Look At Her Now

Upper, lower eyelid surgeries restore youthful appearance, improve vision.

Despite a year of uncertainty created by COVID-19, Florida Realtors® reports that home sales were quite strong in 2020. Anne Warner was among the real estate agents to benefit in what was otherwise a tough economy amid pandemic-fueled lockdowns.
Industry experts expect another robust 2021.

Headshot of Anne Warner

Anne Warner

“It’s been crazy busy,” relates Anne, 49, who lives in Stuart. “It’s a seller’s market right now in Indian River and Martin counties; we have people coming down from New York, New Jersey and Long Island and up from Miami looking for homes.
“That’s because this is an amazing place to live. The homes aren’t necessarily cheaper here, but there’s a reason they call this area the Treasure Coast. It’s like living in paradise.”

Anne found paradise in 1996 after she and her husband, a recreational tennis director, moved to the area from Minnesota. Years later, after moving from Vero Beach to Stuart, Anne began to experience difficulties stemming from a cosmetic issue.

“I’m half-Asian, and in people like me, as you get older, your upper eyelids naturally begin to hang down over your eyes a bit,” Anne shares. “I was beginning to experience that, and the bags underneath my eyes were starting to get puffy as well.”

Anne first noticed the problem about eight years ago and thought it might be related to a thyroid issue she had experienced. But the condition never improved. In fact, it only got worse.

“About a year ago, it got so bad that I started to have trouble seeing while I was driving,” Anne describes. “My upper eyelids were drooping down so much that it was limiting my vision, and as a Realtor®, I’m in my car a lot. The puffy bags under my eyes were getting really bad and made me look tired all the time. I was actually using Preparation H on them, but there wasn’t enough Preparation H in the world to get rid of these bags.

“It was a real problem because I don’t want to scare people and make them feel uncomfortable. And I don’t want to feel uncomfortable myself whenever I meet someone and talk with them. More importantly, I need to be able to see well in order to drive.”
That’s when she finally “got so sick of it all” and began researching to find a doctor who could treat her ailment.

“For quite a while I couldn’t find the right person,” Anne says. “Then I found Dr. Blandford.”

Variation on a Theme

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

Dr. Blandford’s surgical specialties include eyelid lift (upper eyelid), under eye bag removal (lower eyelid) and brow lift procedures. He also performs cosmetic laser procedures, BOTOX® Cosmetic and dermal filler injections, skin cancer removal/reconstruction, orbital surgery and tear drainage system surgery.

“I knew about the Center for Advanced Eye Care because I went there years ago to see about getting LASIK surgery,” Anne informs. “I did some research on Dr. Blandford and felt I would be in good hands with him.”

Dr. Blandford first saw Anne about a year ago. During his initial examination, he confirmed that her vision — particularly her peripheral vision — was obstructed by drooping upper eyelids. He also heard her complaint about the puffiness of the area beneath her eyes.

“Anne’s displeasure with her under-eye bags is a common cosmetic concern of my patients,” Dr. Blandford says. “Whether she had a full, good night’s sleep or not, she always felt that she looked tired because of the puffy bags beneath her eyes.”

This can happen for a couple of reasons.

“One is genetics, where you simply have a predisposition to have a more prominent puffiness underneath the eyes,” the doctor says. “I know people in their 20s and 30s who have that problem, so it’s not something that only happens to people as they age.

“Certain medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction can also increase the fat around the eyes. But the most common cause is time and gravity as our cheek descends and fat from around the eye protrudes forward to cause the bag and a hollow or dark circle to form below the bag.”

To correct Anne’s problems, Dr. Blandford concluded that she needed two procedures on each eye. The first is an upper blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift, which is designed to lift the lid by removing excess skin and/or fatty tissue from it.

The second is a lower blepharoplasty to address the under-eye bag. In Anne’s case, Dr. Blandford performed a variation of that surgery, transferring some of the fat from the lower eyelid to the cheeks, simultaneously removing the bag while filling the hollow or dark circle.

The lower eyelid procedure is performed through an invisible incision made on the inside of the lower eyelid. From there, the doctor creates a pocket along the inner corner of the cheekbone, where the fat is repositioned.

“Two of the three fat pads in the lower eyelid, the medial and central fat pads, are dissected out but still connected to their blood supply and then repositioned into the pocket that is made along the face of the cheekbone,” Dr. Blandford shares.

“By doing that, the tissue becomes a biologic filler for the cheeks. 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.

“The process is called lower blepharoplasty with fat repositioning, and it’s far more rejuvenating than just removing fat.

In many patients, over aggressive fat removal can result in a hollow or sunken under-eye area. You’re actually getting two treatments at the same time with this, and it’s all done without any cuts on the skin.

“If the patient has excess skin, a very small incision below the lash line can conservatively remove skin or, if texture is the main issue, then laser resurfacing may be performed at the same time.”

Exceptional Outcome

Upper eyelid procedures are often done while the patient is under intravenous sedation, which allows them to remain awake but relaxed. Because of the nature of her lower lid surgery, Anne had deeper sedation to ensure her comfort.

The surgeries were completed in one appointment, with Dr. Blandford devoting about 45 minutes to the upper eyelids and 60-90 minutes to the lower eyelids.

The results, Anne raves, are exceptional.

“I absolutely love what Dr. Blandford did for me,” Anne delights. “I’m so happy with the outcome that I posted Dr. Blandford on Instagram. And since then I have recommended several of my friends and clients to him.

“Dr. Blandford is an outstanding surgeon. He’s also super funny, very friendly and down to earth. He’s a good person at heart, and I can say the same thing about his staff. After my surgery, they called me and checked up on me continuously.

“I knew that would be the case. Like I said, I knew about the Center for Advanced Eye Care, and I know that it’s an amazing place. That’s why I didn’t mind traveling an hour to see Dr. Blandford or to have these surgeries done because they’re tremendous.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo courtesy of Anne Warner. Surgery photo courtesy of The Mayo Clinic.mkb
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