South Korea has the largest plastic surgery count per capita around the world, coming in at over 980,000 recorded procedures in 2014 alone. The idea of double eyelid surgery is far from new in the culture. It is often recognized as a gift, since parents will gift the procedure to their children following their high school graduation, and preceding their transition into a university.
“Eyelid surgery is obviously the most popular surgery,” said Dr. Hang-Seok Choi, a South Korean plastic surgeon, in an interview with Tech Insider. “Most Koreans don’t have a double eyelid line, so in that case, sometimes they look sleepy and tired.”
Monolid eyes are very common in Asian countries, and South Korea in particular. Some view the crease from double lids as a sign of beauty that opens up the eye area. Some argue this concept is an idealization that comes from Western perceptions of beauty standards, but as Dr. Choi began to say, some are just trying to avoid the appearance of sleepiness. Plastic surgeon Man Koon Suh added on to this, tacking on that some people “will look angry when they do not smile.” The extra space having a crease gives can make it easier to see expression.
“Many Asian people believe that the first impression is very important, and the most important part of the face is the eyes,” Dr. Suh continued. “So, when they have double eyelid surgery, their eye size becomes bigger.”
Double eyelid surgery is called Blepharoplasty, and is the cheapest form of plastic surgery, coming in at $1,000-$3,000, with a relatively low recovery time required afterward. This is a pretty low cost for a procedure they believe will result in a better appearance. Beauty is viewed as an advantage in Korean culture, especially with the large population and crowded living conditions. The job market is unpredictable, and with the commonly held belief parents hold that a beautiful face is always chosen first in the job market, this surgery seems a great middle ground.
Dr. Suh emphasizes that this isn’t always the case, but the belief that beauty is the key to open doors in life keeps the market for the procedure high. South Korea is referred to as “the plastic surgery capital of the world,” and this is one of the procedures that help the nation keep this title.
Plastic eyelid surgery is a Korean beauty trend viewed as a gift, and shows the competitive nature of life in South Korea. Whether or not this trend sparks controversy in other nations, or if it a belief others don’t hold, it is a matter central to South Korea, and helps give parents and graduates a peace of mind, if they fear trouble in their future careers or in everyday life.
Photo courtesy of Soko Glam