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Our eyes might be windows to the soul but the glass is looking distinctly bleary right now. Everything from dark circle creams to high-pigment concealers began trending as soon as we switched to a video-call world, and now many of us are considering more drastic options for haggard hollows and under-eye bags.
"Before the pandemic we had a waiting list of three months just for a consultation," says Daniel Ezra, one of the UK's leading cosmetic eye surgeons and a particular specialist in eyelid lifts, or blepharoplasty. "Now it's eight months."
Worrying about sleepy-looking peepers isn't merely a matter of vanity, he says. "Clients often say people make assumptions about them because their eyes make them look permanently exhausted.”
“Unfairly, they're often perceived as struggling to keep up, and their appearance can make them appear ill, sad or unapproachable. When you add in the 'mask effect' of having all the focus on your eyes, that negative impact is magnified."
So what are your options if you’re tired of looking tired, and concealers aren’t cutting it any more? The first step is to see an expert to assess what’s actually making your eyes look exhausted, which will enable a doctor to decide what will make a good visible difference.
For many people, an effective and minimally invasive first-line option would be fillers.
"We used to think ageing was all about sagging, but preserving volume is the key to a youthful appearance," explains Daniel. "One thing that makes people look tired and aged is hollow grooves under the eyes, caused by natural fat loss as we age."
That can be addressed non-surgically with tear trough filler, which plumps sleepy hollows with an injectable hyaluronic acid gel. Before you wince, it doesn't involve injecting directly under the eyes. Filler is inserted lower down then massaged upwards to plump out sunken contours.
Minor eye bags can be improved, too, by filling the surrounding area. results are instant and last up to 18 months.
"Done well, tear trough fillers are fantastic but the skin here is very thin so you need an experienced practitioner who knows what they're doing," says Daniel. "We do a lot of corrective work."
Always do your research on doctors and the filler being used. Daniel recommends Teosyal Redensity ii, which is licensed for this area. Cost: from £720 with Daniel; from £350 nationwide.
You should also be aware that injectables can only do so much, says Daniel. “If eye bags and sagging are more severe, surgery is often the only realistic option.”
"However, it's not the over-stretched look of 30 years ago," he reassures. "My philosophy is to preserve tissue under the eyes, as you need that as you get older. Rather than being removed, as it was in the past, the fat that makes up eye bags gets repositioned.”
“If patients have hollowing, it can be used to fill out that area. However, if there is excess skin on the upper eyelids, that will be surgically removed."
Visible scarring for both upper and lower blepharoplasty is minimised by going in through the inside of the eyelid where possible. Daniel says, "Lower eye surgery has the longest downtime, at three weeks, but you can hide the bruising under sunglasses."
As with all cosmetic surgery, Daniel strongly advises choosing a specialist in this area. "Most people don't want a surgeon who does a nose in the morning and a bum lift in the afternoon," he says. "Surgery is so specialised now, and especially with the eyes."
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Finding the right doctor and having an in-depth consultation is an essential first step. "It's vital to understand what's making clients unhappy with their appearance and whether it's possible to meet their expectations," says Daniel. "If the skin quality is poor, surgery may not be possible. I turn about 30% down at the consultation stage. I'll only operate if I feel they'll be happy with the result."
At upwards of £6,400 for surgery at Daniel's clinic, it needs to be money well spent.
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