Changes in ocular globe-to-orbital rim position with age: Implications for aesthetic blepharoplasty of the lower eyelids

Joel E. Pessa, Lisa D. Desvigne, Val S. Lambros, Jennifer Nimerick, Binu Sugunan, Vikram P. Zadoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Changes in the relationship of the anterior globe to the orbital rim, orbital fat, and cheek mass are examined in the present study. Two groups of individuals (N = 28) were studied, young versus old, using three-dimensional computer tomography. A computer-derived soft tissue reformat of the data allowed the anterior-posterior changes to be evaluated at the midpupillary plane. Analysis of the data brings to light two important changes which occur with aging. First, the orbital rim moves posteriorly relative to the anterior cornea with age (p = 0.0007). This is important because overresection of orbital fat during lower blepharoplasty accentuates the proptotic appearance of the eye which occurs naturally with age due to orbital remodeling. A second finding is that there is a tendency for the cheek mass to move posteriorly with age relative to the anterior cornea (p = 0.0038). The negative vector, a warning sign for lower blepharoplasty, becomes more common with advancing age. It is suggested that the presence of a negative vector is a sign of generalized maxillary hypoplasia. Certain individuals with a negative vector can be further identified preoperatively by the clinical triad of scleral show, prominent medial fat, and a prominent nasojugal crease. These individuals likewise exhibit maxillary hypoplasia and may be more prone to complications after blepharoplasty. Lastly, a summated model of skeletal remodeling is presented. The significant points are as follows: (1) contrary to previous work, the craniofacial skeleton remodels throughout adulthood, (2) changes in the skeletal architecture impart their effects on the overlying soft tissues, and (3) facial aging is a summation of both hard and soft tissue changes which occur throughout life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-342
Number of pages6
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999


  • Aging
  • Lower lid blepharoplasty
  • Ocular globe and orbital rim changes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Changes in ocular globe-to-orbital rim position with age: Implications for aesthetic blepharoplasty of the lower eyelids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this