Like many approaching 40, I've noticed with some disappointment that I've grown increasingly tired-looking- regardless of whether I'm well-rested or hydrated or not. The culprit- the growing dark circles beneath my eyes. Yet for me, the idea of lower-eyelid surgery to correct the issue seemed a little too extreme. I was put off both by the invasive nature of the procedure and the prolonged downtime. So I remained in a holding pattern- reading accounts here of user experiences with lower bleph (and other treatments).
I began seeing more and more positive reviews of Restylane injections in the tear-trough area to correct the problem- which prompted me to further reading on that specific procedure. Before and after photos here and elsewhere seemed to suggest that- on the whole- the procedure worked pretty well. Occasionally, I'd seethe nightmare account of an injection made by an inexperienced or overzealous dermatologist or nurse or quack- which gave me pause. Even though those seem to be the exception, and rare, they were still pretty intimidating. So I remained on the fence for several months.
I eventually mustered up the courage to go talk to an Oculoplastic Surgeon about the procedure- after reading through the very enthusiastic accounts of an LA-based Oculoplastics specialist who- (here and elsewhere)- described Restylane for tear-trough hollowing as the greatest thing since sliced bread... If a guy who specializes in cosmetic eyelid SURGERY is pitching a cheaper, less-invasive procedure (regardless of where his bread has historically been buttered)- that should mean something. That his before/after photos seemed pretty amazing further put me at ease.
So I went about seeking a local Oculoplastic Surgeon- figuring that if I was going to have a needle go under the skin near my eyeballs, I'd prefer the person putting it there know exactly what is going on BENEATH my skin.
I received injections last week. The procedure itself was more uncomfortable than I expected. I had received numbing cream and felt little pain- but the physical pressure, and the periodic sounds of skin being punctured (particularly when it was done from within my mouth), took a little time to get used to. Immediately following the procedure, I got a look in the mirror and felt, frankly, apprehensive. That my face had changed was pretty obvious to me- but I looked far more swollen than I had expected I would (even though I only had one syringe split between two eyes). The doctor felt the procedure had been successful- which was encouraging- but I couldn't help but feel apprehensive. My cheeks looked puffy and red.
Within 24 hours- some of the puffiness had gone away. And- to my delight- it became clearer to me that the procedure had had a positive benefit. The darker rings below my eyes were largely gone- the color of the skin there looked healthy and plumper (without looking like I was bloated).
It's now been a few days. My bruise remains- but is fading. The swelling has largely dissipated- though my face is still not back to its former shape. I expect within a week or two, the bruise will be gone- and perhaps my face will look as it did last week- except without dark rings below my eyes.
Overall, my experience was extremely positive- and I would rate my results, on a 1 to 10 scale, as an 8. I do not know how long these results will last, but if the last a year, I will definitely consider the procedure to have been more than worth the money. I can only speak for myself, but I will say that I am extremely happy that I went to the effort to seek out an Oculoplastic Surgeon for the job. His lucidity on the subject of under-skin anatomy of the face/eye/tear-trough region really made me feel in good hands. It felt- in the event something DID go wrong- I'd be in the hands of the best possible person to diagnose and address the problem. That knowledge- and his candor- made me worry less than I might otherwise have. I hope this account is helpful to the next person out there who is considering this procedure.