The Eyes Have It - Surgery free eyelifts

Heather Stephen

Not happy with your baggy eyes but nervous about going under the knife? Heather Stephen looks at some of the non-invasive eyelift options.

As we age the delicate skin around our eyes often sags and droops making us look tired and old, but turning back the clock needn’t involve surgery and major downtime.

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, there has been dramatic decline in demand for cosmetic surgery in the UK.

Figures compiled by the association for 2016 found the number of cosmetic ops hit the lowest level in a decade and, in line with this trend, demand for eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) dropped by 38%.

So what are the non-surgical for rejuvenating your peepers?


This device uses plasma technology to remove unwanted skin and tighten the underlying tissue. Plexr creates plasma – the fourth state of matter after solid, liquid and gas – by removing electrons in neutral gases from atoms in the atmosphere. This process sparks an electrical arc between the 0.5mm needle and the skin, which in effect, vaporises it. A carbon crust is left behind, which falls off  after a few days, while the skin underneath is tightened due to the heat created.

Is it any good?

A 2016 study involving 1000 patients by Greek ophthalmic surgeon Sotiris Tsioumas found 80% of people were completely happy with the results of Plexr on reducing eyelid skin after three treatments. (The study does not declare if there were any conflicts of interest or he it’s author received any funding from the manufacturer).


Results are immediate and results are said to last as long as surgery.


Even with the local anaesthetic it can feel a little painful for some people.


You should expect to pay around £1,500 for a recommended course of three eyelid treatments, according to



Dr Rita Rakus recommends this ultrasound treatment for patients at her Knightsbridge clinic looking for a long lasting option for sagging eyelids. And for an extra lift she combines the treatment with Botox.

“This is a great treatment as it tightens collagen in the skin and lifts the eyebrows giving two effects in one,” says Dr Rakus.

Is it any good?

Various studies show it’s effective in treating eyelid laxity but realistic expectations are required. One larger study  of 70 people showed it was useful for mild to moderate laxity but beyond that surgery was recommended as an appropriate option.  When it came to brow lifts a study funded by Ulthera by Chicago’s North Western University in 2007 90% of patients reported ‘significant brow lift’.


The results can last up to two years and there is no downtime.


Some find this painful and the results aren’t instant, you may have to wait months to see them. You may also need up to 3 sessions.


Dr Rakus charges between £1,500 and £2,000 for this treatment and a top-up treatment is advised after three months.The Ulthera/botox combo costs between £2,500 and £3,000.


Total FX CO2 laser

This is a fractionatal laser treatment which breaks a laser beam into thousands of microscopic treatment zones to address wrinkles and signs of sun damage and pigmentation.

Fractional laser treatment has an advantage over it ablative and non-ablative laser treatment counterparts which are also used to treat sun-damaged and aging skin, as it works at both the epidermal (surface) and dermal layer (mid-layer) of the skin. (Ablative laser treatments work mainly on the epidermis while non-ablative treatments work solely on dermal layer)

“Skin on the eyelids is thin so tends to be the first place to show signs of ageing,” says facial plastic surgeon Kambiz Golchin based in Knightsbridge and Dublin.

“This treatment has amazing results as it removes the old damaged skin and stimulates collagen and is even better when combined with PRP (platement rich plasma) which speeds up healing and production of collagen.”

Is it any good?

In one study people reported a 45% improvement in wrinkles after a treatment like this and other studies have shown better tightening when used with PRP.


Results normally last 3 to 4 years.


Downtime, involving sunburn- like redness, is up to a week.


Treatment with Mr Golchin costs £3,800 for this treatment and £5,000 with PRP.



This radiofrequency treatment warms the skin and is said to stimulate collagen production and tighten collagen fibres leading to a smoother look.


You can have this in your lunch break as the treatment only takes 30 minutes. There is no need for anaesthetic and most people describe the procedure as painless.


It takes several treatments for optimal results.

Is it any good?

A review of radiofrequency found 96% of studies report the treatment has a positive impact on skin laxity. But the review warns much of this research is not clinically based and says more studies are needed to prove the treatment’s value.


A course of three treatments is recommended and will set you back about £1800 depending on where you get it done.


The last word

These treatments can have good, long lasting effects but for very saggy eyelids and bags eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), which costs between £2,000 and £6,000, may still be the best option.

And Dr Rakus says even though they have a good safety record, to be extra sure, treatments like these should always be given by a member of one of the professional organisations like BAAPS (the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) or the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.

She says: “When you are having any treatment, particularly around the eyes, you want to be sure you are going to someone who is experienced, safe and who will be able to advise you on the best treatment for you.”