Asian Eyelid Surgery: My Experience + Advice

I decided to do something a little different for today’s post and share my experience getting Asian eyelid surgery, as well as tips and tricks for any readers who are also interested in this surgery. Bear with me, this post is going to be pretty long, but I want to make sure I am covering all of the bases to help out anyone who is debating going through the same procedure that I did. We will discuss everything from payment, finding a doctor, travel, and the procedure itself. 

 I want to prelude by saying that each and every one of you are beautiful just the way you are. Some people are perfectly happy with their monolids, which is great! You should love yourself and your features, regardless. Getting cosmetic surgery is a personal choice and the purpose of this post isn’t to help you make that choice. The purpose of this post is to help people who are already seriously considering this procedure, because this is something I have already gone through and it would’ve been easier for me if I had known some of this beforehand.

For those of you who don’t know, Asian eyelid surgery, known as Asian blepharoplasty, is geared towards Asians who do not have an eyelid crease. Instead, we have what are called “monolids”. The majority of monolids are Asian, and about 50% of all Asians are born with a monolid. In some cases (and in my personal case), monolids can be extremely heavy and can even obstruct vision.

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My eyes in the picture above didn’t always used to look like this! In fact, I never in a million years thought that I would ever have eyes as big as I do now. I used to have monolids that were so heavy that my eyelids drooped over my pupils. It made makeup application nearly impossible (I would have to color in 2 inches of liquid eyeliner just for a thin line to show up over my lid). My eyelids were so heavy that they pushed my lashes downwards into my eyes, and they covered what little eyelashes I did have. All of this affected my confidence and getting my picture taken would give me horrible anxiety. This might sound weird, but eyes started to become an obsession. I would examine other people’s eyes in pictures and compare them to mine, as weird as that sounds. It got to the point where I couldn’t find a way to be happy or confident in myself without a change, which is when I began to seriously pursue this surgery. Granted, my monolid case was much more extreme than most people’s probably are, due to my ptosis and extremely heavy lids. 

Here are my eyes before the operation: 

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And here are my eyes afterwards: 

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As you can see, it was a pretty significant change for me! Whether or not you should pursue a cosmetic surgery like this is something you need to decide for yourself. Will it make you happy? Is it worth the costs? Is it worth the risk? No one can make this decision except for you. This is about YOU, your happiness and your confidence.  

These next few sections will be for readers who are interested in this surgery. I will try to answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability! 

PRICING

Let’s start with pricing, what people are probably most concerned about! This procedure typically ranges from around $4000-$4500, give or take a couple hundred, depending on which surgeon you go with. That amount sounds daunting, I know. But I’m going to tell you about something that is going to save your ass, CARE CREDIT. You guys, no way would be able to afford this surgery without Care Credit. For those of you who don’t know, Care Credit is a credit card (for medical use only) that will pay for your medical procedures, cosmetic surgeries included. It is fast and easy to get approved. When paying, give the surgeon your Care Credit card number. Your expenses are covered with your surgeon. From then on, you owe Care Credit that amount, not your surgeon. Nothing comes out of your pocket up front. You pay Care Credit back in monthly increments, which is much more manageable than paying the full amount up front.

Here’s the best part; as long as you pay off your expenses within two years, you will be charged no interest. Yup, you heard that right! I had TWO YEARS to pay back the amount with no penalties. It almost sounds too good to be true. I must warn you though, if you don’t pay the full amount within two years, the interest level is very high. Do not pursue a cosmetic surgery that you know can’t pay off within two years.

Let’s look at this in terms of monthly payments. Let’s say for example, my procedure cost $4000 (rounded down since it’ll typically be at least a couple hundred or so more than that) and I wanted to contribute $400 a month. If I did that, in 10 months, I would have fully paid off my surgery. Yes, I would have paid this back in LESS THAN A YEAR, well within the 2 year limit. If I wanted to contribute less than $400 a month, no problem! As long as you pay it off within 2 years, you will not be penalized.

Here is their website, which is also where you make your payments. You can also enroll in autopay, which I recommend.

You must also consider up front costs not related to the actual procedure. I traveled to Beverly Hills for my procedure so I also had to factor in flight costs, food, living costs, and nurse fees. You will be required to stay in the area for around a week if you are flying in. For living costs, my surgeon provided an apartment for his patients. I only paid $100 a night for a total of $700 for living costs, which is less than half of what I would have paid if I stayed in an LA hotel for a week. I also paid $130 in nursing fees for 8 hours of personal care, following the surgery. Outside of that, all I had to pay for was food and the cost of Ubers (not counting the plane tickets I had booked months earlier). Not counting plane tickets, I probably spent a little over a thousand for that week. If your surgeon doesn’t offer an apartment and you have to stay in a hotel, expect to spend around double that (LA hotels aren’t cheap). 

