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Aging Well: eye bag surgery restores greater field of vision

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Aging Well: eye bag surgery restores greater field of vision

Seeing more of the world around you can help you keep Aging Well. A simple surgery to reduce your eye bags and open up your field of vision can do that. 

Ninety-four-year-old Alice Kagawa says she is happy after her eye bag surgery, or blepharoplasty. Her doctor, Aina Haina Eye Center ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon Amelia Fong, M.D. , explains, "Blepharoplasty is removal of excess skin above the eyelid commonly to help with someone's vision."

It worked for Kagawa, who demonstrates by putting her finger to her eyelid and lifting it up, "Every time they do this, when they lift my eye, I realize, yeah, I could see the world. Whereas I only see half the world."

Dr. Fong says in this quick 35 to 45 minute outpatient procedure, she removes some fat from the upper lid. There's an aesthetic and medical benefit in restoring a greater field of vision. "The most common one is, they benefit when driving. Looking to the side, a lot of times it can obstruct the peripheral vision. It is a safety issue, for sure," Dr. Fong adds. "It helps both with their vision - driving, getting around, the world seems brighter - and a lot of times they feel more refreshed."

If you think you might need this surgery, here's a simple at-home test. "If you lift up your eyelid and see more, that's a good indication it's blocking your vision, which is a possible safety concern. Seek out someone to check it out," she advises.

Dr. Fong say droopy eyelids are common in 70 to 80% of folks - starting at around age 60 or 70. It doesn't always bother people, but if it does, surgery is an option, like it was for Kagawa, who says, "If I'm 70, I can just smile, but now I take whatever help I can get.