Erase ‘Tired’ Eyelids With Blepharoplasty

Skilled oculofacial surgeon addresses young parents’ cosmetic concerns.

Megan and Danny, with their children Gabriella and Sofia at the shore

Megan and Danny, with their children Gabriella and Sofia

By her third year in college, Megan Cirillo had grown tired of “giving her life to the pool,” so she quietly closed out her competitive swimming career. It was right about then that Megan gave her life right back to the pool, but in a different way.

“I swam competitively all throughout high school and during my first year of college at Indian River State College,” reveals Megan, 34. “I was a distance swimmer; I swam the 200-meter butterfly and the 500-meter freestyle. I also taught swim lessons.

“I was giving lessons while going to college to become a teacher. That business grew to where I was making more money doing that than I would have made as a teacher — with more flexible hours. So, I stuck with it, and it’s proved to be a perfect fit.”

Perfect because Megan eventually married and is now the mother of two children, ages 2 and 1. The job allows her to be a stay-at-home mom while keeping a close eye on the business.

Unfortunately, keeping an eye on anything was once a problem for Megan, who for years suffered from a “heaviness” in her eyelids that sometimes became so great that it affected her ability to see clearly.

“I always felt like I had this extra weight on my eyes, especially my right eye,” Megan explains. “That eye always seemed a little smaller than my left eye because the eyelid hung down so low over it, and I hated the way that looked.

“I hated the way it made me feel, too, because it actually made me feel tired. I also have a tendency to get migraine headaches, and when I got a migraine, my eyes would get so heavy that I had a hard time seeing upward. Part of my visual field was cut off.

“Another problem I had was with eye makeup. My eyeliner would always run because the skin underneath my brow would always push it down, and it was a mess. I hated the way that heaviness in my eyelids made me feel and the way it made me look.”

Megan didn’t think there was much she could do to resolve those issues, but a friend told her the problem could be corrected surgically and she knew of a doctor in the area who specializes in the procedure.

Need a Lift?

The doctor is Alexander D. Blandford, MD, of the Center for Advanced Eye Care. He is a board-certified oculofacial
plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery around the eyes and face.

His specialties include eyelid lift (upper eyelid), under eye bag removal (lower eyelid), brow lift, cosmetic laser procedures, BOTOX® Cosmetic, dermal filler injections, orbital surgery, tear-drainage system surgery, and skin cancer removal and reconstruction.

“Megan came to us last year expressing concern about her appearance and saying her eyelids felt heavy and made her look tired,” Dr. Blandford explains. “She wanted to know if there was something we could do for her that didn’t require a lot of downtime afterward.”

The fix Dr. Blandford suggested is called an upper blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift. It’s a procedure designed to lift the lid by removing excess skin and/or fatty tissue from it, and while it is often performed on people older than 40, that is not exclusively the case.

“It’s not uncommon for younger people to have this surgery,” Dr. Blandford explains. “One reason is that some have a genetic predisposition for certain changes in the structure around the eye.

“That was the case with Megan, who had a hereditary full upper eyelid/brow. While performing her upper blepharoplasty, we created more of an eyelid platform by reducing the skin on her lashes and sculpting deeper tissues to help open up her eyes more.”

Dr. Blandford performed the upper blepharoplasty on Megan while she was under “gentle intravenous sedation,” which means she was awake but relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. The procedure took less than an hour to complete, and Megan was thrilled with the results.

“After the surgery, I could not get over how much lighter my eyes felt,” Megan raves. “I looked so much better. I was so pleased with Dr. Blandford and the way it all came out that I asked Dr. Blandford if he thought he could do anything for my husband.”

Megan’s husband, Danny Greco, dealt with his own cosmetic issue, the result of unsightly bags beneath the eyes. The fatty bags were so heavy they made Danny look old beyond his years.

“They made him look like he was in his 70s, and he’s only in his 30s,” Megan says. “He told me time and again that it didn’t really bother him that much, but it bothered me because it made him look so tired, so I suggested he see Dr. Blandford.”

Danny soon learned Dr. Blandford also had a fix for him: a lower blepharoplasty that transferred some of the fat from the bags beneath Danny’s eyes to his cheeks.

Two in One

Megan and Danny in their car

Megan and Danny

The procedure is performed through an “invisible incision” on the inside of the lower eyelid to access prolapsed fat that creates the bag. Instead of removing all of the fat, which would result in hollowing the under-eye area, the fat is repositioned to smooth the transition from the eyelid to the cheek.

“The fat pads in the lower eyelid are dissected out but left connected to their blood supply. They are then repositioned into a pocket that is made along the face of the cheekbone,” Dr. Blandford shares.

“By doing that, the tissue becomes a biologic filler for the volume loss in the eyelid-cheek junction called the tear trough.

The procedure gets rid of the bags by releasing some of the ligaments, and it fills the hollow area underneath the eye at the same time to help improve the dark circle at the same time as treating the bag.

“The process is called lower blepharoplasty with fat repositioning, and it’s far more rejuvenating than just removing fat. The patient is actually getting two treatments done at the same time, and it can be done without any cuts on the skin.”

Because of the nature of the procedure, Danny was placed under deeper sedation than Megan to ensure his comfort. His surgery took a little longer, about 90 minutes, but the results were the same: exceptional.

“Before I had the surgery, I actually had people say to me, Man, you look terrible,” Danny relates. “I have pretty thick skin, but those comments were starting to bother me a bit, so even though I was a little nervous about it, I was excited to have the surgery.

“I think the difference the surgery made in me is even greater than the difference it made in Megan.” – Danny

“And what a difference it’s made. I think the difference the surgery made in me is even greater than the difference it made in Megan. And now I get compliments all the time from people who can’t believe the difference it made in my appearance.”

Dr. Blandford’s exceptional skill as a surgeon is only one of the reasons for the vast improvement in Megan’s and Danny’s appearances. Another is the doctor’s ability to detail the procedures to patients and put them at ease regarding the results and recovery time.

“Danny was very nervous about his surgery,” Megan recalls, “but Dr. Blandford did such a thorough job explaining the procedure and everything about it that by the time he was done with his explanation, Danny was saying, OK, let’s do this.

“And as for me, I wasn’t afraid to get anything done because Dr. Blandford is such a perfectionist. I knew it was going to turn out really well. And I want to add that Dr. Blandford is exceptionally kind and considerate of his patients’ feelings.

“There were a couple of times after the procedure when we texted him with questions, and he responded right away every time. He really could not have been better. In fact, the whole staff at Center for Advanced Eye Care was great.

“Danny and I both recommend them very highly. In fact, we have recommended a few people to him, people like me and Danny, who never thought to have this kind of surgery at such a young age. And just like us, they’re very happy with the results.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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