Eyelid Surgery Recovery

How To Care For Your Eyes After Eyelid Surgery

Blepharoplasty woman. Credit: Media for Medical / Contributor / Getty Images

A blepharoplasty is eyelid surgery that improves the appearance of the upper or lower eyelids, or both. It is performed to treat loose of sagging skin that can impair vision or remove bags under the eyes or excess skin and fine wrinkles. The blepharoplasty procedure is usually done in an outpatient facility. For the upper eyelids, an incision will be made into the folds of the eyelid and excess skin, muscle and fat will be removed.

The incision will be sealed. For the lower eyelid, an incision will be made below the eye’s natural crease, below the lashes, or in the inside of the lower lid. The excess fat will be removed or redistributed as well as the muscle and sagging skin. The incision will be sealed. The procedure is usually takes less than two hours, depending on the amount of tissue being removed and the type of surgery.

After a blepharoplasty, patients will need to avoid driving for 24 hours after the procedure. Patients may be advised to use cold compresses on the eyes after surgery as well as the day after to reduce swelling.

After a Blepharoplasty Procedure

After the procedure, the following steps may be suggested by the surgeon:

  • Cleansing the eyelids gently
  • Using prescribed eyedrops or ointments
  • Avoiding strenuous activities
  • Avoiding heavy lifting
  • Avoiding swimming
  • Avoiding rubbing the eyes
  • Not wearing contact lenses
  • Wearing darkly tinted sunglasses
  • Sleeping with the head raised higher than the chest
  • Applying cool compresses to reduce swelling
  • Avoiding blood thinning medications

A few days after the procedure, patients may need to return to the surgeon to have stitches removed.

Recovery after a Blepharoplasty Procedure

Patients may temporarily experience the following conditions after a blepharoplasty procedure:

  • Bruising
  • Blurred vision from the ointment that will need to be applied to the eyes after the procedure
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Double vision
  • Puffiness
  • Pain
  • Sticky, dry eyes


Bruising is typical but can be expected to resolve over the course of two weeks. Strenuous activity should be avoided for ten days to two weeks after the procedure. Uneven swelling (more on one side than the other) is also normal. Swelling may increase during the first 48 hours after surgery and will gradually subside thereafter. There may be an increase in swelling in the mornings -– this will also slowly decrease as the day progresses. Most patients take the day of surgery and the day after surgery off. Some take more days, depending on how they feel and the degree of physical activity required at work. Surgical incisions take several months to fully mature.

A post-operative appointment is usually scheduled for a week after surgery, to remove stitches, and several months later to evaluate the results.

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