Plastic surgery: Asian eye surgery popular around the world

Special tape to help create the illusion of double eyelids

(WJLA) - Julie Chen, the prominent television personality and host of The Talk, recently announced that she surgically reshaped her Asian eyes to look bigger. The surgery is well known in the Asian culture, but still stirs a mix of controversy and curiosity.

Blepharoplasy, or eyelid surgery, reshapes the skin around the eye with incisions and sutures to create a defined crease on the upper lid. Chen went under the knife when she was in her 20s after a former boss and a prospective agent made stinging comments about her eyes -- a decision that struck a nerve with D.C. resident Justine Chen.

"She's a great role model in terms of professionally," said Justine. "In terms of an Asian-American woman, I have mixed feelings about her.

"It's still a huge point of contention," she continues. "Did you get it done, did you not? What does it say about you, what you think about yourself, your own race?"

Costs and Cosmetic Reasons

The surgery costs about $4,000 and takes about two hours. Recovery usually takes about a week. It was once dubbed the "westernization of the eyelid", but many plastic surgeons say the procedure has evolved.

"No one comes in and says 'Oh, I want to look more American,' or 'I want to blend in better,'" said Dr. Suzanne Doud Galli, cosmetic surgeon. "They just want to accentuate what they already have."

Dr. Doud Galli says most patients want the surgery for cosmetic reasons but there are some who get it to prevent recurring eye infections due to inverted eyelashes. She also believes Korean pop stars have also influenced the Asian beauty scene in America.

Jin Young Cha had the surgery at age 15 in Korea. She had a revision at age 38 in the United States.

"When you go to Korea, it looks like everybody has the same face because we had plastic surgery," said Cha.

A Growing Trend

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, blepharoplasty is the top cosmetic procedure among Asians in America. 19-year-old Esther Ok plans to get it done this year to even out her eyelids because she has a small fold in one eye, but not the other.

"When I do makeup I have to do it differently. Just little daily things that bother me," Ok says. "It'll just help me feel more comfortable."

{ }It's a slight but controversial change -- that doesn't have everyone seeing eye to eye.

For a look at some dramatic before and after eyelid surgery photos, check out