Eye bags can be a major concern for both men and women. What causes them, and is there anything that can be done to solve the problem? Yusrina Yusoff sits down with Dr Wong Chin Hoo from W Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
What are eye bags?
The term eye bags is commonly used to refer to the bulging of the soft tissue below the eye. In severe cases, large, prominent bags with a sharply defined lower borders can be seen. This has the effect of making the person look listless and tired.
What causes them?
Eye bags are predominantly a feature of ageing and can become noticeable from the late 30s to early 40s. Usually, patients with significant eye bags also have parents with eye bag problems.
Multiple factors are responsible for their increasing prominence, including the thinning and degeneration of the lower eyelid skin and sagging of the cheek’s soft tissue. Another significant factor is the shrinking of the cheek skeleton, which makes it less effective in supporting the overlying soft tissue and results in further descent of the soft tissue. This can happen as early as one’s late 20s. Lack of sleep can make eye bags look worse, too.
How extreme must the condition of eye bags get before considering surgery?
Consideration should rather be focused on the appropriate techniques that should be used for eye bags of various severity.
For mild cases, simple techniques that safely deliver results should be used, such as the “scarless” eye bag removal technique. Using this technique, the fat is removed from behind the lower lid without any incision.
For severe cases, more powerful surgical techniques involving fat redistribution and even a cheek lift may be needed to dramatically rejuvenate the lower eyelids and cheeks.
Whom is it suitable for?
Age is an important consideration. With ageing, the lower eyelid tissues tend to become more lax, and these need to be addressed with specific techniques to tighten the tissues during the procedure to prevent potential complications.
For younger patients whose eye bags are associated with excess fat , the scarless technique works best. A small, one-centimetre incision is made behind the lower eyelid and an exact amount of orbital fat removed to eliminate the eye bags. This procedure is very safe with minimal downtime.
For older patients. addressing the eye bag with excision alone is usually inadequate. They usually require a combination of skin excision to remove the excess crepey skin, plus fat removal or redistribution as well as a cheek lift to reposition the soft, saggy tissue of the mid-cheek.
Are there any risks?
Complications of eye bag surgery include either excessive or inadequate removal of fat, which respectively causes hollowing of the eye or recurrence of the eye bags. Rarer complications include prolonged swelling and lower eyelid malpositioning.
Are there any non-invasive techniques?
A recent development is the use of fillers to treat mild or newly formed eye bags. This non-invasive technique corrects the volume deficiency below the eye bags, thereby camouflaging the prominence of the eye bags. This is a great interim measure for patients considering surgical correction of eye bags but who are not quite ready to undergo the procedure.
How can we prevent eye bags?
Avoid sun exposure as much as possible, as the lower eyelid skin is delicate and can easily be damaged by UV exposure. Adequate sleep is helpful, too.
Do over-the-counter products actually work?
Many creams are available, and they work to keep the peri-orbital soft tissue, that’s the soft skin around the eye, healthy. However, once the eye bags have developed, these products have limited effect.
What are some of the myths related to eye bags?
The biggest myth about eye bags is that the eye bag alone is responsible for a listless and tired appearance. This haggard appearance is the cumulative effect of changes to the mid-cheek associated with ageing, excess lower eyelid skin, sagging of the mid-cheek’s soft tissue and many other factors. While eye bags are perhaps the most prominent of these changes, patients should not address this issue alone but instead adopt a multi-pronged approach and consider advanced techniques to address all of the problems as a whole.
W Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is at 38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-42 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
6570 2528 | waesthetics.com
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