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Richard W. Westreich M.D. FACS

Facial Plastic, Reconstructive, & Nasal Surgery / ENT - Park Avenue

969 Park Avenue #1B New York, NY 10028

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Functional Blepharoplasty

As an individual ages, the upper eyelids can become heavy, contributing to a tired and worn appearance. Although heavy eyelids are most frequently associated with older individuals and the aging process, they may appear at a younger age–often influenced by hereditary factors. A droopy brow or excess skin can cause the lids to become too weighty, limiting peripheral vision and interfering with everyday activities such as driving. In addition, wearing glasses or contact lenses can become difficult due to baggy upper eyelids. When vision is impaired, Dr. Westreich can perform a functional blepharoplasty or functional eyelid surgery in his New York office.

Difference Between Functional & Traditional Blepharoplasty

The two procedures are very similar, but the purpose of each one is different and renders different results. A blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure that is done to reconstruct, reposition and repair the eyelids. Traditionally, the term blepharoplasty has been associated with cosmetic blepharoplasty also referred to as the traditional blepharoplasty, a procedure routinely performed with the main objective of opening and brightening the eyes.

In contrast, a functional blepharoplasty is a surgery that lifts the eyelids with the primary goal of restoring vision. As such, the focus during the surgery is to correct the brow and reduce the excess tissue in upper eyelids.

A functional blepharoplasty can address:


Although a functional blepharoplasty will enhance the appearance by “awakening” and accentuating the eyes, this outcome is considered a secondary benefit to the patient. If blepharoplasty is performed for functional reasons, most major insurance plans will cover the cost of the procedure after appropriate diagnostic testing has been completed.

Before & After Photos

Double Eyelid Surgery Before and After



Double Eyelid Surgery Before and After side view



Asian Eyelid Surgery Before and After



Functional Blepharoplasty Procedure

Dr. Westreich performs functional blepharoplasty as an outpatient procedure. To begin the surgery, the patient is give intravenous sedation to ensure patient comfort. Dr. Westreich will make a small incision in the the upper eyelid, following the lid’s natural crease; then he will remove any excess tissue, which is typically skin only. During the process, he can also tighten the levator muscle, the muscle that raises the eyelid in patients that have eyelid ptosis as well. When the surgery is complete, he will close the incisions with an absorbable suture. The procedure usually takes less than an hour to perform.

After the procedure, you can expect some bruising and swelling, which can last up to 7-10 days. Cold packs may be applied to help reduce inflammation. An antibiotic ointment will usually be prescribed to decrease the risk of infection and other medications may be recommended to alleviate pain. Typically patients can return to work a few days following the procedure; however rigorous exercise should be avoided for at least a week.

Am I a Candidate for Functional Blepharoplasty?

A consultation with the doctor will be the best way to determine your candidacy. You may want to consider functional blepharoplasty if you are experiencing any of the following: Just like other surgeries, the patient who is undergoing the procedure should be in good general health. Additionally, the aging process will continue, and while the functional blepharoplasty procedure is meant to last for many years, your results will not last indefinitely. Repeating the procedure in the future (typically many years in the future) may be necessary to maintain results.

Your Questions Answered

We believe you probably have several questions regarding functional blepharoplasty. We have compiled answers to the questions we receive most often to help you:

How do I prepare for a functional blepharoplasty procedure?

Prior to planning surgery, your doctor will need to evaluate any serious medical conditions you have, along with any medications you are currently taking. Some medications must be avoided prior to surgery for patient safety. You must not wear makeup of any kind on the day of the surgery. Make arrangements for another person to transport you home after the procedure. We provide full instructions on how to prepare for your surgery so it goes smoothly, and you are comfortable.

What is the recovery time for functional blepharoplasty?

Recovery time varies from patient to patient, but can typically take up to seven to ten days. Most patients experience some bruising and swelling during healing, which is completely normal. You will be able to return to your regular activities after a few days of recovery, however you should refrain from vigorous exercise for at least a week. We will provide you with post-procedure instructions so you can have a fast and healthy recovery.

What are the complications of the procedure?

There aren’t many complications of functional blepharoplasty, but you may experience a temporary inability to close your eyelids completely, which can make the eyes feel dry. This condition will normally go away after after you have recovered and remedies such as eye drops and humidifiers can be used in to make you more comfortable.

What can I expect at my consultation?

During your consultation, you and the doctor will go over your goals, expectations, and concerns, along with answering any other questions you may have. You should be prepared to provide your medical history and a full list of medications you are currently using.

Is the functional blepharoplasty procedure painful?

You will be given an IV sedation to provide comfort during the surgery. You may experience some pain or discomfort when the surgery is complete, and pain medications are enough to keep you comfortable for a day or two. A cold compress can be applied to reduce inflammation.


Functional Blepharoplasty Consultation with Dr. Westreich

Dr. Westreich is double-board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery and American Board of Otolaryngology, and wants to help all of his patients reach their goals. If you are experiencing a reduced field of vision due to heavy eyelids, have droopy or saggy skin around the eyelids, or have difficulty wearing glasses or contacts due to baggy upper eyelids, contact Dr. Westreich for a functional blepharoplasty consultation in his Manhattan practice. As a specialist in facial plastic surgery, one of his top priorities is to help patients improve their quality of life.

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969 Park Avenue #1B New York, NY 10028