Sunken Right Eye After Lower Transconjunctival Blepharoplasty - Northern California

I am in my mid thirties and my lower eye bags had...

I am in my mid thirties and my lower eye bags had become more pronounced in the last couple of years. I consulted with a few doctors in my area to fix the problem. One doctor suggested fillers, but I didn't want to do the costly and frequent upkeep. The doctor I chose for my surgery recommended lower transconjunctival blepharoplasty. This seemed like a good option to me because the results would be lasting. This doctor is well regarded and I felt comfortable with his advice. I also viewed before and after photos. During my consultation he explained that hollow, sunken eyes could be a complication of overcorrection.

I thought he would avoid aggressive fat removal since he seemed to understand the problem of overcorrection. However, at 3 weeks post-op my results are really uneven. With the proper overhead lighting my eyes look ok. But with dim lighting or lighting from the side (such as a lamp next to the sofa) my right eye looks horrible. It appears he was too aggressive and a large crater has formed in the right eye corner (left in photos). When I smile there is a black shadow around my eye. My left eye still looks ok. I'm very upset about my results. I am already researching ways to correct the corner of my right eye.

At 3 weeks post op it is so sunken in. I'm afraid it could sink even more over the next few weeks. I'm hoping the left eye doesn't sink in as well. My doc is out of town right now and I won't have another follow up for a few weeks. I'm hoping the eye crater can be temporarily treated with filler while I find a more lasting treatment. I'm feeling discouraged because fat grafting seems to get mixed results and I'm not even sure if it can be used in the outer eye corners. At this point I'm just praying that my eyes can be fixed and that this surgery wasn't the biggest mistake of my life. Has anyone had filler or successful fat grafting in the outer eye corners?

In the last few days my right eye has sunken even...

In the last few days my right eye has sunken even more. It literally looks like a bloodhound eye.

I am so depressed about this surgery. I don't recommend this surgery to anyone.

Well, at 5.5 weeks post op, things are only...

Well, at 5.5 weeks post op, things are only getting worse. I have already set up 5 consultations - 3 with oculoplastic surgeons and 2 with other board certified surgeons. I just want to get well rounded opinions.

The asymmetry between the right and left eyes is painfully obvious. The right eye (left in pictures) is still sunken worse than the left.

Emotionally, the pain I feel is beyond words. I had to seek emergency mental health care. I now take anti-anxiety medication daily. I actually wouldn't mind getting a drug addiction out of this ordeal - at least it would give me something else to focus on :(

Here is my advice to any prospective eye surgery patients:

1. The average cost of this surgery is between 4 and 5k. Instead of using that money on surgery, use it on therapy. Work with someone who will help ease you through the aging process.

2. Please be warned - it is much easier to live with God given flaws than flaws you inflicted upon yourself with a ridiculous surgery. It is so much easier to say, "God, why do I have these puffy eyes?" than to say, "I hate myself for this stupid decision that has destroyed my looks".

3. If you do opt for surgery, don't do it in secret. I had some downtime and thought I would get a "little work done" and no one would ever know. They would just think I looked refreshed after my downtime. It is much less embarrassing to tell friends and family beforehand, "Hey, I'm thinking of getting some work done" than to tell them after the fact, "My face has been maimed because I had a stupid and unnecessary cosmetic procedure". If you discuss it beforehand, they will probably reassure you that you look fine. We tend to exaggerate our own flaws and sometimes the negative perception is all in our heads.

4. It is much easier to use concealer on dark circles under puffy eyes than it is to use concealer on sunken eyes.

I have posted new pictures showing where I'm at 5.5 weeks after surgery. Each second of each day I wish I could wake up from this nightmare. I pray for each of you who is suffering this pain as well.

I forgot to add number 5 to the list above. 5...

I forgot to add number 5 to the list above.

