Ask an Oculoplastic Surgeon: Should I Get an Under-Eye Laser Treatment?

Ask an Oculoplastic Surgeon: Should I Get an Under-Eye Laser Treatment? featured image
Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Getty Images | Image Used for Illustrative Purposes Only

If you have dark circles or crepey under-eye skin, there are ways to improve them without plastic surgery. If you’ve seen the videos circulating on social media of a laser zapping the under-eye area, you have to admit this tightening approach looks promising. Like magic, the skin is zapped and seemingly shrinks. But is the risk worth the reward? And what are the risks? We caught up with top cosmetic eye surgeons to get their expert opinions on this trending procedure. Here’s what they had to say about the benefits, risks, and what you can expect from an under-eye laser treatment.

  • David Schlessinger, MD is a board certified an oculoplastic surgeon in Woodbury, NY
  • Robert Schwarcz, MD is a board certified an oculoplastic surgeon in New York

What Does an Under-Eye Laser Treatment Do?

Woodbury, NY oculoplastic surgeon David Schlessinger, MD says for the right candidate, lasers under the eyes can be a major rejuvenator without surgery: “Under-eye laser treatment is very effective at tightening the skin, which can minimize bags and under-eye wrinkles. It is also effective at removing sun-related pigment.”

“Lasers effectively treat textural issues and discoloration under the eye,” adds New York oculoplastic surgeon Robert Schwarcz, MD. “This includes fine lines, wrinkles, looser skin and dark circles.” The process of heating up the top layer of skin will cause it to contract and tighten, resulting in a smoother look.

What Kind of Laser Treatments Work Best Under the Eyes?

 “Ablative lasers selectively burn the top layer of skin, causing contraction and resurfacing for smoother, tighter skin,” explains Dr. Schwarcz. “Both ablative and nonablative lasers can lighten darkened areas and even out the skin tone of the lower eyelid.”

Is Laser Treatment Safe for Under the Eyes?

Dr. Schlessinger says, yes, they’re safe when performed by a qualified professional. “However, using lasers too aggressively can cause lower lid retraction and ectropion, which is the outward turning of the eyelid,” he says. “Additionally, there is a risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, especially if the freshly treated skin is exposed to UV light.”

Dr. Schwarcz adds, “Risks are minimal when you see a board-certified surgeon who is specially trained to address issues around the eye area. Following pre-procedure and post-procedure instructions provided by your doctor will further minimize risks. Potential risks include burns leading to scarring, outward turning of the lower eyelid, and discoloration of the skin.”

How Many Sessions Are Needed?

“The gold standard for lower eyelid laser treatment is the fractionated CO2 laser, typically done in a single session,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Other lasers, such as Clear + Brilliant or Moxi, have less downtime but generally require three to four sessions.”

“For a less invasive approach, I use Moxi or Clear + Brilliant, which usually require three to four treatments spaced a month apart,” adds Dr. Schwarcz. “For a more definitive approach, I use fractionated CO2 laser treatment, often in tandem with lower blepharoplasty surgery. The laser is typically performed once, with up to a week of downtime, including redness and peeling.”

While the procedure is generally safe, it is essential to consult with a board-certified surgeon to minimize risks, say the doctors. Depending on the type of laser and the specific treatment plan, results can last from several months to years.

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