Is 18 Years Old Too Young for Eyelid Surgery?

My baby sister is turning 18 in a week and for the past year, she has been saving her money for an upper eyelid surgery. Her upper eyes are and have always been slightly droopy and she constantly looks tired or mad (even when she is not). The skin hits her eyelashes, which sometimes causes a rash on the skin. She is very unhappy. I’m just a little worried and I want to know if 18 years old is too young to have upper eyelid surgery. Also, what are the complications for someone this young? Will it look worse as she ages or will this be good for her? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 19

Anatomy, Not Age, Determines Candidacy for Eyelid Surgery

Age is not the most important decision for a patient undergoing a blepharoplasty.  The Anatomy is more important.  If your sister's eyelids are giving her trouble, she may benefit from upper blepharoplasty, which will remove the excess skin. Blepharoplasty in a young patient should be conservative and retain the fat around the eye.  This can be done at any age at which it is needed. Because she's young with presumably excellent skin tone, she should respond well. I hope this helps.

Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Anatomy before age

Age is not the most important factor here.  The anatomical problem should decide which surgery is appropriate, if any. We frequently operate on people from infancy to advanced age based on the problem they have and what is best to correct it. Have her consult with an ASOPRS trained oculoplastic surgeon in your area to discuss the correct course.

Matheson A. Harris, MD
Salt Lake City Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

18 might not be too young for upper eyelid surgery

The age of 18 may or may not be too young for upper eyelid surgery depending on what one wants to achieve with eyelid surgery.  If excess skin is causing inversion of the upper eyelids or if the upper eyelashes are rubbing on the cornea causing irritation to the cornea, these may be good reasons for upper eyelid surgery on an 18 year old.

Also we commonly do upper eyelid on Asians who are around 18 years old to create a supratarsal fold that is not normally present. 

James Tang, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
3.4 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

18 is not too young for eyelid surgery

Depending on the causes of your baby sister's problem and her aesthetic goals, she may not be too young for eyelid surgery. One very prominent example is among Eastern Asians, who often have "double-eyelid" surgery in order to remove the heavy lidded appearance of eyelids which have no visible fold. This is often done at a younger age. 

The best thing for your sister to do is to see a qualified surgeon in consultation and discuss her concerns. Then she can be evaluated appropriately and learn whether or not eyelid surgery is the ideal solution. Best of luck!

Jen Yuan Chow, MD
Pasadena Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Upper eyelid surgery for young patients

It sounds as though from the description, that when the eyelid skin is touching the eyelashes and irritating the eye that indeed, there is an indication to perform upper blepharoplasty. Sometimes on certain ethnic eyelids there is excess fat in the upper lid that herniates over the eyelid, which can be removed. There is probably only a minimal amount of skin that needs to be removed at age 18. Indeed, 18 years of age is a bit young to have upper blepharoplasty; however, when it is interfering with vision or creating an irritation on the upper eyelid skin, there may be a medical indication for it. There are no other complications in this age group for this type of surgery other than to be very conservative with the excess skin removal.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Upper lid blepharoplasty in an 18 year old

It is extremely , extremely rare to have to need upper eyelid rejuventation in such a young person unless they have some sort of underlying skin disease or facial abnormality. Without examining this person, I would not be able to offer any suggestions.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Upper lid surgery may be more necessary than cosmetic

While 18 does seem way too young for a cosmetic upper eyelid procedure, it may be the right thing to do. Some people do develop upper eyelid laxity or "droop" at an early age. It can be related to the muscle or nerve function of the eyelid. It must be appropriately evaluated. If it is asymmetric, or each eye looks different, there may be multiple causes. If it is symmetric, or the eyes droop the same, surgical correction may be the only answer.

Make sure she has an evaluation by both a Plastic Surgeon and an Ophthalmologist to fully evaluate her condition. The together they can determine if surgery is her best answer.

David A. Dreyfuss, MD
Orland Park Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Upper eyelid surgery at age 18

She does seem too young to have upper Blepharoplasty. But there are individuals with abnormal early laxity of their skin. in these cases upper Blepharoplasty could be successful. The possibility of a visible scar should be discussed with the plastic surgeon, as this would be more noticeable in a young person.

Farhad Rafizadeh, MD
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

18 years old for upper eyelid surgery

It sounds like the issue is not cosmetic per se but congenital. The "tired" or "mad" look is indicative of congenital ptosis. So you're sister is not looking at cosmetic surgery. She needs to see an oculoplastic surgeon who specializes in congenital ptosis. Surgical correction of this problem can be quite difficult. She might want to look into the larger institutions that really specialize in this kind of surgery.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Upper eyelid surgery in a young patient is seldom indicated

Upper eyelid surgery in a young patient is seldom indicated unless they have congenital excess skin which is rare. The other indication for a droopy eyelid surgery might be from a condition called ptosis where the upper eyelid hangs close to the pupil where normally in caucasian eyelids it should rest 1-2mm below the iris. Excess skin alone is very uncommon; however, sometimes a very small amount needs to be removed to accomodate correction of ptosis. On the other hand, I would caution against removing too much upper eyelid skin or removing fat to avoid eyelid closure problems which can lead to dry eyes or if too much fat is removed, a hollowed look can result.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.