FINDING A SURGEON

Do your research and don’t be afraid to travel if your surgeon of choice is not in your state. You only get one body and any surgical changes made will be permanent, so it’s super important that you are 100% comfortable with the surgeon you choose. You have a right to be choosy when selecting your doctor! For those of you in the States, expect to most likely have to fly to Los Angeles. From my knowledge, that is where most of the best surgeons are for Asian blepharoplasty.

THIS NEXT PART IS IMPORTANT. Know that Asian blepharoplasty is not the same as any general blepharoplasty. You need someone who specializes in Asian faces/features, because obviously, our features are different from Caucasian features. This procedure is not done the same way for Asians! Finding a doctor that does blepharoplasty in general is not the same as finding a doctor that does Asian blepharoplasty. General rule to follow: if the surgeon does not specifically have a page for Asian blepharoplasty on their website, pick someone else. Of course, this doesn’t mean automatically go with a particular surgeon just because they have an Asian blepharoplasty page on their website. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Choose your surgeon wisely. Do not choose a surgeon based on convenience or choose a less reputable surgeon because it is cheaper. 

I used realself.com to find my surgeon. RealSelf is a community for people with questions about cosmetic surgery and it has pretty much everything you need to know. You can read real, honest reviews from people who have had procedures done with any particular surgeon you are considering. This also lists the qualifications and contact info of any surgeon you are looking at.

The surgeon that I went with was Dr. Charles Lee at Enhance Medical Center in Beverly Hills, CA.

Click here for Dr. Lee’s RealSelf Page

Click here for Dr. Lee’s website  

Click here for Dr. Lee’s Instagram page (he posts Instagram stories almost daily, detailing what procedure he is performing that day) 

I chose Dr. Lee because he is extremely qualified and specializes specifically in Asian features. If you live far away and have to fly in, you can schedule facetime consultations beforehand so you won’t have to worry about not getting a consultation first. His nurses and receptionists are very kind and helpful, and they were all very reassuring when I was nervous and panicky before my surgery. He offers an apartment for his patients at only $100 a night, which is less than half of what you would pay for an LA hotel per night. You only need to stay around 7 nights in the area, so you’ll only be dropping $700 total in living costs for the week (you may have a roommate). His surgery costs are also very reasonable. Based on my personal experience, I highly recommend traveling to Beverly Hills to have this surgery with Dr. Lee. There are other extremely qualified surgeons you could also go with, but I can only speak for myself and my own experience. Dr. Lee was someone that I felt like I could trust because he has done literally thousands of these procedues in his lifetime. To me, it was a big deal, but to him, it was just another day at the office. It’s all second nature to him! That’s how I knew that I was in good hands.

IS THE PROCEDURE/RECOVERY PAINFUL?

You will be conscious during the surgery, but this procedure is painless and you will feel little to no anxiety because you will be sedated. I was very intimidated because Dr. Lee keeps you awake and relatively conscious during this surgery because he needs you to open and close your eyes so he can check his work during the procedure. You will be awake and conscious but you are given loopy stuff so that you aren’t anxious. The time flies by, I promise! Basically, you’ll be aware that he is cutting into your skin but you’ll be so relaxed and loopy that you won’t care. I know, it sounds scary, but you’ll be heavily sedated and you won’t feel a thing, nor will you even care what’s going on around you! I was really nervous because surgery/doctors offices/needles are all huge fears of mine. However, it wasn’t bad like I was expecting. Literally, the worst part was the IV, which wasn’t even too bad (and is something I’m sure many of you have had before if you’ve ever had any sort of surgery).

My recommendation for the IV: if the nurse has trouble finding the vein in your arm for the IV, squeeze your fist harder to make your veins pop out more. Avoid having them put the IV in your hand because that was very painful! They won't try this unless they can’t find a vein in your arm; they will usually try the arm first. When they couldn’t get the vein in my arm (I admittedly wasn’t squeezing my fist hard enough because I was scared and didn’t want the IV) they tried my hand. It hurt SO bad and it didn't even work! They later found a vein in my arm when I squeezed my fist harder, which I did because I would’ve done anything to avoid that awful hand IV attempt again. 

As far as recovery goes, it was very easy for me. I know this probably isn’t the case for everyone, but I didn’t even need the pain meds. The swelling was pretty bad for me, but that isn’t something that was painful. 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS IF YOU ARE FLYING TO BEVERLY HILLS

Those of you who are getting this surgery/debating getting this surgery may be flying into Los Angeles, so I made this guide to help you. I traveled to LA alone so for those of you who will also be traveling alone, I hope that this guide helps. This will vary based on your schedule/surgeon, but if you choose to have your surgery with Dr. Lee like I did, your schedule will probably look somewhat similar to this.