5. Eyelid surgery will not give you back your former non-puffy eyes. All it will do is change the look of your eyes. Best case scenario, the new look will be well suited to your face and you will be pleased with the result. Worst case scenario, the new look will NOT be well suited to your face and you will have a lifetime of regret. You will also end up spending 100x more money on consultations for revision, lifetime filler treatment and/or expensive revision surgery, therapy costs, and co-pays for anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication.
Name not provided

Doctor is well regarded and was very attentive during consultation, before/after surgery and at one week follow up. I hope he can suggest ways to correct my eyes at my next follow up. I wrote the above comments while I was still trying to have some regard for my doctor. Now I think he is a quack who destroyed my eyes.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
3 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 2 others found this helpful

Comments (35)

Sort by

Hi, I just wanted you to know that I have been thinking about you.
  • Reply
Jessie, May I ask who your surgeon was? I am in Northern California and considering eyelid surgery with Dr. Peter Levin, an opthalmologist in Mountain View. Does anyone know anything about him or can recommend another Dr. in my area?
  • Reply
Hi barbara, I sent you a personal message. Best, JessieR
  • Reply
Hi Barbara, How's your results with Dr. Peter Levin? I am considering him too. Thx, helen
  • Reply
I've yet to use Dr. Peter Levin. I hope someone else has used him and can chime in.
  • Reply
Jessie, your 5 suggestions are so true. Had lower bleph done feb 9th. Left eyelid retracts from eyeball, lid is pulled down by scar tissue, so I'm told. I had second surgery on left eye to lyse scar tissue. PS said it would just pop up, it didn't. Massaged from day one, no help. Now my eyes are blood red,'s one thing after another. Got 2nd opinion from ocular PS, he wants to operate by cutting scar tissue away from eye and insert cartilage from my ear as a spacer. Sounds like another can of worms....This has been a nightmare and the biggest mistake of my life.
  • Reply
Dear Wish I'd Known Better,

Wow, what can I say except I completely understand. I haven't updated my story in awhile because I am so emotionally drained from this nightmare. There has been no improvement to my eyes the last couple months. They look terrible. My heart is broken.

These plastic surgeons have a lot to answer for. Some of them must be serious psychopaths to hurt people over and over and still sleep at night. I mean it. They hurt good people, ruin lives, and then they just keep stacking up the bodies. No different than serial killers. I just pray we can find good ones to help us.

Please keep in touch. I have found some great support through this website and it is really helping through this tough time.

Also, please proceed with caution on the next revision. Maybe even see a few ocular PSs for third and fourth opinions. As you said, it sounds like another can of worms and we need to be very cautious so that we don't get in even deeper.

Bless you,
  • Reply
I had the same problem with my lower lids. Put in the skin grafts from behind my ears, but it still didn't help. Just wanted to let you know.

I have been living with it for years. It is painful and I also have red eyes, most of the time. When working on the computer, I tape my eyes up so that they aren't away from my eyes. It helps.

It was the worse decision of my life. Thought I would looked refreshed, not a disfigured person. And to top it off, I paid to have it done to me.

These PS's should be honest and let you know that you will look entirely different.

Good luck.

I wish I knew the solution to this bad surgery, but I haven't found one yet.
  • Reply
L46, thanks so much for the info, I am not going to do the skin graft thing. Since I last posted, my PS referred me to an ophthalmologist who specializes in cosmetic eyelid surgery. (I think it's the doc that fixes his mistakes) He has diagnosed me with mild thyroid eye disease, which actually is a good thing, since now my insurance will cover treatment. My thyroid is all out of whack right now, so seems possible. He also said I have chronic dry eyes, which I never had before the surgery. I had a thorough examination of my eyes and lids. I am using otc Systane Balance drops to relieve the red dry eyes and it has helped a lot. He prescribed steroid ointment to rub on my eyelid. (Bausch & Lomb Neomysin and Polymyxin B Sulfates and Dexamethasone Opthalmic Ointment $17.50) Swelling has gone down and it actually looks like lid is not sticking out as far. He also told me to stop massaging and just use my finger horizontally at the bottom of lid, tip of finger should touch my nose and pull up for 5 minutes. Repeat 6 times/day. It has been 4 days since my first visit and I already see improvement, so I am cautiously optimistic. He said it's no easy fix, it will take months and didn't think additional surgery was needed. I see him again in one month. The best thing is that I may never have to see my PS again and I really like the fact that my new doctor is an opthamologist concerned about my eye health as well as my eyelids. I hope I can post more good news and maybe something that will help you and others. This site has been so helpful emotionally. Thank you all!
  • Reply
Dear Wish I Had Known Better,

Thanks for the information regarding the eye drops. Will try them.

