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5 Solutions for Droopy Eyelids

From surgery to makeup, check out treatments for fixing this condition

spinner image Closeup of a middle aged woman's eyes

In your 50s your eyelids can start to droop and even limit your vision. Two surgeons — Joseph Serletti, M.D., chief of plastic surgery at Penn Medicine, and Nicholas Mahoney, M.D., of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Medicine — helped us consider the full range of options.

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spinner image UPPER-LID BLEPHAROPLASTY and Ptosis Repair
Violet Frances/Bryan Christie Design; Getty Images
1. Upper-Lid Blepharoplasty 2. Ptosis Repair

1. Upper-lid blepharoplasty

What is it? Surgery to remove loose, excess skin on the eyelid. Also called an eyelid lift.

Pros Noticeable, lasting results.

Cons Initial recovery takes 10 to 14 days. Can worsen dry-eye symptoms. Often not covered by insurance.

Price From $2,000 for outpatient surgery to $10,000 for a hospital procedure, depending on the complexity of your case.

2. Ptosis repair

What is it? Surgery to tighten a muscle in the upper eyelid.

Pros Offers lasting results. Insurance may cover this procedure if drooping eyelids have affected your vision.

Cons Requires 10 days of postsurgery rest. Procedure doesn’t resolve excess skin. There’s a chance of irritation, dryness and eye asymmetry.

Price From $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the complexity of treatment and whether both eyelids are involved.

spinner image Nonsurgical Eyelid Lift and Prescription eye drops
3. Nonsurgical Eyelid Lift, 4. Prescription eye drops
Violet Frances/Bryan Christie Design; Getty Images

3. Nonsurgical eyelid lift

What is it? Botox or dermal fillers are injected mostly around your eyebrows, slightly lifting them and thereby your lids.

Pros Takes 10 to 20 minutes, with no recovery time. Fillers can be dissolved if you’re unhappy with them.

Cons Not a permanent solution. Botox lasts three to six months; fillers last 12 to 18 months.

Price Botox: $400 to $800 per treatment; fillers: $800 to $1,100 per treatment.

4. Prescription eye drops

What is it? An FDA-approved medication called Upneeq temporarily lifts droopy lids caused by ptosis (a weakened eyelid muscle).

Pros Easy, once-a-day application. The effect kicks in within two hours and lasts at least six hours.

Cons Several possible side effects, such as eye pain or redness. Not typically covered by insurance. Doesn’t correct for excess skin.

Price Thirty-day supply: $160; 45-day supply: $240.

spinner image Contouring eye makeup and example of eyeshadow colors
5. Contouring makeup, example of an eyeshadow palette used to create this effect
Getty Images

5. Contouring makeup

What is it? To hide drooping eyelids, use a paler eye shadow across the lid and a darker one in the crease, with highlighter below your brow bone.

Pros If you already wear eye makeup, it’s a simple modification to your daily routine.

Cons Could look heavy. Doesn’t address any vision issues.

Price Eye shadow palette: $10 to $50.

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