01 September 2008

A new survey has revealed that baggy lower eyelids and dark under-eye circles can be blamed on the increasing amounts of fat that build up around the eyes as people get older.

Eye bag removal surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a popular non-surgical procedure for both men and women in the UK, but - until now - there has been much speculation as to why eyelids sag with age.

The research, conducted by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), shows that as the amount of fat in the eye socket rises, the lower eyelid starts to sag.

The study surveyed 40 participants - 23 females and 17 males - aged between 12 and 80 years, and concluded that fat in the eyelids naturally increases with age.

Dr. Timothy Miller, professor and chief of plastic surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said: "Although baggy eyelids are a significant result of ageing and fat expansion, there are other factors that can contribute too.

"We recommend that surgeons evaluate each component and address them accordingly in an individualised approach to blepharoplasty."

Eyelid surgery has rocketed in popularity in the last two years, and blepharoplasty is now one of the top four most popular cosmetic surgical procedures in the USA, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In Britain, blepharoplasty is the second most popular cosmetic procedure for women aged 50 to 55, after a face-lift.

The trend isn't only confined to women, however; a recent study by the Harley Medical Group also showed that the number of men undergoing eyelid surgery - or "man bag removals" - has increased by 33 per cent year-on-year.