Tired of Looking Tired?

Modern surgical techniques correct droopy eyelids and brows to improve vision.

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Just ask Sandra Keith. Six years ago, at age 67 and in the wake of a 31-year career in the life insurance industry, Sandra started renovating and selling homes with her husband.

Now 73, Sandra was recently involved in a different kind of remodeling project – looking and seeing better.

“It all started a couple of years ago after my husband and I bought another boat,” Sandra relates. “I realized I wasn’t seeing all that well. It was mostly my peripheral vision that was impaired. I wasn’t seeing as well out to the side. Thankfully, I have a new car that alerts me when someone is coming up on the side because I couldn’t see them. That’s how bad it was.”

Concerned, Sandra visited her eye doctor for a checkup this past May. Much to her surprise, Sandra was told her vision was fine. The problem, she learned, was with her upper eyelids. They had become droopy and bulky.

As people age, the muscles in their eyelids tend to weaken. That causes the eyelids and sometimes the eyebrows to sag. In addition to leaving someone looking very tired, drooping eyelids and brows can also impair vision. That’s what Sandra was experiencing.

After her exam, her eye doctor suggested she set up an appointment with Brandon C. Clair, MD, at The Eye Institute of West Florida.

Functional and Aesthetic

Dr. Clair first examined Sandra in October. During her initial visit, he took pictures of her eyes while she was in a relaxed state. As Dr. Clair explains, the pictures allow the patient and doctor to see the extent of the problem.

“We take those pictures with the patient in a relaxed state because the first thing a person starts to do when their eyelids are drooping is raise their eyebrows to compensate for their lack of vision,” Dr. Clair informs.

“That’s why you sometimes see older folks walking around with a surprised look on their face. It’s because their lids are drooping, and they don’t notice it. So, they lift their eyebrows way up to see better.

“The next thing we do is check their peripheral vision with a special test. We first do that while the patient is relaxed and then again with the lids lifted to see if that improves their vision. In Sandra’s case, her vision improved significantly.”

“I absolutely made the right choice selecting The Eye Institute of West Florida.” – Sandra

Dr. Clair’s examination revealed that Sandra’s eyelids and eyebrows were both drooping and affecting her vision. Luckily, insurance and Medicare can cover eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) when it begins to impair vision.

Dr. Clair determined Sandra was a great candidate for a new, modern variation of eyelid surgery he developed while working with a team of doctors in Texas a few years ago.

During this procedure, the blepharoplasty and the brow repair are done in combination, Dr. Clair explains.

“You start by performing the blepharoplasty, where you remove the excess eyelid tissue,” he educates. “Then you raise the eyebrow through the same incision. The advantage is that everything is done through one incision that’s hidden in the lid crease, which is a great place to hide a scar because you already have a line there. Once everything heals, no one can tell you had a procedure done, and you see and look much better.”

In addition to excess skin, Dr. Clair also removed a small part of one of the muscles that depresses the lateral part of the brow. By anchoring that muscle to hard tissue, he gave Sandra’s brows a soft elevation that provides a natural aesthetic result and prevents the brows from sagging further in the future.

A New Outlook

“The surgery went exactly as described, and my vision is amazing,” Sandra exclaims. “I didn’t swell up hardly at all, and I was seeing much better right away. I did fill the prescription that I was given for pain, but I never felt a need to take any of the pills.

I was good just taking ibuprofen for a couple of days.”

Sandra also appreciates the safeguards implemented by Dr. Clair and the staff amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I felt very safe even though I had all this done during the height of the COVID crisis,” she expresses. “The Eye Institute of West Florida has taken a lot of precautions to ensure everyone is safe, including temperature checks, frequent sanitation, and socially distanced waiting rooms.

“I absolutely made the right choice selecting The Eye Institute of West Florida. Dr. Clair has an excellent bedside manner and does a great job explaining everything. And his staff is extremely nice and helpful. The most important thing, I’m seeing much better so I am thrilled with the results.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. After photo by Jordan Pysz. Before and facility photo courtesy of The Eye Institute of West Florida. js
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    • The Eye Institute of West Florida

      The Eye Institute of West Florida was founded by Stephen Weinstock, MD, in 1974. For more than forty years, the practice has provided excellence in eye care in a warm, personal environment combined with a tradition of service and devotion to th... Read More

    • Brandon C. Clair, MD

      Brandon C. Clair, MD, is an ophthalmologist specializing in oculoplastic, orbital and reconstructive surgery. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, and completed medical school at the State University of New Yo... Read More

    • Stacia H. Goldey, MD, FACS

      Stacia H. Goldey, MD, FACS, is board-certified in ophthalmology and a member of the prestigious American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Ophthalmology and Americ... Read More