Blepharoplasty Recovery: Recovery After Eyelid Surgery

recovery after eyelid surgery

In today’s society, people often turn to cosmetic surgery in order to feel more confident and self-assured. Eyelid surgery is becoming increasingly popular as it can help with puffiness on the eyelids or the skin folds that affect a person’s vision. However, you should be aware of the recovery associated with undergoing blepharoplasty surgery. Recovery is comfortable for some, however, a little care post-operatively can go a long way in ensuring that everything goes smoothly for you!

An eyelid lift or blepharoplasty is a surgery that removes the excessive wrinkles and skin folds around your eyes. With this procedure, you can decrease puffiness in those areas as well as have improved vision by removing excess fat from under your lower eyelid area. 

Who is a Good Candidate for Eyelid Surgery?

The eyelids are a crucial part of the face, and many people think it’s time for them to do something about how their eyes look. The only way you’ll know what is best for your needs is if you go into your initial consultation with an open mind.

In an interview conducted among 20 individuals undergoing blepharoplasty, over half said “It was just time.” The motivations for undergoing eyelid surgery are mainly cosmetic, but occasionally have medical indications such as impaired vision. 

In order for your eyelid surgery to be deemed medically necessary, you will need to undergo a visual fields test by an Ophthalmologist.

Recovery Tips Following Eyelid Surgery

what is eyelid surgery

It’s important to follow these instructions after your blepharoplasty procedure. While recovery tends to be quite comfortable, not following your instructions can lead to complications.

The following are general post-operative care instructions that should be followed strictly in order to avoid risks of complication:

  • Wound care: A dressing is not necessary. An antibiotic ointment should be applied twice or three times a day on the suture line to avoid infection and promote healing.
  • Eye care: If you have dry eyes, apply artificial tear drops during the daytime and antibiotic ointment at night time as prescribed for an extended length of time.  Avoid contact lenses 2 weeks after surgery and use dark glasses to protect your eyes from light when returning home until they heal.
  • Pain management: Pain following a blepharoplasty procedure is usually minimal and you will leave the hospital with some mild pain killers. You may also have blurry vision, which is due to the gel used in the eye before surgery. This is completely normal so don’t worry about it!
  • Diet: It’s advised to eat soft foods and take small bites for a few days following surgery. Food like yogurt, cheese, bread, pasta, and freshly cooked vegetables are recommended. Learn more about what to eat during eyelid surgery recovery on our page, Dr Doyle’s Cosmetic Surgery Recovery Tips.
  • Know your warning signs: If you have severe and intolerable pain and change or loss of vision, you should immediately inform your surgeon. It may be due to a collection of blood around your eyes putting pressure on the eye. You should also inform your doctor if you have been coughing, vomiting, and or sneezing. This activity may increase your blood pressure and can cause bleeding at your surgery site.
  • Cold compression: Do this once every two to three hours for the first 48 hours, to help to relieve pain and swelling.

General Care Tips and Recovery Advice

  • You shouldn’t lift heavy weights for at least 2 weeks following surgery. Please avoid physically demanding activities for at least a week following surgery.
  • During your recovery, rest and sleep with your head raised above your heart. One pillow is enough to help minimise swelling at the operative site.
  • Don’t worry about swelling, it usually takes up to six weeks to resolve completely. After that, the final aesthetic outcomes can be seen. You may also have swelling on your cheeks and jawline. This will start to get better 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.

Cold Compression for Blepharoplasty Recovery

Cold compression is essential following blepharoplasty surgery to minimise pain and swelling. Here is a step by step procedure for cold compression to your eyes:

  • First, wash your hands at least for 30 seconds with soap before cold compression.
  • Then soak sterile gauze (a nurse will provide you gauze on your discharge from the hospital) in sterile saline solution. Keep it refrigerated or on ice.
  • Then, apply the prepared cold compression to your eyelid every 10 to 15 minutes on and off for the first 24 hours of surgery.

Timeline for Blepharoplasty Recovery

blepharoplasty surgery recovery

A blepharoplasty procedure is performed to remove excess fat that may have accumulated in an area below your eye by removing it under general anesthesia. Most people who get this type of surgery are happy afterwards because it helps to makes their eyes appear younger, rejuvenated, but still natural looking!

Blepharoplasty surgery is typically done on a day-surgery or one-night stay basis. The recovery following blepharoplasty can be comfortable, with most patients experiencing uncomplicated and short periods of postoperative care. 

Recovery time may vary depending on your overall health, pain threshold level, and surgeon’s operative technique. It’s important to know that recovery is different for different people.

Blepharoplasty Recovery Timeline

Week One Recovery After Eyelid Surgery 

Just after surgery, your general anaesthesia will start to wear off. You won’t feel any post-operative pain because Dr Doyle uses local anaesthetic in your eyelids at the time of surgery. 

There may be swelling in the eyelids as a result of the surgery. Any pain following the surgery is generally mild and tolerable. Prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medication will relieve your pain and swelling as necessary. Cold packs once every two to three hours for 48 hours will help to relieve pain and swelling.

General Recovery Advice

  • It’s normal to have blurry vision immediately following the surgery due to ointment in the eyes. 
  • You will require a companion to drive you home after the surgery. 
  • You should keep your head elevated in the first two weeks after surgery. This can be done by keeping a pillow underneath your  head when sleeping. You should avoid sleeping face down. 
  • If you have dry eyes, you should apply an artificial tear drop during the daytime and ointment at night time as prescribed. 
  • You should not wear contact lenses at least 2 weeks after surgery. 
  • You should wear dark glasses when returning home as you may be sensitive to light.

