Blindness After Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery

When you have cosmetic eyelid surgery (and 150,000 people did last year), the last thing you want to think about is your vision. But did you know that there is a 1 in 30,000 chance of permanent blindness after cosmetic eyelid lifts? And let me tell you, this statistic frightens surgeons just as much as it frightens patients.

Posted on | Arthur Perry, MD, FACS | Comments ()

When you have cosmetic eyelid surgery (and 150,000 people did last year), the last thing you want to think about is your vision. But did you know that there is a 1 in 30,000 chance of permanent blindness after cosmetic eyelid lifts? And let me tell you, this statistic frightens surgeons just as much as it frightens patients.

Uncontrolled bleeding during or after surgery can cause blindness. If you have high blood pressure or are on blood thinners or aspirin, you’re more likely to have bleeding. If you get nausea or even if you bend down after surgery, bleeding is more likely. Bend down now and you’ll feel the blood to rush to your head – that’s not good after any facial surgery.

Fortunately, this complication is so rare that most plastic surgeons have never seen it. But it does underscore that even so-called minor surgery is really not that minor, and it emphasizes the fact that only real plastic surgeons or properly trained ophthalmologists should be performing this delicate surgery. 

To stay safe with cosmetic surgery, plan on visiting your board certified internist for a complete physical exam and your board certified ophthalmologist for a thorough eye exam prior to surgery. Then make sure that not only is your plastic surgeon board certified, but that the anesthesiologist who will be giving you sedation or general anesthesia is certified as well. And finally, make sure that the facility – the hospital, surgicenter, or office is also certified by an outside organization like that Joint Commission or the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. 

Blog written by Arthur Perry, MD, FACS
Dr. Perry has over 2 decades of experience as a clinical surgeon and has been named to the “Best Doctors in the NY Area” book...