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African Americans Show Facial Aging in Eyes Earlier Than Caucasians

Often a Decade Sooner, ASPS Study Says

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While it is no secret African Americans' skin may keep its youthful appearance longer than other ethnicities, many people don't know African Americans show facial aging in the outer corner of the eyes earlier than Caucasians, according to March's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery(R) (PRS), the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). In fact, African Americans require extra attention to their eyes because of their particular ethnic characteristics.

"African Americans have a slight slant to their eyes, much like Asians do but not as pronounced," said Julius Few, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study co-author. "During aging, we found not only do the outer corners of the eyes of African Americans droop lower than Caucasians, they also droop sooner."

In the study, the median eye slant for African American women aged 45 years or younger was 3 degrees and decreased to 1 degree for those older than 45. The median eye slant in Caucasian women aged 45 years or younger was 1.3 degrees and decreased to 0 for those older than 45. While the forehead and eyebrow areas of Caucasian women tend to drop a decade earlier than African American women, the aging effects to the outer corner of the eye is exactly opposite.

With aging, the outer corner of the eye droops down, making under-eye bags more noticeable, lower lids looser and aging more evident. During an eye lift, if the outer corner is not raised up enough to recreate the slant, many African American patients will feel their ethnically unique features have been changed.

"On top of honoring their ethnic uniqueness, one of the biggest concerns African American women have is their tendency to show scars," said Dr. Few. "By going through the inside of the lower eyelid and hiding a small scar in the upper eyelid crease during a lift, the scarring will not be visible."

In 2006, more than 233,000 eyelid surgeries were performed in the U.S., according to the ASPS. More than 783,000 cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed on African Americans in 2006.

Visit for referrals to ASPS Member Surgeons and to learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 6,700 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 90 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

SOURCE American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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