A miracle happened last week. A teenage son looked up from his screen and noticed that his mother looked fantastic. “Wow mum, you look so fresh!” His word were received with delight and swiftly reported back to Dr Estrella Fernández, the oculoplastic surgeon responsible for the sunny transformation.
We meet the doctor at her clinic in central Palma. We’re expecting a lab coat and mask. Instead she receives us with coffee and chocolates in a floaty pink shirt patterned with penguins. After more than two decades working in ophthalmic plastic surgery and facial rejuvenation there is little she can’t do. She’s not boastful about her mastery though. On the contrary, she tells us humility is fundamental for continued learning. Her sage advice peppers our conversation.
She chose oculoplastics for its enriching combination of knowledge and creativity. Her specialty is rejuvenation. Dr Fernández is so meticulous in her labour that she achieves that a patient’s face not only looks ten or fifteen years younger, but it also functions as it once would have too.
Diagnosis is key. Each face that passes through her elegant office is committed to an in depth study. She reviews eyelids, eyebrows, temples, cheeks and all the underlying tissue and ligaments holding, or failing to hold, all the components together. “My treatments are completely tailored to each person,” she says. She even asks patients to bring in photos of their younger selves to examine. The goal is an enduring and natural look. “The most beautiful gaze is the original one,” she says. “It’s a tragedy when a face loses its naturalness.”
Dr Fernández observes the excessive tension between my eyebrows as I interview her. “But shouldn’t we accept our imperfections?” I say, trying not to frown so deeply. She smiles. “It’s not about the small imperfections, it’s about what you transmit,” she says, “people won’t recall how many wrinkles you had or if you had one eyebrow slightly higher than the other. They will remember if you looked happy and positive or on the other hand tired and sad…”
We marvel at Before and After pictures of past clients, the vitality returning to their faces after the removal of their swollen eye bags. They are normal people who can’t reconcile themselves with the exhausted person in the mirror. “I’m so tired of people asking if I’ve had a bad night sleep,” patients often say.
“Eye bags are a hernia,” Dr Fernández says. She explains how ligaments around the eye socket weaken and fat moves down into the lower eyelid. We listen enthralled as she describes how she repairs them. “It’s called the transconjunctival approach,” she says. It requires no cuts in the skin and recovery time is brief.
We say it must take courage to do her work. Her reaction tells us there’s no need for bravery because she’s not afraid. Nor are her clients. That’s because nearly all of them have been recommended by friends who have already received a treatment by Dr Fernández. They don’t even need to open their mouths to share how pleased they are. Their faces say it all.