What is the name of your new opthamologist? Sounds like he is helping you. Glad that you are not doing the graphs.

Thes PS's should give more information about what could go wrong, because when it does, your life will go into a tailspin. It's so depressing looking in the mirror and not recognizing yourself besides the eye pain associated with dry eyes. It is such a travesty.
  • Reply
The opthamologist is Dr. John Y Koh in Bloomfield, Michigan. There isn't a lot of info on him website that I have found. His brochure states that he specializes in: Cosmetic and reconstructive eyelid surgery, tearing disorders, eyelid problems, cancers of the eyelid, orbital disorders and thyroid eye disease. He spent quite a bit of time with me, asked a lot of medical history questions, did an ultra-sound of my eye, special drops, took lots of measurements, photos, etc. My next appointment he is going to dilate my eyes (not sure why) so I have to have a driver. I plan to get more details on his plan of action at my next visit. Speaks clear English, no accent and has a nice office and very pleasant staff. Hopin' and prayin' that he will be able to fix me. I will keep you posted.
  • Reply
Do not be stressed out about the reuslt, i am sure it can be fixed. My whole face was broken after an assault , my orbital eyes socket bone was broken and i was so unhappy , i wanted to die. After that my father took me to one of the best microsurgent in my country and now i look normal after a complicated Operation.. My point is everythign can be corrected. Today's technology is able to solve any problem so you do not have to feel bad.
  • Reply
Dear Wish I'd Known Better

Thanks for the name of your opthamologist. I sure hope he can help you.

I too have a thyroid problem - underactive. I found out about it after I had the surgury. I don't know if that had anything to do with it.

I have been doing the eye lifts so maybe it will help mine stay in place. It is so painful when the eyelids are pulled down away from the eye. It is like torture.

Take care and good luck.
  • Reply
Just type my name in the story .... everything else is exactly the same...can't begin to articulate the pain...I have been through hell and so has my daughter, for the last 18 years. This was unthinkable what has now happened because of the lower lid bleph...nightmare on steroids....crying day and night, can't work. doctor refused to see me and my surgery will be a year ago in May...he stopped seeing me in August of 2011, because i wasn;t happy with the results of the procedure i initally went to see him about, and he suggested lower lid bleph. for really profound bags that suddenly developed almost overnight early last year. I did not even have the consult about that, and next thing i know, i just "signed off" on it, with the other procedure...long story short, after my post op visits, and even during the recovery period, he began to get very defensive and then, i am sure he started to see a "slight" issue especially with my left eye, and began to tell me i had "body dysmorphic disorder"....would no longer see i have been left hanging out to dry with this nightmare and digging deep for forgiveness and praying to my Father God for help and deliverance and restoration....God bless
  • Reply
Dear Hollyhelpme,

I'm sorry I didn't respond to you sooner. My heart goes out to you. It is so traumatic to see these changes in our faces. People who haven't experienced this just don't know how painful it is. Even so called "minor" changes can completely alter the character of our faces. It is unbelievable to me that plastic surgeons are not required to disclose the potential mental and emotional consequences that can result from these surgeries.

I had a follow up with my doc the beginning of April. He was defensive. He saw exactly what I was talking about but put on this very fake "confused" expression and said "Huh, I just don't see it." Yeah right. I think these guys must take an acting class during their plastic surgery training. "Acting 101 for Plastic Surgeons: How to fake a confused reaction when your patient points out your shitty work."

Please reach out when you need support. I'm still in therapy to help me cope with this surgery. It is a difficult journey and I still don't know what the outcome will be.

You are in my prayers.

  • Reply
Hi lattebud,

Yep, this is a living hell. I hate to hear that you went through it too. I had my first therapy session today. I meet with a psychiatrist on Wed to refill my meds. This really has destroyed me mentally and emotionally. Thank god for Xanax.

I posted a comment yesterday on the thread “Hate my Hollowed Eyes After Blepharoplasty - New York” where I express my anger at the inadequacy of the consultation that my doctor gave me. It's a pretty good rant and felt good to write. This whole thing has been a nightmare.

