Lower Eyelid Bags and Blepharoplasty

Q : I am writing because I am bothered by bags under my eyes. Since I was a teenager these bags have been there but are now much more prominent as I have gotten older. I don’t expect my eyes to be perfect but I shouldn’t look this way at only 38. I have tried every cream out there and nothing seems to make them better. Is there a plastic surgery for this problem?

A: Lower eye bags are the result of herniated eye fat. Most of the time they appear as a result of aging. But some people have it appear much sooner in life, even during their teenage years. One occurs as a result of weakening of a lower eyelid membrane with age, teenage eyebags are the result of a congenital weakness in the same membrane.

To understand lower eye bags, one must know that our eyeball sits in a bed of surrounding fat for padding and protection. The lower eyelid is like a gate in which fat underneath the eye is held back by a membrane between the lower eyelid margin down to the lower edge of the eye socket bone. When this membrane is weak, eye fat can protrude through like a hernia through an abdominal wall defect. This is easy to demonstrate by closing your eye and pressing on the eyeball. You will see that the tissues underneath the eye bulge out as you press in. This is eye fat being pushing out.

Lower eyebags can only be removed by lower blepharoplasty surgery. No topical treatments or other external treatments will cause the fat to go away. If there is no significant extra skin which is common in younger patients, the fat can be removed through an incision from inside the lower eyelid. (trasnconjunctival blepharoplasty). If there is extra skin from aging, the fat and skin are removed through an incision right underneath the lashline. (external lower blepharoplasty)

Dr. Barry Eppley