Eyelid Surgery

Oculoplastic surgery is commonly referred to as “eyelid surgery.” With the upper and lower eyelids as a main focus, the discipline combines the technology of ophthalmology and the precision of plastic surgery.

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Why Eyelid Surgery

Many patients who seek eyelid procedures have excess upper eyelid skin that hangs down over the eyelashes, blocking the outer and upper parts of the visual field. Others are looking to rejuvenate the skin around the upper and lower eyelid for a more youthful appearance.

In either case, Vance Thompson Vision’s surgeons can help, offering surgical and non-surgical methods to address eyelid concerns.

Some oculoplastic surgery may be covered by medical insurance depending on the situation and the amount of visual impairment. The only way to determine if an eyelid lift is truly a medical necessity is to visit with Vance Thompson Vision’s experienced oculoplastic surgeons.

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Treatment Options

Vance Thompson Vision specializes in blepharoplasty to assist maturing men and women with ptosis (drooping eyelid) on or around the eye for a refreshed, more alert appearance. We can also rejuvenate lower lids and eyebrows, alleviate ectropion and entropion eyelids, and address the lumps and bumps that can appear around your eyes.

During a consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your concerns to help determine the best treatment plan to achieve your goals.


Blepharoplasty is an oculoplastic surgery that reshapes droopy eyelids by removing and repositioning excess skin or shortening some of the eyelid muscles to improve sagging and drooping eyelids. Blepharoplasty can be performed on both the upper and lower eyelids, as well as on the eyebrows.

Most patients opt for blepharoplasty because of excess upper eyelid skin that hangs down over the eyelashes, blocking the outer and upper parts of the visual field. Removal of this skin can sometimes be medically necessary, and therefore covered by insurance.

Patients may also opt for blepharoplasty simply to improve their appearance. Lower eyelid blepharoplasty to remove bags or sagging is almost always an elective procedure, meaning these don’t qualify for insurance coverage, but must be paid for out of pocket.

Procedure Time 25 minutes
Recovery 10-14 days
Follow-up 1 week

Lower Lid Rejuvenation

Feel good about how you look and improve your skin's resilience, elasticity, and texture with lower eyelid rejuvenation. Using an Ultra Laser Peel (ULP) technique or laser resurfacing, your skin will feel firmer, and the damaged skin around your eyes will appear smoother. Once our oculoplastic team removes the top layer of cells on your lower eyelid, your skin will respond by initiating a new growth cycle of collagen.

In most situations, individuals with the following conditions are the best candidates for an Ultra Laser Peel or laser resurfacing:

  • Deep wrinkles around the eyes
  • Facial scars
  • Sun and/or age spots
  • Poor skin tone/texture
Procedure Time 25-30 minutes
Recovery 5-21 days
Follow-up 1 week

Lumps and Bumps

Lumps and bumps — also referred to as skin lesions and including moles — can develop anywhere on the body. Near the eye, they may cause irritation or impact your vision and appearance.

A treatment plan will be determined during a consultation with your doctor. We will discuss the type of lesion you have, its location, thickness, and the condition of the surrounding skin. This information will determine if the lesion is to be removed to improve your vision or for aesthetic concerns.

In many cases, lesions can be removed in a matter of minutes at our office. All removed lesions are then sent to a certified pathologist for evaluation.

Procedure Time 15-20 minutes
Recovery 5-10 days
Follow-up None

Entropion and Ectropion

Lower eyelids that curl inward (entropion lids) or outward (ectropion lids), can cause extreme pain and deteriorate the eye’s overall health.

Entropion happens when the lower eyelid turns inward, causing the eyelashes and lid to rub against the eye. The most common complications of this condition are a stinging sensation, moderate to severe tear production, and chronic red eyes.

Ectropion happens when the lower eyelid turns outward, revealing too much of the eye and delicate tissue within the lid. The symptoms of an ectropion eyelid are similar to an entropion one.

In either case, our experienced ophthalmologists can relieve your symptoms and restore your eye’s health.

Procedure Time 15-20 minutes
Recovery 5-10 days
Follow-up 1 week

Oculoplastics at Vance Thompson Vision

As a specialized refractive center, Vance Thompson Vision has the expertise, tools, and facility required to correct an array of vision problems both inside and around the eye.

We’re dedicated to using the world’s most advanced technology in combination with our vast experience to help you see and enjoy life more clearly.

