As you age, your eyelids stretch, muscles weaken and excess fat gathers above and below your eyelids. This can cause sagging eyebrows, drooping upper lids and bags under your eyes. Baggy skin can even impair vision and make you look and feel older.


Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty (BLEF-uh-ro-plas-te), repairs droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, muscle and fat. To help decide if this surgery is right for you, find out what you can realistically expect and the benefits and risks involved.


You might consider blepharoplasty if you want to remove the excess tissue that keeps your eyes from opening completely. Removing this tissue can improve vision and make your eyes appear younger and more alert. Specifically, blepharoplasty repairs:

  • Baggy or puffy upper eyelids
  • Excess skin on lower eyelids
  • Dark circles or bags under eyes

You may have a medical reason for this surgery if your ability to see is affected. If you have the surgery only to improve your appearance, it might not be covered by insurance.


When your eyelids are interfering with your field of vision, causing difficulty with everyday activities such as driving and reading, eyelid surgery can vastly improve your peripheral vision. You’ll be happy to know that Medicare and private insurance usually covers “functional” eyelid surgery, if minimum criteria of vision loss is met. A test, called a Visual Field, will be performed to document this loss of visual field.

However, cosmetic eyelid surgery is not usually covered by your HMO, PPO, Medicare, or any other insurance. “Cosmetic” is defined as a procedure that is undertaken to improve appearance instead of visual function. While upper eyelid surgery is often considered medical in nature, lower eyelid blepharoplasty is always considered to be cosmetic.

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