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Through Her Eyes

By Patty Reiman
Posted On Mar 21, 2011

By: Lisa Cohen Lee

Three satisfied eye lift patients let us ‘see’ their reasons, their results, their reflections

“In your eyes” isn’t just a song—it’s the place where aging happens first, and it happens fast. Years go by, and you start to notice a few tell-tale signs: crinkles at the corners; dark shadows that make you look tired; a droopy lid and shrinking shape.

“Most women pay little attention to their eyes until they’re 40. A woman will look in the mirror and can’t quite put her finger on why she looks older than she feels and…frequently, it’s her eyes,” says Joe Niamtu, DMD, a facial cosmetic surgeon in Richmond, Va.

So it’s no surprise that blepharoplasty or “bleph” (the surgery that lifts the protruding skin on upper lids and removes the bags on the lower ones) ranks as one of the top cosmetic surgeries among women. And it also happens to be a procedure where the patients are more than satisfied with the results. “People look at eyes more than any other part of their body,” says Jack Zamora, MD, an oculofacial cosmetic surgeon in Denver, Colo. “Enhancing them makes a tremendous difference to your appearance.”

What’s more, the surgical approach is not the same as it was 20 years ago. Depending on the situation and the doctor, surgery may only require local anesthesia and be completed while you’re awake.

“Eyelid surgery has become much more common in the last 10 years. It’s not as invasive as it used to be, and if the doctor keeps it natural, there’s no telltale look of surgery afterwards,” says Darab Hormozi, MD, an oculofacial cosmetic surgeon in Towson, MD. Ask someone who’s had a bleph (that is, if she’s willing to ‘fess up’) and you’ll find what we did when we interviewed three satisfied patients—that this was the best thing she ever did for herself. Here are their stories:

Robyn Fischer had good reason why she wanted bleph surgery. “I felt I was looking tired, and it was important to do this before my eyes got awful,” she says. Her skin was starting to droop on the outer corners and her eyes appeared smaller. But she feared that her eyes would look different.

“I didn’t want that big surprised look where people know you had work done.” After asking around, she scheduled a consult with Dr. Hormozi, who was recommended to her by several friends for doing a natural look that didn’t change the eye shape. At her first appointment, Dr. Hormozi didn’t think surgery was necessary—yet. He sent her home with a few shots of Botox, and told her to wait a year. She did, and by that time, Robyn was ready and promptly scheduled her surgery for both the upper and lower eyelids.

On the day of surgery, Robyn was slightly nervous, but felt entirely at ease the moment Dr. Hormozi walked her through the procedure. “My muscles were frozen and it felt like pulling, but I wasn’t in pain. He would explain where he was cutting and before I knew it, it was over and I was holding ice compresses on my eyes,” she says. She went home, and the next day or two after she had major swelling. Yet her recovery was not as bad as she had expected, and she was back into her routine after a week.

Once the stitches were out, Robyn was pleased with the results. “I could see a difference. My eyes looked bigger and despite the bruising, I looked refreshed,” she says. Each month, her eyes improved. Now, she’s very pleased that she had it done.

“I look like me, with the same eye shape, just relaxed and not tired. The excess skin is gone, and it’s smoother and softer looking. Everyone tells me how fabulous I look,” she says. “I’m glad I went for it.”

Six months ago, the skin on Lisa Sarkissian’s eyelids had gotten so heavy it was coming down over her eyelashes. “I just looked so tired and it was interfering with my vision,” she says. Lisa had known Dr. Zamora through work, and scheduled a consult to get his opinion. He measured the skin on her eyelids and told her she was a candidate for upper bleph surgery.

“He did off er up other nonsurgical options, but he said there was so much extra skin that they wouldn’t work as well or last as long.” For her lower lids, Dr. Zamora recommended laser therapy to tighten up a few wrinkles. She had recently talked to a friend who had been to Dr. Zamora for a bleph and was pleased with her results, so Lisa made the decision right then and there to do it.

The day of surgery, Lisa was slightly nervous, but that went away as Dr. Zamora explained the whole procedure. Th e most uncomfortable part was the numbing injection, and Lisa was surprised that she was done in an hour. “Immediately after the surgery, I was so excited I could see again without that excess skin hanging down.” Lisa went home with tiny stitches in the creases of her eyes and some slight swelling, though no bruises. A week later, the stitches were gone and she was thrilled. “I looked amazing. You could finally see my eyelashes again, and the wrinkles on my upper lids were smoothed out.”

Today, Lisa is amazed about what a huge difference she sees when she looks in the mirror. “I look a good five to ten years younger. When I see pictures from Halloween, my eyes were so bad; it’s embarrassing. They look phenomenal now.” She’s also getting compliment from neighbors and her girlfriends. “I told them what I did, how the process was easy, and now they want to do it, too.”

She still sees Dr. Zamora for laser sessions, and if the time ever comes where she needs a lower bleph, she’s ready. “I’d do it in a heartbeat again if I needed too. I’m just so happy with how it all turned out.”

Karol weighed her options and went with Dr. Niamtu. She chose him based on recommendations, his reputation and the experience she had during the consult. “He laid it all out for me. We talked about an eye lift and non-surgical options and what the results would be. He recommended bleph surgery, but he wanted me to make the decision and not feel pressured,” she says. A month later, Karol scheduled a bleph for both the upper and lower eyelids.

Dr. Niamtu performed the surgery, taking out the excess skin and fat pockets, and then passed a laser on the lower lids to smooth and tighten the loose skin. Th ree hours after the procedure, Karol had minor pain (she took Tylenol to alleviate it), and went home with red, swollen eyes that were noticeably bigger, like the ones of her youth.

Karol was back at work after a week of resting with concealer covering up the redness. It took three weeks for her eyes to look beautiful, she says, and it’s been a string of compliments ever since.

“About a month after, someone stopped me at work and told me I looked wonderful. People have been telling me that I look younger. The woman at Sephora couldn’t even see my upper eyelid scar and wanted to know who my doctor was,” she adds.

Her vision has improved as well. But what’s had the most impact is that the naturally younger look has reinvigorated Karol in a way she could have never imagined. “It’s amazing for your spirit,” she says. “I got an eye lift and a lift on life, too.”