Does Asian Eyelid Surgery Represent a Loss of Ethnic Identity

Asian eyelid surgery or Asian blepharoplasty is perhaps one of the most controversial procedures that I perform because it has deep social and cultural connotations that are tied to it.  The biggest question is whether creating an upper eyelid fold constitutes making Asians look White?  The answer is not so simple, but I will try to explore my philosophy herein.

First, the procedure itself involves creating a crease in the upper eyelid to make the eyelid appear rounder and more open.  It is a surgical procedure that can be undertaken in myriad ways depending on surgeon preference.  Having performed all different types of techniques, I have found that the full-incision method provides the most predictable and durable outcomes for this procedure.  For women who want to put make up along their upper eyelid, creating a crease truly makes this task easier and doable.  For those who just want their eyelids to look less sleepy or ethnic in appearance, this procedure also works.  For those with limited vision from the hooding of the upper eyelid skin and fat descending downwards, this procedure can also be of benefit.

Asian Double Eyelid Surgery

In order to seek the answer for whether this procedure constitutes a betrayal of one’s ethnicity, we can start with how this procedure developed.  It started back in the late nineteenth century when Mikamo, a Japanese surgeon, created the first double eyelid in individuals who lost their fold due to illness or infection.  He was able to restore the double eyelid through a suture-based method.  Interestingly, this was a time that was steeped in Westernization of Japan, known as the Meiji Period, that must have influenced the aesthetic values in the Far East for beauty at that time.  The procedure was developed further in Hawaii during the mid-part of the twentieth century and the language with which it was written was colored by ideas of Westernization.  In fact, the term “Westernization” was popular for most of the twentieth century until the last two decades in which “Asian blepharoplasty” or more colloquially “Asian double eyelid surgery” has been favored.

Looking at the procedural style that dominated the scene until the late 1980s, there was excessive removal of fat and very high eyelid creases made that were an attempt to “westernize” the eye.  Unfortunately, the individuals who received this type of surgery did not look White or even Asian but rather distorted, unnatural, and scarred.  A lot of the apprehension that exists today of people who would like to undergo Asian blepharoplasty involves remembering or seeing these stigmata of a bygone era just as much as we see people with bad hair plugs from the past and fear ever having that procedure done.  In any case, Asian double eyelids naturally exist in the population of all Asian races so it is not an unnatural creation that does not exist in nature.  Accordingly, this procedure is aimed to create a natural fold that is low and resembles those that exist naturally in many Asian people.

The one thing for certain is that there is a globalization of beauty today where with ongoing intermarriages of different races, the population looks more and more mixed.  Models that appear in print or on the runways look more Eurasian or mixed in someway.  The Western media that has flooded the Far East no doubt has influenced the way that the Far East looks at beauty.  However, the influence of Far Eastern beauty on the West is also unmistakable.

I think there is no easy answer on what the motivation is for every person undergoing an Asian eyelid procedure but there are three things that are certain.  First, this has become a very popular procedure across the world today.  Second, the results appear completely natural.  Third, there is a global influence on the standards of beauty that has affected many individuals who desire to undertake a double-eyelid procedure.

Follow the links to learn more about Dr Lam’s Asian blepharoplasty procedure, or other common Asian plastic surgery procedures including Asian rhinoplasty, Asian jaw reduction, and Asian lip reduction, including before and after photos, videos, forums and FAQs, or call (972) 312-8188 to schedule a consultation .