It would have been unimaginable decades ago. Especially in Asian countries that are known to be conservative, invasive cosmetic surgery used to be taboo. Aside from oriental beliefs in the sanctity of the body and respecting the natural gifts of gods, very few Asians would actually spend considerable resources just for vanity.
Apparently, the landscape has changed substantially as Asians now flock into cosmetic clinics and beauty salons as much as their Western counterparts. In fact, highly conservative countries like Korea and Singapore are now globally renowned for some of the more advanced cutting-edge medical and healthcare services in the world including its state-of-the-art facial surgery procedures and technologies.
One of the most popular plastic surgery procedure in Korea and Singapore is eyelid surgery. And the same seem to be true elsewhere in the world as the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic claims that 1.4 million people have eyelid surgery every year round the globe. Singapore and Korean double eyelid surgery has been so popular that many doctors claimed a growing ‘obsession’ among parents who have their kids undergo such procedure before college and sometimes even earlier.
Double eyelid surgery, technically called blepharoplasty or eye lift surgery, is a series of short invasive procedures that reduces bagginess from lower eyelids and removes excess skin from the upper eyelids for both cosmetic purposes and as a way to improve sight among older people whose sagging upper eyelids get in the way of their vision.
However, double eyelid surgery in Korea and Singapore used to be highly controversial procedures. A few decades ago, many Asians believed that the cosmetic surgery, particularly around the eye, simply makes patients look ‘less Asian’ and is therefore a symbol of Western complex which suggests America’s cultural dominance over the orient. Worse, historians record that eyelid surgery among Koreans and Singaporeans were common in the sex trade industry during the war since many Korean girls wanted to increase their appeal to American GIs and therefore opted to have their eyes surgically improved. Many other Koreans and Singaporeans married to American are even believed to undergo double eye surgery in order to fit in their adopted home in the US.
Of science gradually changed a lot of this bias as it slowly proved the health benefits of eyelid surgery. Many scientists also claim the eyelid surgery is popular not only because people generally want to look more beautiful but because the procedure has had noted health benefits.
Furthermore, many cultural critics suggest that cosmetic eyebrow lifting do not necessarily change Asian features of people who undergo the operation since other dominant Asian features like small faces and perky noses will remain distinct Asian features. Cosmetic surgeons also claim that the specifics of the surgery for double eyelid in Singapore and Korea vary individually, depending on patient’s needs. Some only have surgery on their upper or lower eyelids. Others have surgery on both or what is referred to as double eyelid surgery. Some procedures even involve fat or repositioning and flattening of hollow areas and all these variations have different effects.
Although double eyelid surgery in Korea is primarily a beautification procedure which makes a person look more refreshed and young, there are also scientific evidences that prove that eyelid surgery also improves vision and treats treat ptosis, a condition characterized by drooping and sagging in the upper eyelids, which can obstruct vision. Apparently, lifting the upper lid removes excess skin and tissue to expands line of sight and generally improve vision and thus the valid appeal of the operation especially among older people.