How to erase years from sagging eyes

Watch report from Action News
March 6, 2014 4:22:32 AM PST
Our eyes reflect our emotions and our health. Sometimes what may seem like aging around the eyes could be a sign of a more serious health problem.

52-year-old Kelly Conway is always in motion, with a business, a family and a pair of energetic pets!

But one day, passing a mirror, she noticed her eyes didn't reflect her true self.

"I just looked tired all the time, way more tired than I felt," she said.

A host of over-the-counter products weren't much help.

"My makeup table had no more room for the creams," she said with a laugh.

Conway's problem wasn't just sun aging, but "festoons": sagging across the cheekbones.

Dr. Allan Wulc says festoons aren't always a sign of aging. They can also be an indicator of your health INSIDE, such as severe allergies, or thyroid issues.

"Just about every patient that comes in with those bags, we end up ordering a whole set of studies," said Dr. Wulc.

Fortunately, Conway got a clean bill of health.

Dr. Wulc says a good fix for festoons has been hard to find.

Fillers, such as Restylane or Juvederm, can cause swelling.

"That's the area where fluid collects when you sleep, lie flat, when you rub your eyes," he says.

Recently, he's had success with combining two therapies: aggressive treatment with an erbium laser plus removing fat from the lower eyelid. Both are FDA-approved procedures.

"Just applying the laser to this area helps the skin to shrink," he said. "We can go quite deeply and get relatively quick healing."

Conway says the laser left her eye area very red, like she'd had a bad sunburn. But after the swelling went down and her skin healed, everyone noticed her fresher look.

"People kind of figured maybe we went away on vacation," she said with a smile. "Now at least maybe I'll age according to the clock I should be aging on."

The cost of the combination treatment ranges from $2,800 to $5,000, depending how much rejuvenation needs to be done.

And what about Conway's crowded makeup table? It is nearly empty now. She only uses a few products - and that includes sunscreen every day, all year round.

With proper care, Dr. Wulc says, Conway's festoons shouldn't come back.


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