Is It Possible to Change the Appearance of Eyes Through Cosmetic Oculoplastic Surgery?
3 December 2019 onur
It is possible to change the appearance of eyes through eyelid surgery. But to what extent, for what purpose, and to what limit?
Let’s put it clear at the beginning: It is not possible to choose the eye model you like from the catalogue.
Let my eyes be slanted like seeds or like almonds or round like the eyes of Disney characters or they should cover half of my face or be like the eyes of an actress…
Dear patients, do not come to us with such demands.
Every individual has a unique eye shape, and every eye is uniquely beautiful. Excluding some congenital, acquired or aging-related deformities as defined in the field of aesthetic surgery, there is no such thing as an ugly or repulsive eye shape, and there has been no such definition. Moreover, even deformities are debatable to a certain extent when it comes to facial beauty.
For instance, the appearance of the white of the eye as a result of the lower eyelid being lower than the pupil is a deformity called “Scleral Show” in plastic surgery. This deformity can be a complication of lower eyelid surgeries, or it can be a defining feature of the stunning eyes of female beauty icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Türkan Şoray and Marilyn Monroe.
So in what situations and how can we change the appearance of the eye?
Think of the eyelids as a hammock. “Canthus” is the name of the extreme corners where the hammock is attached to the trees. These corners correspond to the anatomical points where the eyelids attach to the bony skeleton. There is also a very complex connective tissue and muscle structure that moves this hammock.
As a basic principle, all surgeries that change the shape of the eyelid cause a certain degree of damage to these mechanisms. Thus, you cannot operate an eyelid, say, 10 times. After 3 or 4 operations, the slippery planes between the tissues as well as the microscopic anatomy of the tissues may deteriorate to an extent that cannot be surgically corrected.
The first and most important method to change the shape of the eyelid is “reconstruction surgery”, that is, the correction of congenital, traumatic, tumoral or secondary deformities of the eyelid that develop after plastic surgery. In other words, this surgery attempts to bring deviations from normal to a level that is closer to normal. Depending on the size of the eyelid deformity, it is possible to reconstruct the canthus or redesign these points where the eyelid attaches to the bone, repair the muscles that open and close the upper eyelid, repair the mechanisms that close and keep the lower eyelid open and regulate skin deficiencies or excesses on the eyelid.
The second most important method to change the shape of the eyelids is the measures we take to protect the patient from the complications of plastic surgeries. Particularly in lower eyelid surgeries, we may need to shape the outer corner of the lower eyelid hammock, namely the lateral canthus, in order to prevent the eyelid from pulling down and turning away from the eye after the operation. In that area, it may be necessary to shorten the loosened ligament or the eyelid, to suspend the muscle tissue at a higher position to carry the eyelid and keep it taut, or to completely mobilize the point where the eyelid attaches to the bone and fix it to the bone in a new position.
I don’t intend to confuse you with surgical techniques but only to explain how specific the decision and implementation processes are. Before the lower eyelid rejuvenation surgery, we make sure to inform patients with weak eyelid support mechanisms as follows: “In order to maintain the shape of the eyelid in the long run, you may need to have slanted eyes in the early period. This usually takes 6-12 weeks to return to normal, but in some techniques, it may take up to 1 year.”
Except for such necessities, I’m afraid we cannot satisfy demands such as “I want my eyes to be slanted/squint as this girl’s” or “I want my eyes to be almond/olive-shaped like these” as shown on a smartphone screen by patients whose aging-related changes around the eye are not yet at a level that requires surgery.
This is because we do not have data such as risks, complication rates and long-term results of surgical interventions to be performed in this patient group yet. My advice to you is this: Do not stand as a candidate for any surgical procedure that has not passed the test of time, has not made its way into the literature, has not been presented in international congresses and is not accepted by the majority of the plastic surgery community. No matter how cool the name of the surgery sounds, how cute the doctor is, how often we hear it on TV and on social media,
stay on the safe side.
Take good care…
… of yourself and your beauty.