DAY ONE:

  • Fly to Los Angeles
  • Upon arrival, find the ride service area (uber pickup area) at LAX. UBERS WILL NOT PICK YOU UP IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE PROPER RIDE SERVICE AREA. If you can't find the ride service station, ask someone at LAX where the Uber pickup spot is. It is one floor up from baggage claim so you’ll need to take an escalator up a floor. When you see a bunch of other people waiting for their ride, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Don’t feel bad if you get lost, because I was lost at LAX for about 45 minutes because I wasn’t informed where to go for Uber pickups. The struggle. 
  • Call an uber with the address to your apartment/hotel
  • Drop off your things/unpack then call your uber to grocery shop. Plan ahead: you have to shop for an entire week and you will be confined to bed rest that entire time, so you won’t be able to go out again! 
  • Uber back to apartment with groceries and try to relax for the night! 

DAY TWO

  • Uber to Enhance Medical Center for your surgery (or wherever your surgery will be if you are having it done with a different surgeon)
  • Have surgery
  • Dr. Lee provides a nurse who will drive you back to where you are staying; no need to call an Uber. You will be unable to call one anyways because you will be blindfolded and unable to see. If you are not having your surgery done with Dr. Lee, make sure your clinic has provided a way for you to get back to wherever you’re staying.
  • You will need to remain blindfolded for a couple hours at least. If you need water/food/bathroom breaks, your nurse is there to help you because you can’t open your eyes. You can choose to have your nurse stay for 4 hours, 8 hours, or overnight. The longer she stays with you, the more the nurse fees cost. You most likely won’t need more than 8 hours though! Go with whatever you’re comfortable with. 

DAYS THREE-SIX

  • Recover, binge netflix, read books, just chill out. Remember to take your meds and ice your eyes to reduce swelling! 

DAY SEVEN

  • Uber to Enhance Medical Center in the morning to get your stitches removed (make sure you have scheduled a stitch removal appointment before you’ve had the surgery!) 
  • Uber back to apartment, pack, turn in apartment keys
  • Uber to LAX
  • Fly home! You’re done!

ADDITIONAL TRAVEL TIPS

  • Uber will be your best friend. I had never tried using it before I arrived (which in retrospect is kind of dumb since I was going to be in California alone, relying on Uber solely for transportation) but I didn’t even need to because it was literally the easiest thing ever!
  • Buy a portable phone charger! You can get them on amazon for around 15 dollars. If your phone dies, you’re sunk because your phone is how you will call your Uber and without it, you’re literally stuck with no way to get to your apartment. A portable charger should get you around 3 phone recharges, which should be plenty. I know it’s tempting to be on your phone for the entire plane ride, but I would still reserve your phone battery as much as you can, just in case. 
  • If you can’t find someone to take off work for a week to come with you, don’t be afraid to travel alone. I did all this alone and it’s easier than you’d think. It sounds daunting and believe me, I’m not normally a brave person, but it was very manageable. Uber (or Lyft if you prefer) covers your transportation so you can get around easily. You can do this!

WAS THE SURGERY A GOOD DECISION/DO I REGRET IT?

Getting this surgery was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I am much happier and confident in myself, and it was 100% worth all of the money and trouble. My only regret was not getting this surgery sooner. Now, I easily could be saying the opposite thing if had not picked the right surgeon and the surgery had turned out badly. Again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research when choosing a surgeon! Be choosy, and remember that there’s always going to be a risk with any surgery no matter who you choose. Whether or not that risk is worth it is up to you! 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

It’s okay to be scared. I was TERRIFIED, not only of the surgery, but of traveling alone. That had been my first time on a plane since I was 10. It was also my first time in Los Angeles, which I had to navigate on my own. It sounds scary, but trust me, it really isn’t as hard as it sounds! 

If this is something you really want for yourself, don’t let any lack of support bring you down. Believe me, I’ve been there. As soon as you say “plastic surgery”, people will come to their own biased conclusions. At that time in my life, I did not have a single person in my life who supported me in this decision, even though no one knew what it was like living with my eyes except me, nor did they have to go through the process of attempting to do 4 layers of liquid eyeliner, or struggling with their appearance in pictures. It is very likely that you will have people who do not support you because they won’t understand. Just remember that people do not have a right to tell you what you can and can't do with your body, and they do not have a say in what will make you happy and confident. What you choose to do with your body is your choice, no one else’s. 

I hope I’ve covered everything, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. To this day, this was the bravest thing I’d ever done. I’m actually really proud of myself for jumping in and going for something that I wanted, even though I was scared, didn’t have any support, and was alone throughout the entire process. I’m definitely not a brave person and this is the most un-Fifi thing I’ve ever done. This just goes to show that if you want something badly enough, the only thing holding you back is yourself and you’re braver than you think. What’s the bravest thing that you’ve ever done? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear about it!