You are exactly right when you say it is like someone pressing down with an eraser pencil. I can actually hold the end of a q-tip in the hollow. It's that bad.

I have my first consultation with an oculoplastic surgeon on April 10. Supposedly he is one of the top revision docs. He's down in LA. I have two other consultations scheduled with two other supposed "top revision docs". I cancelled the consultations with the other doctors and am ONLY going to oculoplastic surgeons. I'm hoping they can improve my eyes with some filler or something. If not, I may take a long walk off of a short pier.

It just haunts me every minute of the day that I did this. Oh, and I don't even get relief when I go to sleep. I DREAM about it almost every night. The regret is with me 24 hours a day.

You're right, the puffiness was mostly water retention. Now I have "ghoul eyes". The thing is, you can put concealer under puffy eyes, but there isn't a damn thing you can do for hollowness.

Thank you for commenting. I have posted on a few other threads that I feel there should be a recovery program for plastic surgery regret, maybe a 12 step program. We need more ways to connect with each other, not only for support, but for a path out of the deep despair of regret.

Please keep in touch! Even send me a personal message if you want to. I would love to hear more about your situation. Have you have been able to improve your eyes? How have you been coping emotionally? Hope to hear from you soon.

All the best - Jessie
  • Reply
Hey Jesse I know exactly how you feel. I could've written your situation verbatim. Your pics are the same as mine. I had mine in 12/08. Were pretty close in age too. About the time you notice stuff like this too. My puffiness was the same as yours and the following hollowing was about the same too. Kind of puffy in the morning but usually gone by afternoon. Allot of what you saw was just fluid retention from things like high sodium, etc.

Anyways, looking at your pics it’s apparent that the doctor took out too much fat. You’re not an extreme case but you have hollowing all the same. Based on your before pics you should’ve never had fat removal in the first place or at the very least a VERY conservative amount removed.

I too thought of the filler solution before. Even had it scheduled. Just couldn’t get over the hurdle of adding something to reduce something philosophy. Well, now I know it comes from the natural volume loss we experience in the mid facial area. Not allot but just enough to make the eye fat more visible at times. Adding filler would actually be restoring your face.

When too much fat is removed it’s always noticed in the outer corners. Like someone pressing down with an eraser pencil. Pretty universal stuff.

“I was NOT prepared for the psychological impact of permanent changes to my appearance “Yeah, it’s pretty amazing isn’t it. You just don’t realize how bad it is till it happens. Not something you can even explain to someone. Although, your experience feels unique to you it’s very standard I hate to say.
  • Reply
Thank you for your comment, Honestly. I appreciate your willingness to respond.

In retrospect, I have been having a "mid-thirties" crisis over the past year or so - like an early version of a mid-life crisis. Or, an actual mid-life crisis if I only live into my sixties ;) In 2011 I was planning some major life changes - leaving my very stressful although "good" job, giving up my nice apartment and moving out of a major metropolitan area in search of a slower pace of life. I was 95% certain these were changes I wanted to make, but with any major decisions, there was some doubt. I was also leaving a relationship with a guy I really cared about. All in all, 2011 was a really stressful year.

It was under these stressful circumstances that I began to feel self-conscience about my eyes. In hindsight, I was not in a good place to make any permanent decisions about my face. In all honesty, my "before" pictures were taken on mornings when my eyes looked really bad, before showering, and without any concealer. They weren't always that bad and the puffiness would generally subside throughout the day. Nevertheless, I was still very self-conscience about it.

I was really on the fence about having surgery. On one hand I said "Don't be crazy! The puffiness is probably stress related and will go away naturally when my life slows down." On the other hand I said "If the puffiness will be a chronic problem, the downtime between leaving my job and moving will probably be the best time to undergo a procedure."

Well, I pulled the trigger and had the surgery. And now I have a classic case of "buyer's remorse". It was the wrong thing to do in the middle of so many other life changes.

I was NOT prepared for the psychological impact of permanent changes to my appearance - even though the changes may be minor. The blow has been devastating. My mid-thirties crisis escalated into a full-blown nervous breakdown.