Showering After Blepharoplasty Surgery

Taking a shower from the neck down shouldn’t be a problem following eyelid surgery. However, it is advised to avoid contaminating your wound with water for at least 5 days following surgery. You can wash your face with cleansing wipes or a soft, water-soaked clean face washer. If you need to wash your hair, a good alternative is a dry shampoo. 

Once you start taking full showers, do not use strong chemical shampoo, rather use mild products such as baby shampoo with fewer chemical constituents.

Week Two (and After) Recovery After Eyelid Surgery

An eyelid lift or blepharoplasty usually requires five to seven days off work depending on your job. Your final recovery will take several months following your procedure. 

  • Light exercise including walking can be undertaken after the first week of surgery. 
  • The swelling usually subsides completely in six weeks. 
  • You should avoid the application of creams and makeup at the surgical site at least 2 weeks following surgery
  • High-intensity exercise like running and contact sports should be avoided for at least 3 months as it may raise blood pressure in the eyes. 

Know When to Seek Medical Attention

You should immediately consult your surgeon if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • A fever of 38°C or higher
  • Shaking chills
  • Nausea (feeling like you’re going to throw up)
  • Vomiting (throwing up)
  • Increased pain, swelling, and redness at your surgical sites that’s getting worse
  • Continuous drainage from your suture lines
  • Separation of your suture lines
  • Sudden shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Any unexplained or unexpected symptoms
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FAQs About Blepharoplasty Recovery – Eyelid Surgery Recovery Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to recover from blepharoplasty eyelid surgery?

The recovery period is different for different people. It is highly variable according to age, condition of patients’ health, condition of the skin, and quality of the skin. Most patients recover well and return to normal physical activities in around 2 weeks following blepharoplasty surgery.

What is the fastest way to recover from a blepharoplasty?

Here are some times to help you recover as quickly as possible:

  • Adequate rest will ensure you heal quickly. So, clear your schedule for a few weeks following blepharoplasty surgery.
  • Follow your post-operative instructions strictly. These instructions will guide you to uncomplicated recovery.
  • You should protect your eyes from the sun. You should wear dark glasses when returning home as you may be sensitive to light.
  • You should avoid straining, heavy lifting, and swimming for 2 weeks.
  • Stop smoking as it delays wound healing and also increases the risk of infection following surgery.
  • A nutritious diet and adequate hydration will make for a smoother recovery.
  • You should keep your head elevated following the first two weeks of surgery. This can be done by sleeping on a pillow. 
  • You should avoid sleeping face down.

How long will my eyelids stay red after blepharoplasty?

The redness around the eyelid is normal following blepharoplasty.  The redness usually starts to diminish about two weeks following surgery and at that stage, makeup can be used to cover the scars. 

What can I expect after blepharoplasty surgery?

Blepharoplasty removes excess skin and fat around your eyes to help give you a more rejuvenated and youthful appearance.

Can I sleep on my side after eyelid surgery?

You should sleep on your back following eyelid surgery, with your head elevated on a pillow. This helps to decrease swelling. Sleeping on your side will increase swelling in the lower eyelid. 

When can I wash my hair after blepharoplasty?

It is advised to avoid contaminating your wound with water for at least 5 days following surgery. Taking a shower from the neck down will not be a problem following surgery. 

How long does bruising last after blepharoplasty?

The bruising usually lasts for 2-3 weeks following surgery. In some cases, bruising can last up to a few months.

How soon can I wear makeup after blepharoplasty?

You should avoid the application of creams and makeup at the surgical site for at least the first two weeks following the surgery. Avoid direct contamination of makeup on the incision in the first week, as it may irritate your wound. Apart from the eye, you can apply makeup to the rest of your face.

How long do stitches stay in for blepharoplasty?

The skin incision is always sutured. In upper eyelid blepharoplasty, the sutures are removed in 5 or 6 days. In the case of lower eyelid blepharoplasty, the sutures are dissolvable and do not require removal. Once the incision is healed, it’s not necessary to continue with the antibiotic ointment.

What can I put on my scars after eyelid surgery?

The incision made in the eyelid will heal and fade from red to pink, ultimately ending in a white or skin-coloured scar. Proper scar care is important for a better aesthetic outcome. Silicone cream has been shown to improve the appearance of postoperative scars. You can also put sunscreen on the scar to protect against the harmful effect of UV radiation.

How do you wash your face after blepharoplasty?

Before washing your face, you should wash your hands thoroughly with warm and antibacterial soap. You should avoid contaminating the eyelid with water. You can use gauze, a washcloth or wipes to gently wash your face, below your eyelids.

Book a Consultation to Learn More About Blepharoplasty Recovery

Eyelid surgery can be a great way to inject new life into your tired eyes. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, book your initial consultation with Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr Mark Doyle.

Medical References:

About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is driven by an intense passion for helping patients achieve a happier, more beautiful self through advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.

He maintains a strong commitment to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.

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*DISCLAIMER: All information on Gold Coast Plastic Surgery website is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Results can vary significantly and depend on individual patient circumstances. All images on this website, unless specified as real patient images, are stock images used for illustrative purposes only. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your surgeon. Book a consult for details regarding your cosmetic surgery procedure.