Oculoplastic surgery: the most common procedures

Written by: Miss Mahboub Hawkes
Edited by: Laura Burgess

An oculoplastic surgeon is a specialist who operates on the muscles and skin around the eyes, including the eyelids, eyebrows and tear ducts. One of our top ophthalmologists Miss Mahboub Hawkes is an expert in oculoplastic surgery and here she explains the commonest procedures she uses in her clinic.

Why would someone visit an oculoplastic surgeon?

There are usually two main reasons that a patient visits an oculoplastic surgeon. The first is due to the signs of ageing where the muscle is drooping around the eye.

The other reason to visit the specialist is because of a medical condition such as a disease, tumour, infection, inflammation or any deformity of the lid. If there is laceration or deformation around the lid, it can be corrected by the oculoplastic surgeon.

What are the commonest oculoplastic procedures that you perform in your clinic?

We have patients over the age of 50 who are not happy with the way that they have aged, particularly where the muscles around the eyes have drooped. Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic procedure to fix droopiness of the eyelid, or if the lower lid looks very tired, we can make them look fresher.

We have younger patients who are interested in cosmetic procedures. The youngest age I operate on tends to be those in their late 30s up to mid-50s. I offer non-surgical treatments such as Botox® for younger patients as surgery is not necessary and a surgical scar will shape badly as they age.

We often see a lot of Asian women in my clinic who would like to change the shape of their eye to look more western.

How does an oculoplastic surgeon differ from a plastic surgeon?

A plastic surgeon operates everywhere around the body from the hair down to the toenails but most surgeons have a specialty. General surgeons are very good in their own field especially as they are dealing with a larger area of the body. Oculoplastic surgeons are trained to focus on and deal with the very delicate area around the eyes.

What is the process for oculoplastic surgery?

Firstly, you would come for a consultation where the oculoplastic surgeon explains the procedure. We draw it so that you can see what it would look like after the operation. We also take pictures before, during and after surgery. Then post-operation, we see what we have achieved.

How do you manage a patient’s expectation?

It depends on the patient and what they want to do. During the first consultation, I will tell them what they will get exactly and we can work together to modify and discuss the shape that we are aiming for. If someone is 70 years old and wants to have the eye area of a 20-year-old, I will explain that, in reality, it is possible to look 50-something. There are certain structures around the eyes that we cannot change but we can make it look very nice.

How much does an oculoplastic procedure cost on average?

There are two costs. The first is the hospital, which includes the price of the instruments and operating theatre and these are listed on the hospital website.

Secondly, it is the cost of what you pay the surgeon. I charge between £1500-2000 but it depends on the particular procedure and what is involved. All of this is discussed before the operation.

What advice can you give to someone considering surgery around their eyes?

There are lots of surgeons around but it is important that the patients do their research and finds a surgeon with whom they can communicate and discuss their problem. I see a lot of patients in my clinic who come for corrective surgery because they were not happy with the first surgeon that they visited. I recently performed blepharoplasty on a woman who first had the procedure done 15 years ago but had never been happy with her results. I had to operate on one good and one ‘bad eye’ and now the patient is finally pleased with her look.

Do not hesitate to book an appointment with Miss Hawkes if you would like to discuss your eye surgery options.

Miss Mahboub Hawkes

By Miss Mahboub Hawkes

Miss Mahboub Hawkes is a leading consultant ophthalmic surgeon in London with more than 25 years of experience. She specialises in cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and oculoplastic surgery, which includes cosmetic eyelid surgery, eyelid reconstruction following trauma and eyebrow lift. 

Miss Hawkes underwent her primary medical education at the American Medical School in Tehran, Iran and qualified at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). She then did her postgraduate training at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London where she acquired fellowships in oculoplastics, glaucoma and retina, as well as training in cataract surgery. Miss Hawkes now performs cataract surgery using a wide variety of intraocular lens implants to provide clarity for near and distance vision, tailoring her approach for each individual. She undertakes reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the eyelids, eye socket, tear ducts and skin around the eye as well. Miss Hawkes also treats other ocular conditions and will take care to make a thorough assessment of each patient she treats to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone.

She has held many teaching and training posts over the years, helping to educate optometrists, junior doctors and general practitioners. Miss Hawkes has been involved extensively in the assessment of new developments in the field of ophthalmology such as new lens implants for cataract surgery and drug trials for glaucoma.

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