I'm glad you don't see a big change in my eyes. That is encouraging to me and I appreciate you saying it. I am starting therapy to help me get past the regret I feel. Although I don't look like a complete monster, I just regret that I had surgery at all. It was the wrong time in my life to do it, and with so many other changes, it would be comforting to see the old me in the mirror each day. I regret I didn't give myself a chance to improve the puffiness through a healthier, slower paced lifestyle. I jumped the gun by having surgery, and I can't go back.

My advice to everyone would be, DO NOT have plastic surgery in the midst of other big changes. If you are on the fence about it, even a little, then wait. Wait until your life is less stressful. DO NOT underestimate the psychological impact of even minor changes to your appearance, especially your face. Seek counseling before you do something permanent. Maybe you will find that your perceived "flaw" is being magnified in your mind by other stressful circumstances.

Thank you again for your feedback, it does help.

Best wishes - JessieR
  • Reply

I agree with Santa Rosa4223 - I HONESTLY don't see this horrible catastrophe you speak of. I wouldn't have taken the time to create an account and post if I did see a problem. One thing you wrote does ring true in plastic surgery - when you have something altered - you don't look QUITE like yourself anymore. You look like a slightly different version of yourself and I think the mind has a hard time integrating the new look of you at first as it has known only your previous look for however old you are.

I am going to be brutally honest with you - you need to STOP obsessing about your eye. You are wasting time, money and emotional pain on something that no one else can see or notices but you. At least live with the comforting knowledge that it is something that YOU notice - but I seriously doubt anyone else will. Especially if you have posters here who are telling you there is nothing that WE can see.

What I DO see is an improvement on how your under eyes look. Very slight but noticable.

You look good, girl! Enjoy it!
  • Reply
Wow are you a Dr?
  • Reply
Jessie, man i really just don't know how to go about this, im so torn on what to say to u...i mean the most important person that need to like this surgery is you but at the same time when i look at you i really don't see that its that bad of a problem and btw i noticed u posted new pics, thank u...even though when i still blow up the pics to see it better it gets blurry on me anywho, u should be happy with this and im so sorry that ur not, i have yet to have the surgery but i want it desperately, may i ask what town u did this surgery in? i see it was in northern cali...where i am.
  • Reply
Hi Santa Rosa,

I sent you a personal message with the city and the name of the doc. Did you get it?

  • Reply
hi Jessie, I'm so sorry i haven't written you back yet, i have just been threw a move and haven't been on my email in a while, and I'm sorry but i don't think i did get your message about who the surgeon was if u sent it to my email, if you could send it again i would really appreciate it. How are you doing since i checked in last?
  • Reply
OH, I had my ZOOM "on", so I turned it back to 100% and can see your lowers now. My lowers turned out OK> New Dr. said they were not a was the SHORT eye lids, that prevented my eyes from closing, and the swelling in my lids keeps the eyelids shorter than they should be. But my BAGS are gone..I had horrible, horrible "puffy bags" and dark , dark, sunken circles for years...even as a baby, child, teen...they were always there. Hereditary. Some people come out "so good", and then others can NOT see, have severe dry eyes, scars, uneven eyes, lids, wrongly distributed fat ...etc. etc.

Have u been to ANY other doctor yet for a consult of what went wrong, and what can be done now?
  • Reply
Dear Santa Rosa,
Thank you for your comment - every bit of feedback is comforting. The undereye puffiness is gone, but the outer corners of my eyes, the right eye especially, are really sunken in. On a spectrum of -10 to 0 to +10, I feel like my puffiness was at +5. I hoped surgery would put me back to 0. But the results are at -10. I am twice as sunken in as I ever was puffy. Now I long to have that puffiness back. My pre-op photos were from early in the morning to show the puffiness at its worst. The puffiness would subside a little throughout the day, but would never quite reach 0 on the spectrum. I was just hoping to tone it down a little, but instead I have eyes that I don't even recognize. I can't even describe my despair and regret.

My 2.5 week post op photo with the overhead light still had some swelling. My eyes still look better with direct overhead light. But in everyday situations as I move around and the light changes, the hollowness is very visible. It is especially bad in dim light. Unfortunately, my camera doesn't capture good images in dim light without the flash - and of course using the flash drowns out the hollows. I'll try to post better photos to show where my eyes are at now: 5 weeks post op.
  • Reply