Looking Behind the Mask
A few years ago Jerusalem’s Israel Museum put on display for the first time a collection of 9,000-year-old limestone masks originally found in the Judean Desert and Dead Sea areas. Billed as the oldest masks in the world, these ghoulish, full-face spirit masks show just how far back the use of face coverings goes in the parade of human history. The museum’s director noted at the time that they represented early “existential reflection” and looked as if they could have been created by Picasso.
How long ago is 9,000 years? Well, it’s centuries before the advent of writing, for a start. It was during the Neolithic period, the final centuries of what we know as the Stone Age. Not much in the world then was anything like what we experience now. Yet while they were not, of course, employed for pandemic protection, even in those early days masks were still used (probably for ritual ceremonies honoring the dead, although there’s not much way to know for sure).
In cultures the world over ever since, masks have been a part of social life in various ways. In the Republic of Venice (or, if we want to be fully accurate, the “Most Serene Republic of Venice”), which lasted for over a thousand years until it finally fell to the Holy Roman Empire, masks were wildly decorated and designed to provide anonymity during various decadent social goings-on. Participants felt – and probably with some wisdom – that it would be much wiser to conceal their true identities during their revels. The modern descendant of the tradition shows up in the annual Venetian Carnival celebration. The distinguishing characteristic of these masks, however, is that they conceal that all-important area around the eyes.
The Eyes Have It
It seems we have an innate need to fully see the eyes of others to forge meaningful human connections. What is it about people’s eyes that we find so fascinating? Our ocular fixation goes back at least as far as Cicero, who was born in 106 BC and was quoted as saying that the face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter. The French put it differently, calling the eyes the mirror of the soul. Let’s face it: your eyes are a critical component of your personality, your beauty and your ongoing engagement with others.
Today’s pandemic masks aren’t like those from the Dead Sea or old Venice in one crucial way: with the lower half of your face covered, now every bit of focus is pulled right to your eyes and brows. Are they still the mirrors of your soul that you want them to be? Are they “interpreting your mind” to others in the manner you’d like? If not, you have a lot of options.
Eyelid Surgery to Hold Back the Hands of Time
Have you ever had this experience after a long night, a grueling schedule or too little sleep: it all shows up in and around your eyes. Dark circles, exaggerated crow’s feet, bags under your eyes, a general look of being tired: it’s all there because the skin around your eyes is thinner than on the rest of your face. What a great plastic surgeon can do is remove the excess skin, fat deposits, pouches and sagging that show up as early signs of aging. So many patients have commented after surgery that the surgery was so easy that they wish they chose to do this years ago.
Because people have been naturally drawn to the eyes of others throughout the whole course of human history, that’s the area of the face where we tend to notice aging and other subtle changes first.
Eyelid surgery can be performed on either the upper or lower eyelids, or both. Sometimes an eye procedure is done separately, but it can also be combined with other facial procedures. In fact, in discussions with your surgeon, you may find there is a cost and recovery-time advantage in doing several complementary procedures at the same time.
Why Eye Surgery Scars Are Usually Not Visible
Here’s where the magic comes in: typically scars from eyelid surgery are not visible to others. There are several reasons for that result: surgical incisions can generally follow the natural lines and creases of your eye area. Work below the eye can be done through an incision made inside the lower lid or just below the lashes. Most scars will disappear within a few months, and fine wrinkles can be removed with a laser to further enhance your result.
Eyelid surgeries today really have little in common with some of the work that has been done in past decades. There is a finesse – a fine skill – that experienced surgeons can use now that makes the surgery undetectable in more ways than just by means of hidden scars. Where it once might have been more common to hear, “oh, she must have had some work done,” it is now more common to hear, “I wonder how she always looks so young and refreshed!”
Can Plastic Surgery Around Your Eyes Improve Your Vision?
Your plastic surgery decision is not just about your appearance when your eyes are involved. Your eyelids can actually change shape as you get older because of extra fat and the stretching of your skin, and the muscles around your eyelids can get weaker. Because of the resulting excess skin on your upper eyelids, you could experience a somewhat reduced field of vision, especially on the upper gaze of sight (think: looking up at a street light while driving or watching TV without tilting your head). Effective plastic surgery could help correct that issue (and prevent future problems) while at the same time giving you a more youthful appearance overall.
It’s All Connected: Thinking About Your Whole Face
It may be your eyes that are the main focus over your mask these days, but when you have your personal conversation with your surgeon, be sure to talk about your brow and forehead area as well. Everything in your face is connected, and to achieve the more youthful look you want, it may be a good idea to consider a brow lift as well. As we age, our brows tend to move lower, and that can effect your expressions and your overall look.
Every face is different, and your individual beauty is uniquely your own. That’s why the first step when you’re thinking about any plastic surgery procedure is to schedule a confidential, personalized consultation with your board-certified plastic surgeon. That conversation will be the beginning of your individual procedure plan that you’ll need to reach your own goals.
So put on your mask, and take a good, honest look in the mirror. Are the eyes looking back at you – as Cicero would say – interpreting your mind for others in the manner you would like? If not, this is the perfect time to take the next step.
Why not do your eyes a favor and schedule your private, virtual consultation with your own expert plastic surgeon today?