Eyelid Surgery Recovery: Tips + What To Expect
Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is an outpatient surgical procedure with most patients experiencing a relatively short and simple downtime.
However, it is important to realize that the process of recovering from blepharoplasty can vary from patient to patient. There are several factors that can affect recovery including the patient’s pain tolerance, their general health, their body’s natural recovery response, and the surgical technique performed (i.e. a patient who undergoes both upper and lower blepharoplasty may have a longer recovery period compared to patient who only undergoes lower blepharoplasty).
This post will seek to provide a basic understanding of the average blepharoplasty recovery timeline, as well as some tips to make your recovery faster and easier.
Recovery Milestones & Restrictions
2-3 days following surgery: Some patients may experience nausea or grogginess from the anesthesia utilized during the procedure. Nausea can be minimized with medication if the patient has a history of this type of reaction. The eyes may feel tight, hot, or tender during this period. Patients may also experience mild pain and discomfort which can be managed using prescribed medication. Many patients may experience blurred vision and minor sight impairments. Depending on the procedure performed, gauze or protective bandages may need to be worn over the eyes. Patients may also begin to experience itching sensations at the incision sites. This is a normal part of the healing process which may last for a couple of weeks. Patients should avoid rubbing or itching the eyelids until they are fully healed.
1 week following surgery: Patients may have experienced continued bruising and swelling, however pain and discomfort should be minimal. While sight becomes clearer, patients are still advised to try and avoid activities that dry out the eyes like extended reading or television watching. Stitches are typically removed by your surgeon or are fully dissolved by the end of this period.
10 days after surgery: At this point most patients are able to return to work and normal daily activities like extended reading or TV watching. However strenuous activities should continue to be avoided. Both vision blurring and pain is minimal, however some light bruising and swelling may remain.
2-3 weeks following surgery: Swelling and bruising around the eyes begins to fade away. Most patients can begin wearing eye makeup and contact lenses. Patients can participate in more strenuous exercises and activities (except for contact sports). Some individuals may continue to experience fatigue and notice that their eyes tire easily.
4-6 weeks following surgery: Patients begin to see the final results of their procedure as most or all swelling and bruising dissipates. Most patients are fully recovered and all restrictions are lifted.
Video: My Eyelid Surgery Recovery
Tips for a Speedy Blepharoplasty Recovery
- Always follow all post-procedure instructions provided by your surgeon.
- Attend all post-op appointments as scheduled by your provider.
- Give yourself ample time off from work.
- Find a good caregiver to help you during the first week. If you have young children, you’ll likely need help with them.
- Do not wear contacts until cleared by your provider (glasses are fine).
- Avoid consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or taking medications that are not cleared by your surgeon.
- Use an ice pack or cold compress to help address bruising/swelling.
- Sleep with your head elevated.
- Get lots of rest and sleep.
- Eat light and healthy foods and drink lots of water.
- Avoid over-exertion by getting lots of rest throughout the day.
Additional Eyelid Surgery Recovery Resources
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- RealSelf.com Eyelid Surgery Recovery Forum
- Eyelid Surgery Recovery Recommended Shopping List
- The Aesthetic Society
- Great Blog Post On Recovery by Jade Capri