“I wanted my eyelids to look the same and to have more of a crease like my mother’s eyelids”

America is truly a cultural melting pot, and Portland, Oregon is typical of this. As a cosmetic surgeon I see patients from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The “ideal” concept of beauty has evolved, and much of what looks attractive is dependent on the surrounding facial features. It is no longer acceptable to try to make everyone look the same – and I would argue that preserving each person’s unique beauty is always the goal. This is particularly true with Asian eyelids.

This patient, whom I recently saw back in the office six weeks after upper eyelid surgery, originally had many of the concerns I hear from Asian patients. She did not like that her eyelids were not the same – the right upper eyelid had less of a crease than the left. She also wanted more of an upper eyelid crease in both eyes. She did not want to look European – she just wanted to have eyelid creases like her Chinese mother. We talked a lot about possibilities before surgery and decided on a 6 mm eyelid crease (European creases are about 8-12 mm). Today she is thrilled.

Asian eyelids vary from absolutely no upper eyelid crease (Japanese) to a very deep upper eyelid crease (Balinese). Often patients have parents from two different ethnic backgrounds, so predicting “normal” eyelid shapes can be difficult. When considering cosmetic surgery, it is very important to determine ahead of time what an Asian patient considers to be a “beautiful” eyelid. A Japanese patient may want absolutely no eyelid crease like the grandmother she admired – or may want to create a deeper crease to create a more “western” looking eye.

Surgery can be customized to change the appearance of the upper eyelid, so knowing what a patient wants before surgery is very important. When meeting with a patient who’s considering this type of procedure, I show the patient photographs of different type of Asian eyelids, so the patient can show me exactly what he or she has in mind.

If you are considering having an upper eyelid surgery, taking time to make sure you and your surgeon have the same goals will help insure that you will be happy with the results of your surgery.