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More Korean-Americans Undergoing Eye-Altering Surgery

By: Dr. Christopher Khorsandi


Standards of beauty are different in every country. Western culture might focus on rock-hard abs or trimming a bit of tummy fat here and there, but in countries like Korea beauty is judged on a more subtle scale.

Many Koreans are born without an eyelid crease, meaning there is no lip in the connecting tissue between the eyelid and the skin beneath the brow. One of the most popular plastic surgeries in Korea is blepharoplasty, which adds a crease to the eyelid.

One misconception about the procedure is that it is intended to make the patient look “more white” by changing the appearance of the eye. In reality, larger eyes are simply more attractive in Korean culture.

While the procedure is extremely popular in Korea, it is only now starting to makes its way to America. Every year more and more Korean-Americans are opting for the surgery.

Blepharoplasty has become so popular in America that some surgeons have built their businesses around the procedure. Many of these surgeons, based largely in California, claim the procedure results in “scarless folds,” “naturalness to the creases,” and “fast recovery.”

Despite its relative ubiquity, the surgery has also become somewhat controversial. Very few Koreans or Korean-Americans who have undergone the procedure will talk about it readily.

This reticence could stem from a desire to maintain the old Korean tradition that a child is a representation of their parents. Any change to the child is therefore a reflection on the parents. Plastic surgery, while incredibly popular in Korea, has yet to be fully accepted by the aging population.

Young Koreans and Korean-Americans are not quite as rooted in tradition, though, and seek out blepharoplasty as a way to gain confidence and acceptance among peers. The surgery is especially popular among women, who are often looking to present a more professional and youthful appearance in an already harsh job market.

Regardless of your heritage, the choice to undergo an elective procedure rests solely with you: the patient. If you’re considering undergoing blepharoplasty, weigh if the procedure is really necessary for you. And don’t feel bad if the answer that comes back is “yes.”

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.