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Eyelid Surgery

Puffy Upper Eyelid Causes and Treatment

Woman's face

Puffy upper eyelids are troublesome, especially when the condition is chronic.  They can be tricky to diagnose and treat.  What are the causes of puffy upper eyelids?  Is eyelid surgery the answer, or are there other remedies to try?

If puffy upper eyelids are a concern for you, here are some recommendations.


Rule Out Health Issues


A variety of health conditions can lead to puffy eyelids, including common complaints such as allergies and sleeplessness.   Most people who suffer from one of these are well aware of the effects on the eyes.  But other, lesser known conditions can also lead to puffy eyelids.  Graves’ disease is one example.  This disorder of the immune system can cause a number of distressing symptoms, including puffy lids and even bulging eyes.

Visit your primary care physician for evaluation if there’s any chance you may have an underlying health issue.


Pinpoint the Cause of Puffy Eyelids


When patients complain about upper eyelid puffiness, they usually mean extra volume between the eye socket and eyebrow.  Puffiness in this area can be due to genetics, aging or both—and treatment options vary accordingly.


  • Younger patients with puffy lids often have prominent fat deposits located under the brow.  A skilled, experienced plastic surgeon can carefully remove a portion of the fat pads to give the upper eyes a less heavy appearance.  Care must be taken to avoid removing too much fat and causing a sunken look, however.  This area is one of the many regions of the face where a little fat is a good thing.


  • Older patients frequently have a two-fold problem: puffy, heavy looking brows and droopy upper eyelids.  When this is the case, a brow lift may be a good surgical option.  Patients are sometimes surprised when they realize their forehead has descended over the years and how much this southward movement has impacted the eyes.  For some people, a brow lift is all that’s needed, other patients benefit from a combination brow lift and eyelid surgery to raise both brows and lids.


Consult an Eyelid Surgery Expert


Whether cosmetic surgery is right for you is a decision you should make in consultation with a plastic surgeon specializing in opens in a new windoweyelid surgery.  There are alternatives in some cases—Botox injections can raise eyebrows temporarily, for example.  But for most people, when out-of-position skin and fat are behind heavy looking eyes, eyelid surgery provides the best results.

A board certified plastic surgeon with extensive eyelid experience can be your go-to resource.  He or she can help you understand your own unique case and evaluate possible courses of action.  For those suffering from puffy upper eyelids, a consultation with an expert is well worthwhile, whether surgery is in the cards or not.

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November 30, 2014
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