Look Into My Eyes

 “I want you to use the Retin A on your forehead every day.”

I stared back at my dermatologist and tried to decipher just what she was saying.  She’s equal parts clinical and personal, and I like her not just for her flawless skin which gives me hope.

“Oh.  Yes, well, the forehead isn’t really the problem, it’s my eyes.”

She arched one perfectly drawn brow in response.

“Yes, actually I’ve seen a plastic surgeon about it.  My eyelids are so heavy that unconsciously I am raising my eyebrows in order to lift them off of my lashes.  That’s what is causing the wrinkles.”

“It’s significant enough that I think your insurance might cover it.  You should check with your optometrist.”

Cut to a clandestine meeting in a neighborhood coffee shop where a friend said, “She could be right.  I think you should make an appointment.”  Neither woman said the word, “bad” as in “bad enough to be covered by insurance as your eyelids have dropped to the point that they are impeding your peripheral vision.”  But that is the case.

It’s not a surprise, really.  If you saw my father’s eyelids you would see where this is headed.  Still, as I stood in the kitchen and explained the stitches and the bruising to Bill he said, “Please don’t do it.”  I just can’t tell what would take more courage; the scalpel and the slice or the slow slide.

Living elegantly with a little wear was Princess Claude Ruspoli in, yes, Paris.  She was quite fond of antique fabrics, the patina of which adds to the allure of her apartment overlooking the Seine.  Architectural Digest, International Interiors, 1979; photography Pascal Hinous.

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21 thoughts on “Look Into My Eyes

  1. Why did I tear up at "Please don't do it."? Wow. Moving on many levels.

    (You know how I feel on the other issues. No further comment.)

  2. For what it is worth, my 75 year old uncle had the same problem and did have the procedure. He was thrilled with the results!

  3. I had my eyelids repaired about 8 years ago. It really is NOT a painful surgery. It will heal up amazingly fast and you will feel so much better having it done. I used an excellent board certified plastic surgeon instead of an optometrist. You should talk to both. My insurance covered it with the plastic surgeon… it really is a necessary surgery.
    My plastic surgeon tried to talk me into a brow lift at the same time, I refused.

  4. Hi Patricia, It is not my eyes, it's my whole face!! I've been thinking about it for quite a while. At least since I was 5 and first determined that I was NOT GOING TO LOOK LIKE MY MOTHER. and it is time…just waiting for the "economy" to turn and the cash flow to improve a bit. Not that I want to look twenty–just "better" and "fresher" (whatever that means). I do think that you are in very good company. Mary

  5. What a beautiful well appointed apartment dahhling… it is so true that chic never goes out of style, unlike some of the inherited "gifts" from our parents, which clearly are reaching their expiration date…thank the Lord for surgeons!

  6. Cucumbers? My favorite octagenerian first boss had his eyebrows done at 85 or 86. I don't remember bruises and he was delighted with the results. He did look surprised for a few weeks though. Is it really impeding vision? Because otherwise, character and individuality are prizes. Or maybe you need to have this done and recuperate in the south of France, so the cold doesn't harm the new fragile skin.

  7. A brow lift was mention; I declined. There will be plenty of patina left, believe me. One of the first things that they tell you about this surgery is that "no one will notice."

  8. Insurance covered this for my aunt, and while she was out she paid for a little work under her eyes. In the end she just looked like a more rested version of herself. If you want to, I say do it.

  9. I have this surgery scheduled for Feb. It isn't vanity-I want to see everything, clearly! (I was pretty stunned that insurance pre-approved it.) If your eyes are like your father's it will be a medical necessity eventually, might as well do it now. My plastic surgeon has a technique that with one extra stitch lifts the area above the eyelid, like a mini brow lift. again, not for vanity. He feels it helps the lid stay up, that the weight of the brow will otherwise continue to force the lid down. This technique was mentioned briefly in last week's Times' Thurs style section about a doc in LA, so you might find someone there who does this. (I'm not in LA and there's someone here, so…) At least you might want to check around and check it out.
    I found a dr whose work looks very natural, in fact, one botox loving patient of his complained because her eyes didn't look "done" enough!
    I'm the last person who would get plastic surgery otherwise. I've never worn any make-up other than under eye concealer, nor have I ever colored my hair. It's a medical condition that fortunately can be repaired.

  10. I had my lower eyelids done last summer, and I know it's a different thing, but boy am I thrilled!!! Every single person who sees me says how great, rested and young I look! I don't look at all different – just refreshed. Not one person suspected a thing until I told them. Unfortunately, I told them. Consider doing it, it's a breeze.

  11. At 48 I am in the same boat. Never would I have considered pumping up, sucking out, or in some way readjusting pieces and parts. However, the ability to see the people sitting next to you at dinner is under-rated. Like this apartment, the world can be a beautiful place, and I want to see it!

  12. Surprising post considering that your picture shows nothing of the problem you describe. Many years ago I knew a lady with a heavily drooping upper eyelid who explained that in her case it too was genetic. She eventually had surgery but I did not see the result to make an educated comment. What it truly boils down to is what makes you feel good about yourself. There is nothing uglier than too much face work, but of course we aren't headed in that direction here. I also think your husband's advice should be kindly taken. Perhaps he was saying maybe some day, but not now. Our eyes are all beginning to droop looking at the lovely images you post here. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

  13. I know just how you feel, well almost, since my issues are in different areas. Since I am such a terrible sissy, surgery will never be an option for me, so I was surprised and delighted to find out about the amazing world of injectables which do almost everything surgery does. Find someone super reputable un your area and check them out before you make any big decisions. Here it is rebeccafitzgeraldmd.com (no affiliation) and I am planning my first visit for my birthday this year. Lots of informative stuff on her site too.

  14. No one will notice you had your lids lightened after a few weeks (if you have a skilled Dr / plastic surgeon)
    I had light bruising, a tad bit yellow and a few tiny purple spots where the stitches were.
    I'm now 54, I was 48 when I had to have mine done for the same reason.

  15. Mrs B, you look terrif as is….but if you feel you need it go for it!
    Best of Health, Happiness and lots and lots of Joy in 2012!

  16. I think you are beautiful au naturale, but i understand where you are coming from. I have certain areas of my body permanently altered from childbirth (read: 11 lb baby, yes that number is accurate!!!!). When I have the means I will take care of that area, not from vanity, per se, but just to get back to where I was pre-kids. So, I think it is so super sweet that your husband does not want you to change – that is love! But!!! you have to think about what will make you happy and if it is worth it. Again – I think you look great right now! 🙂

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