Eyelid surgery is generally safe when performed by a trained medical professional such as a surgeon. As with any other surgical procedure, it is not advisable for all elderly individuals. Here’s why.
Visual Acuity & Ocular Health
One of the most important aspects of cosmetic eye surgery is maintaining the patient’s visual acuity, which is the ability to see objects clearly. The elderly are more likely to suffer from eye diseases that can decrease their visual acuity.
Aging, for example, can lead to the development of cataracts, which affect the eyes’ ability to focus light by developing a cloudy film on the lens. Glaucoma is another common eye disease among the elderly that can cause vision loss. This is a group of eye diseases that leads to an increase in intraocular pressure in the eyes. This pressure can cause permanent damage to the retina and the optic nerve. Performing surgeries on the eyelids or eyes can aggravate previous conditions.
Most cosmetic eye surgeries are safe and effective even in older age groups. There are some exceptional circumstances wherein the patient’s age can affect the safety and outcome of the procedure. If the patient has high intraocular pressure, the procedure might not be safe for those above 60 years old. This is because the natural aging process leads to a reduction in the elasticity and strength of connective tissues. These tissues will be more prone to injury and bleeding.
Elderly patients are more likely to have retinal detachment, a separation of the retina from the underlying layer of the eye. This can happen if a hole develops in the retina due to the failure of blood vessels to reattach after a procedure. The elderly are more prone to develop glaucoma. This is because the intraocular pressure increases due to increased resistance to the flow of fluids in the eyes.
Other Medical Conditions
Various other medical conditions can affect the safety of cosmetic eye surgery, particularly among elderly individuals. Patients with high blood pressure are advised to have their condition under control before having any cosmetic eye surgery. This is because blood pressure can increase due to bleeding during the procedure, which can worsen blood pressure.
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Other conditions such as diabetes, stroke, or heart disease can affect the safety of cosmetic eye surgery. Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy. This is a condition in which the small blood vessels in the retina swell and leak fluid. This can affect the safety of the surgery since fluid can enter the retina and lead to retinal detachment. One of the conditions that might be overlooked is allergies. Patients who have allergies are more likely to have an allergic reaction to the medication given as a pre-operative or intra-operative medication. This can also turn out to be life-threatening.
Confirming the Diagnosis of Eye Disease
Eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy are diagnosed before the surgery. If these conditions are present, the surgeon will consider when planning the type of surgery and the tools that will be used during the procedure. The surgeon will also take into account the patient’s age, general health, medications, and other factors before deciding if cosmetic eye surgery is safe for them.
If the patient is diagnosed with macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, vitreous degeneration, or other degenerative eye diseases, the surgeon will consider this when planning surgery. If the patient is diagnosed with macular degeneration, the surgeon will choose a type of surgery that does not involve making an incision in the eye. This is to avoid further damaging the retina and macula. A type of surgery that minimizes the risk of retinal detachment and lessens the risk of bleeding inside the eye, such as IntraLase SLIT surgery, might be performed.
Types of Eye Surgeries (eyelid surgery) for the Elderly
Cosmetic eye surgery is generally safe when performed by a trained medical professional. This does not mean that it is safe for all eye surgeries. Although blepharoplasty is not as complicated as other eye surgeries, it comes with risks such as bleeding and infection. It is recommended for patients who have severe eyelid edema (swelling) cases or a droopy eyelid. Seniors may receive basic brow lifts or revisional eyelid surgery. These procedures should be minimally invasive, depending on the severity of the issue and past procedures. It should be noted that the surgery is more complicated than eyelid surgery and can cause problems such as dry eyes or double vision.
Eyelid surgery is safe when performed by a trained medical professional. That said, it is not suitable for all age groups. When undergoing cosmetic eye surgery, you should discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with your eye surgeon to make an informed decision. Make sure you disclose your previous health history fully to the surgeon before the procedure.