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  • Chris Thiagarajah MD

From Bedroom Eyes to Presidential Ones: Did Hillary Clinton have eyelid surgery?


As an eyelid specialist in Denver, one of the side effects of being an oculoplastic surgeon is that you tend to notice people’s eyelids. Generally, this is because we analyze eyelids every day all day for years. It is hard not to notice the eyelids of patients as we walk through life, watching TV, at the gym, or at a sporting event. I can pick up on certain eyelid diseases with just a fraction of a second of a view of their face. I am not sure if it is a good skill to have outside my professional life.

During this presidential election cycle on of the things I noticed is that Hilary Clinton’s eyelids have a different appearance when she was a First lady in the 90s compared to now. Let’s look at some photos.



In these photos Hillary had ptosis. These are from an interview in 1992 on the today show. If you watch the video which is available on the internet you can see that her eyes are half closed. The normal light reflex you see from the lighting from a camera is not visible. Drooping eyelids are referred to as ptosis. It seems that her eyelids were certainly droopier before and after surgery. Drooping eyelids create the appearance of sleepiness and fatigue. Sometimes, it can interfere with vision and how we see. Over time drooping eyelids become worse and the eyelids will tend to shut. Lets take a look Hillary Clinton from photos in the 2000s.



As can be seen in these photos her eyelids are much more open. The surgery to repair this involves tightening the eyelid muscle which opens the eye. It is one of the most common procedures that I do. This is different than a blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) which involves just removing skin from the eyelids. The result of ptosis surgery is that the eyes are more open. Why would Hillary Clinton have ptosis repair? Well, studies have shown that at 67, Hillary Clinton looks less than her stated age to voters. This may be critical for an elected official. Open eyes convey alertness, youth, power. This is critical to convey to voters for a position such as a president. It would be no surprise that opening her eyelids may contribute to her success. Age and strength are important in voters minds. Subconciously, it may communicate to people that "I am strong, alert and young". Ptosis repair in patients along with vision improvement may be useful in older patients in the workplace who want to convey youth...It seems that Hillary Clinton believes so. Donald Trump may also be attempting the same thing with a spray tan but that is just conjecture.


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