While people have been taking photos of themselves since cameras were invented, the term “selfie,” as we know it today, really took off just a few years ago. TIME magazine even included selfie on its list, “Top 10 Buzzwords of 2012.”
Clearly, there is no shortage of selfies shared online today, just check your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. At the same time, selfies can come with a downside for people who are already hypercritical about their appearance.
According to Key-Whitman Eye Center President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., “There’s greater sensitivity about ‘how I look’ today. Many people have become much more critical of themselves and at an earlier age. Thanks to selfies, people may analyze how others may be looking at them, and on a more regular basis.”
And it isn’t just selfies alone at the center of this phenomena. “If you’re active on social media sites, and even dating sites like Match.com, you end up seeing pictures of yourself all the time. I’ve even heard some people say they look at themselves more on social media than they do in the mirror. That may not be true for everyone, but I think it’s certainly an issue of our times,” Dr. Whitman says.
So what can you do if your selfies are getting you down?
1. Position the camera at a flattering angle. Hold the camera above your head and point downward instead of below your chin to take off pounds and avoid double chin syndrome.
2. Adjust lighting and filters. Practice taking shots with different levels of light. Most camera apps and Instagram also come with an array of filters to adjust brightness, colors and tones, along with an array of special affects.
3. Use a selfie stick. Photos taken up close can exaggerate facial imperfections. By moving the camera a few feet away, you end up with a more realistic and balanced depiction of your face.
As Dr.Whitman explains, “You can take an unflattering picture of the most beautiful model in the world by taking it too close and from underneath the chin. The same holds true with selfies, where people snap photos at bad angles and too close up. On the other hand, people may notice issues about their appearance that can be fixed or improved upon.”
Consider a cosmetic procedure or plastic surgery.
While getting anti-aging cosmetic injections or surgery may sound extreme to some, a recent study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery revealed a 6 to 10 percent increase in requests for rhinoplasty, hair transplants and eyelid surgery.
The surgeons also attributed a portion of this increase (13 percent of patients) to people wanting to look better in selfies. In addition, one in three of the surgeons surveyed also agreed patients are more aware of how they look due to time spent on social media.
Want to enhance your eyes or eyelids? An oculoplastic specialist is the safest option
According to Dr. Whitman, “One of the benefits of choosing an oculoplastic surgeon or an ophthalmologist who specializes in surgery around the eyes and eyelids is they know how to do surgery around the eyes and eyelids safely. When surgery is done around the eyes improperly, you can experience chronic problems, such eyes that don’t close all the way, poor symmetry and dry eye issues.”
Not only are oculoplastic surgeons trained in the cosmetic aspects of plastic surgery, they are also trained in areas other surgeons don’t perform. The skin around the eye is different than the face, it’s thinner and more sensitive, so it’s important to turn to a surgeon who specializes in that area.
“Oculoplastic surgeons undergo extensive training to diagnose and treat tumors in and near the eye, orbital fractures, problems related to trauma and congenital problems that cause droopy or baggy eyelids. It’s not easy to do, and it really is artwork,” says Dr. Whitman.
The two most common cosmetic procedures Key-Whitman oculoplastic surgeons perform today are to correct baggy and droopy eyelids. Many people looking at cosmetic eye surgery also want to treat the wrinkles around the eye and forehead. Those are easy to take care of with Botox and fillers.
“Patients have to decide, do they want to look like someone else, correct a defect and/or enhance their appearance? If you do want to look like someone else, counseling prior to surgery is especially important. I’ve found people are very rarely happy when they get surgery for that reason,” cautions Dr. Whitman.
On the other hand, if you have a defect from an old scar or droopy eyelids or bags that run in the family, a surgical procedure may be a good option for you. Says Dr. Whitman, “Our oculoplastic surgeons can help improve your appearance. And by that I mean who you really look like and how your friends know you to look.”
Any type of surgery comes with risks and the decision to proceed should be taken seriously, especially when you’re quite young. “It’s the responsibility of the eye doctor and the patient’s family (especially when minors are involved), to discuss whether there is a good reason to do the surgery, both psychologically and physically,
You need to be old enough to make that decision as well. For example, if it’s a cosmetic procedure, and the patient is 14 years old, the teen, parents and surgeon need to have a longer conversation about expectations and risks. If it is a congenital issue with the eyes or eyelids that can be fixed, than by all means do it,” Dr. Whitman says.
“Of any area of the body, the risk of infection is lowest in the facial skin, eyelids, etc., because it is so vascular. People have lots of blood vessels in the face. That’s why skin grafts, lid grafts and other procedures in those areas heal so well,” says Dr. Whitman.
For this same reason, hemorrhaging and bruising are not uncommon. As Dr. Whitman explains, “Because there are so many blood vessels, there typically is quite a bit of bruising following surgery around the eyes, so people have to be prepared following eye or eyelid surgery.
They are going to have bruising lasting 3 to 4 weeks. Green-based make up and vitamin E creams are helpful during healing time.”
If you’ve had previous surgery on your eyes, it could affect the outcome of a second surgery, too. “People who have had previous surgery need to be honest with their surgeon about past surgeries. There may not be enough tissue to actually get the correction you want, and you could get a disappointing or problematic outcome,” Dr. Whitman says.
Cost may be a consideration, but insurance covers many eye and eyelid surgery procedures
Some droopy eyelid problems, also known as ptosis, are also covered by insurance, because the upper eyelids are so droopy they interfere with the patient’s visual field.
If there is enough bagginess in the lower lids weighing them down, the weight can actually pull the eyelid away from the eyeball, which can cause dry eye problems. Insurance often covers this condition, known as ectropion, as well.
Not sure whether eye or eyelid surgery is worth it, just to take a better selfie? Get the facts about oculoplastic surgery before you make a decision. An experienced oculoplastic surgeon can help you weigh your options and advise you about the benefits and risks associated with cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery.
Photo Source: Dollar Photo Club