Locations That Work Together

On occasion, it’s necessary to refer patients to one of our other locations for the treatment they need. Currently, our Sioux Falls and Alexandria locations are the only centers that offer oculoplastic surgeries, so if you live near one of our other locations, we will coordinate between locations so your care is as seamless as possible.

Kalon Medical Spa

Our medical spa option allows patients to easily pursue non-surgical procedures as a first step to addressing their concerns. When more advanced procedures are required, Kalon can easily draw from the expertise of Vance Thompson Vision’s board-certified surgeons. Our Sioux Falls and Alexandria locations offer Kalon Medical Spa inside their clinics.

Beyond Cosmetic Surgery

Vance Thompson Vision is dedicated to the overall health of your eye. This includes the area around it as well as the traditional care for cataracts, glaucoma, and laser vision correction that we’re best known for. We appreciate the opportunity to care for your vision throughout your lifetime and across a variety of scenarios.

Our Oculoplastic Surgeons

Oculoplastic surgeons are board-certified ophthalmologists who, in addition to being able to perform refractive, cataract, and cornea procedures, can also perform reconstructive eyelid procedures.

Our surgeons are dedicated to improving vision for all aspects of your eye. Our team members understand that pursuing oculoplastic surgery is a personal decision, which is why they take the time to get to know each patient.

What To Expect

Blepharoplasty is an outpatient surgical procedure completed within our facility under general or IV sedation. Both the upper and lower lids are similar procedures that employ small, discreet incisions from which fatty tissue and excess skin will be removed.

Prior to the surgery, patients may receive lab testing or a medical evaluation. Patients who smoke should stop well in advance of surgery and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements.

During the procedure, general anesthesia or intravenous sedation will be used to ensure you're comfortable. For upper eyelid blepharoplasty, incisions will be made within the natural crease of your eyelid, allowing the removal of excess skin and/or the tightening of muscles and tissue.

For lower eyelid blepharoplasty, an incision will be made just below the lower lash line or hidden inside the lower eyelid, which is known as a transconjunctival incision.

The incision will then be closed with removable or absorbable sutures, skin adhesive, or surgical tape. Your eyes will be lubricated after surgery. Oral medications will help with pain and discomfort. Your surgeon will also prescribe an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is oculoplastics?

Oculoplastic surgery is commonly referred to as “eyelid surgery.” While the upper and lower eyelids are a main focus of oculoplastic procedures, the discipline is actually much broader. It combines the technology of ophthalmology and the precision of plastic surgery to restore the periorbital and facial tissues including the eyelids, eyebrows, forehead, cheeks, orbit (bony cavity around the eye), and lacrimal (tear) system.

What is the average cost of blepharoplasty?

The average cost of a blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, varies based on each patient’s needs. Generally, the procedure is approximately $4,000.

What can I expect after eyelid surgery?

Following the procedure, you should allow several days for rest and recovery and you should avoid wearing eye makeup or using contact lenses for 10 days. Swelling and bruising may be present for a week or two following surgery. This can be addressed with cold compresses and pain medication. Strenuous activities should be avoided during this time. Dry eyes are also common following eyelid surgery. Symptoms should begin to subside within two weeks of the procedure.

How long does it take to recover from eyelid surgery?

Recovery time varies by patient. Generally, we advise patients to allow for about a week of rest and recovery and to avoid strenuous activity during this time. You may experience swelling and bruising around your eyes for 10-14 days.

Can eyelid surgery be covered by insurance?

If your surgeon deems it medically necessary, a portion of your eyelid surgery may be covered by your health insurance. This is usually dependent on the amount of visual impairment. Generally, though, eyelid surgeries are considered elective procedures and are, therefore, an out-of-pocket expense.

How long does an eyelid lift last?

Results from a blepharoplasty are dramatic and lasting, but should not be expected to prevent the normal aging process.

Is it worth getting eyelid surgery?

If the skin around your eyelids makes it difficult for you to see well, then blepharoplasty may be the answer. Eyelid surgery creates a lasting, more youthful appearance. Call us to set up a consultation to discuss your goals.

Still have questions?

Questions about oculoplastic surgery? Call us! Our team can answer many common questions, and when they can’t, they’ll put you in touch with a team member who can. If you’re ready, they can also schedule your consultation.

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