually performed on an outpatient basis under local anaesthesia.

All the steps of an eyelid correction listed

All the phases of an upper eyelid correction are explained below in more detail. My recommendation would be that you read this information carefully and contact us if any questions arise. I wish you a good recovery!

The preparation

  • You should not take medication that makes your blood thinner, as this increases the risk of hemorrhage. Therefore, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, Burfen, Ibuprofen and Nurofen should be stopped two weeks before surgery, up until two weeks after the procedure.
  • Ask us in advance if you have any doubts about the safety of your current medication regarding the operation.
  • If you smoke, it is strongly recommended that you quit two weeks before until at least a week after the surgery. Smoking restricts blood flow, which may prevent proper wound healing.
  • Make sure someone is able to pick you up after your surgery, because you can't drive home after you’ve just undergone surgery (besides the fact that you won’t be insured in such a situation).
  • We advise you to shop for groceries in advance, so that you don’t have to do this immediately after the operation.
  • We also advise you to arrange for some help at home for the first few days after surgery.
  • Make sure you get the prescription eye drops and gel at home before your surgery date.

The upper eyelid correction

  • Please come to the surgery without makeup or contact lenses in.
  • On the day of the operation, I’ll see you right before the operation and I will briefly go through the whole procedure with you again.
  • I’ll take pictures to capture the record the situation before the operation and make a drawing on your eyelids.
  • The operation will be performed in a fully equipped operating room, adhering to the strictest medical rules and guidelines.
  • The operation will be performed under local anaesthetic, which is usually well tolerated.
  • I employ a special "gate control" infiltration technique, which makes the injection hardly noticeable. Afterwards, everyone tells me "oh, if I had known that it would be so easy .."
  • An incision is made in the crease of the upper eyelids, following the natural curve of your eyelids. In some cases, it may be necessary to extend this to the side next to the eyelid.
  • The operation takes between 20 and 30 minutes.
  • A hypodermic insoluble suture is used to close the incision. I use these specifically because soluble sutures often give unwanted scar reaction.
  • Small skin-coloured patches are used to fix the sutures. They should stay for 1 week and you’ll have to keep them dry.

After the procedure

  • After the operation you will be taken to our recovery room. Your eyelids will be cooled to prevent the initial swelling as much as possible.
  • Once the local anaesthetic has worn off (after 2-4 hours), you may experience some discomfort for a few hours. Paracetamol (2x500mg) is usually sufficient to counter that.
  • In the beginning your eyelids may slowly swell and (sometimes) some bruising develops. Regular cooling of your eyelids will help keep this swelling to a minimum. The swelling increases for the first three days before it subsides. Cooling therefore makes most sense during the first 3 days.
  • In the beginning your eyes can sometimes feel a bit dry. If you notice this, it is wise to support your eyes with some eye drops (or ointment before going to sleep). You will receive a prescription for eye drops and eye ointment before the operation and have to make sure you collect them beforehand.
  • Avoid bending or lifting heavy things in the first few days. During this period it is sometimes nice to sleep with an extra pillow so that your head is slightly higher, so the swelling will decrease faster.
  • You’ll notice that you can do many things in your daily life, but you are simply somewhat limited by the swelling. For example, your eyes are just easily tired and you will have to adjust your pace accordingly. If you don’t do this, the process will be more troubling than is necessary.
  • We’ll make an appointment for a week after the operation. We’ll check the woundhealing and the sutures will be removed. From this moment onwards you can start using make-up and contact lenses again.
  • By this time the swelling (and bruising, if any) usually has returned to a level that allows for social activities to resume. Sometimes, however, these side effects take longer to disappear completely. We therefore recommend that you do not plan any really important social activities in the first 3 weeks after the procedure.
  • We also recommend that you avoid any heavy physical activities in the first 2 weeks.
  • You will notice a varying feeling of tightness in your upper eyelids, which often lasts for several weeks, but then slowly disappears. Massaging the scars with a silicone gel especially made for scars, such as Dermatrix, can relieve this feeling.
  • The scar will be slightly red compared to the surrounding skin. This will last for approximately 3-4 months. This is mostly visible at the side of the eyelids. You can use makeup to camouflage this.
  • A scar usually takes a year to fully settle and heal. During this period it is vulnerable to damage from UV light, such as from sunlight or sunbeds. We recommend that you protect the scars from the sun by covering them or applying a sunscreen (factor 50).
  • Most people only need one upper eyelid correction in their lifetime. Realize however that following the procedure the aging process will continue as normal and that slack structures will continue to give even after strengthening. In the rare case that people come for a second procedure, there is always a minimum time span of 15 years in between.

Does this appeal to you?

If you want to know more about this and in particular want more information about what this could imply for you, please contact me to make an appointment.

To summarize

Local anaesthetic
Duration of the procedure
Maximum of 30 minutes
(How long) Will the scars be visible?
The scars are somewhat swollen in the first two weeks. The part on the side eyelid will remain somewhat red for 4-6 months. Ultimately, scars fade so much that they appear as normal skin and are usually no longer visible.
When can I resume with my social life?
After 1 week, although the scars are still visible.
It is normal to experience some tightness in the first month.
Back to normal daily activities
1 week
Return to normal sports activity
Within 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the type and intensity of the activity. Particularly bending down can still be troubling.
Disclaimer: Surgical intervention and the healing process are subject to many (individual) variables and therefore cannot be fully predicted. This information is only intended to help you better understand the process. No rights can be derived from it. Keep in mind that reality may be different in your case. If in doubt, please contact Dr. van der Meulen.