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The Debate Over Eyelid Operations

February 04, 1996

I was deeply saddened to learn so many Asian women feel a need to westernize their looks with eyelid surgery ("Eye of the Beholder," Jan. 23). I don't fault anyone for wanting to change their appearance, but I seriously question the motive when the desire is merely to look more "American."

Julie Akahori looks beautiful in both photos you printed, and her own particular reasons for performing the surgery are understandable, but who's to say one look is better than the other?

Your article was remiss in not even mentioning the risks or side effects, including eye damage, that do occur, albeit rarely, when any kind of eyelid surgery is performed.

MIKE MAINS

Los Angeles

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If someone thinks that folds in upper eyelids are privileges of Western people, he or she hasn't seen enough Asian people. I was born with folds in my upper eyelids, and so was my wife. There are a lot of Asian people born with beautiful eyes with folds in their upper eyelids.

Most of those who choose to have surgery were not around Western people. They had enough friends or relatives to show them that folds in the upper eyelids would make their eyes more attractive.

The standard of body beauty is similar regardless of Eastern or Western culture. To want to look one's best is natural. A person does not need to have self-hate or want to look like somebody to decide to have cosmetic surgery.

DAVID PENG

Rancho Palos Verdes

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I've dated women of every ethnic background. I have one word of advice for any Asian woman thinking of eyelid surgery--don't.

Every woman is a work of art and to change anything after the artist is finished is wrong. I've said the same thing about breast augmentation surgery when lady friends have brought up that topic.

I'm currently dating a Vietnamese woman, and this topic of eyelid surgery has come up (she being the initiator). My response was, "I don't think you should do this, but you have to do what is best for you."

What is best for these Asian women contemplating this surgery? Being "vanilla-ized" and almost indistinguishable from the crowd, or reveling in a beautiful uniqueness?

ROBERT D. SWITZER

San Diego

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