Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but in the quest for perfection, the beholder may be holding calipers and a ruler.

According to Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon Brian Kinney, MD, physicians can use proportions practiced by architects and artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci as a guide for plastic surgery.

Kinney says that, based on ideal proportions, the face is divided vertically into thirds, with one third from the hairline to the top of the eyebrow, another third from the eyebrow to the base of the nose, and the final third from the base of the nose to the chin.

Looking at the face horizontally, Kinney says the ideal proportion from each ear to the side of the eye is about one fifth, each eye is one fifth, and the proportion between the eyes is one fifth.

There are also other preferred proportions, says Kinney, such as an appealing angle between the bottom of the nose and the lip and, of course, the symmetry of both halves of the face. Looking at just the lower third of the face, the distance from the base of the nose to the upper lip should be one third of that space and from the lower lip to the base of the chin two thirds.

Kinney says perfection is overrated.

“The numbers aren’t critical in the sense that if you don’t have them, you’re not pretty,” he says. “As plastic surgeons, we need to be very careful that we don’t overemphasize looks or allow our patients to overemphasize looks.”

[www.mysanantonio.com, July 20, 2006]