A. It’s not your imagination. First I’ll tell you what happens, and then I’ll tell you what to do about it. If you’re young, listen up, because prevention is almost always the best cure.
There are basically three reasons why our eyes appear smaller as we mature. First, our skulls shrink. And all the holes in our skull, for instance the eye sockets (the orbits in medical terms), get larger as the bone shrinks away. We also tend to lose some of the fat in our orbits over time, so both the loss of bone and fat at the orbits cause the eyes to sink back and down a bit, making them appear smaller. If you’ve had an eyelid tuck (blepharoplasty) with older techniques in the past, that can exacerbate the situation as well, as those techniques tended to remove a lot of fat. The newer techniques don’t do that, and if your lids are droopy, that alone can make your eyes seem smaller and sad-looking.
This is the third reason, and one you can help prevent. At the risk of sounding simplistic, let me offer a picture. Imagine that your eyelid margins are like a hammock strung between two trees. The corners of your eyelids (the ends of the hammock) have tendons that are attached to the rims of your orbital bones (the trees). Over time, those tendons tend to weaken and stretch, so the corners of the eyes aren’t as taut as they once were; the eyelid margins then become shorter horizontally and more round. Some of this can be genetic and some of it is inevitable, but unfortunately we tend to move that process along, for instance by rubbing the eyes or by pulling at the corners or lid margins to apply contact lenses or eyeliner. The situation is also exacerbated by years of a less than gentle touch when we remove eye make-up and wash our faces. Treat the eyelids gently. As I always tell my patients, “Try not to moooove the skin!”
Use a cleanser or make-up remover with a lot of slip around the eyes, avoid waterproof mascara as much as you can, insert your contact lenses without stretching your lids (I can show you how) and no matter how good it feels for that particular minute in time, do not rub your eyes. None of this stretching happens overnight, but over the years it catches up with you, as so many of our bad habits are wont to do.
Just as I mentioned in last month’s blog (click here to read) regarding using make-up to help give the illusion of lashes, extending the outer corners of the eyes with eyeliner or shadow will help restore a more youthful and elongated appearance to the lids. Just keep it soft and well-blended. If you want help with this, Jill, our aesthetician can show you how to make the effect work beautifully for you.
Finally, if you would benefit from my tightening things up, I have several techniques, depending on the individual, that can usually be done with a local anesthetic if you wish, and very little downtime.