Recovery after Eyelid Surgery – Healing after Blepharoplasty

Eyelid Lift Surgery – Tips for Recovering After Blepharoplasty

  • How long does it take to recover after eyelid surgery?
  • When can I get back to work after blepharoplasy?
  • Is the recovery period painful after eyelid surgery?

Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, can change the appearance of your eyes by getting rid of excess skin, muscle, and fat. It is one of the most common types of plastic surgery. The surgery can help by resolving droopy eyelids, sagging brows, and bags underneath your eyes. This blog covers how to have a smoother recovery after Eyelid Surgery in order to get the best results.

Dr Michael Kernohan is a renowned specialist plastic surgeon performing eyelid surgery in Sydney’s Southwest Suburbs and the Southern Highlands. He is committed to delivering the best possible results to his patients.

Download Dr Michael Kernohan’s Blepharoplasty Guide

Guide Blepharoplasty

About Eyelid Surgery Recovery

So, you just had eyelid surgery or are planning to get one. For starters, you will have tiny incisions in your eyelid that require proper care. You will probably feel tight and sore around the eye area. Apart from that, your eyes might become watery, dry, sticky, itchy, sensitive, or all of the above. Don’t worry, as it is fairly normal and part of the recovery process. Your vision may also be blurry for a couple of days, combined with slight pain and discomfort. Your surgeon will give you medication to aid comfort.

It is critical to keep your eyes and eyelid clean at all times. Do not rub them. Follow all the instructions given by your surgeon when it comes to cleaning and caring for your eyes. You will experience bruising and swelling for about two weeks after the surgery. Your stitches will dissolve on their own in a matter of 3 to 5 days post-surgery.

Most of the bruising will fade away in a few weeks’ time. The overall appearance of your eyes will gradually become better over the course of three months. Most people can return back to their work in a matter of 10 to 14 days after eyelid surgery. You might need to use some eye drops to keep them moist during the recovery phase. It makes the healing process more comfortable.

Factors That Influence Eyelid Surgery Recovery

It is important to understand that recovery is different for different people. While there are certain similar aspects, it can still be drastically different based on the following factors:

  • Your Age
  • Overall health and fitness
  • Quality and elasticity of your skin
  • Your body’s tendency to bruise
  • Overall pain tolerance
  • How often you follow the postoperative instructions
  • Type of eyelid surgery- upper or lower blepharoplasty or both
  • Whether you have had additional procedures done at the time of surgery or not

Your Guide for Eyelid Surgery Recovery

Choosing a top plastic surgeon for your eyelid surgery is only half the effort. The other half lies in how well you take care of yourself post-surgery. We have prepared some tips that will help you:

1. Activities during Eyelid Surgery Recovery

Follow these tips to help have a shorter recovery

  • Have plenty of rest and sleep. Adequate rest and sleep will help you recover faster.
  • Sleep with your head slightly elevated. Keep 2 or 3 pillows stacked under your head while sleeping.
  • Do not start driving again without consulting your surgeon first.
  • Avoid a lot of reading, watching television or using your phone for the first two weeks after the surgery. It can put a strain on your eyes.
  • Do not wear contact lenses for two weeks or until your surgeon gives you instructions.
  • Avoid using face cream and lotion as they can irritate your eyes and eyelids.
  • Take special care while washing your face or showering, and make sure that hair products don’t get in your eyes.
  • Do not rub your eyes for at least a week post-surgery.
  • Avoid bending over and lifting heavy weights for two weeks after the treatment.
  • No swimming, hot tubs, or saunas.
  • Avoid strenuous exercises for two weeks to a month after the surgery.
  • Wear sunglasses for at least three months after the surgery while going out.

2. Medication during Your Eyelid Surgery Recovery

Never skip or alter your medication without consulting your surgeon. If you want to have a smooth, pain-free recovery, take your medications on time

Avoid taking any blood-thinning medications without consulting with your surgeon, as it can lead to bruising.

Follow your surgeon’s instructions when it comes to using eye drops and antibiotic ointments. Here is the right way to use these:

  • Tilt your head backward and lower your eyelid gently with the help of one finger
  • Gently drop the medicine to your eyes and close your eye for sixty seconds
  • Avoid touching the dropper tip as it can lead to infections

3. Incision Care & Healing during Recovery

  • If your eyes are covered with a bandage, keep it on for as long as the surgeon recommends
  • Keep the treatment site clean and dry at all times. Keeping the area overly moist can lead to infections
  • Use a cold pack on your eye to reduce swelling. Do not overdo it. Make sure to wrap the ice in a towel
  • Always attend our follow-up appointments to ensure everything is fine

4. Watch for These Warning Signs After an Eyelid Surgery

Here is a list of a few instances in which you need to contact your surgeon immediately:

  • There is a loss of consciousness at any time post-surgery
  • It is difficult to breathe
  • You are experiencing chest pain and coughing up blood
  • Your pain is getting unbearable despite taking painkillers prescribed by your surgeon
  • Your stitches are becoming loose
  • Bleeding from the incisions site occurs
  • You experience increased pain, swelling, bruising, and warmth
  • There is an infection on the surgical site
  • You get a fever
  • There are changes in your vision
  • You are not getting better over time as expected

Recovery Timeline Post Blepharoplasty Surgery

It is easier to go through the recovery period when you know what to expect. Here is what your recovery period will look like post-surgery:

24 Hours after the Eyelid Surgery

  • Once your anaesthesia wears off, you will be allowed to return to your home. Most likely, your eyes will be covered with a bandage and light gauze. So, you need someone to drive you home after the surgery. Make sure you have arranged this in advance.
  • Avoid any physical activity for the first 24 hours post-surgery. Bed rest is best and keep your head elevated. Try staying still while laying down. Your eyelids will feel swollen and tight as soon as the anaesthesia wears off. This condition is most prominent during the first three days after surgery.
  • Use eye drops/ointments as prescribed by your surgeon. Take your pain killers on time if you wish to have a smooth pain free recovery.
  • Use a cold pack to help reduce swelling. Avoid applying ice directly to your eyes as it can cause an ice burn. Always wrap it in a towel and do it for five to ten minutes at a time. Don’t overdo it.

1-2 Weeks After the Eyelid Surgery

  • You will still have puffiness and swelling around your eyes. It usually subsides within a period of two weeks.
  • The incisions around the eyes will be pinkish-red in colour.
  • Your eyelids will be numb for several days. It is fairly normal after any kind of plastic surgery.
  • Your eyes will be extremely sensitive to light. Hence, cutting down on your screen time is essential.
  • Your eyes might be watery or dry. It varies from person to person.
  • Some patients may have a black eye appearance due to bruising. Ensure that you are not taking any blood-thinning medications as they can worsen the appearance.
  • Elevating your head while sleeping, drinking loads of water, rest, a healthy diet, sun protection, timely administration of medication and care will help you recover faster.

2 Weeks Post Eyelid Surgery

  • You will be able to return back to work two weeks after the surgery. The two week’s break gives you plenty of time to rest and recover.
  • Avoid straining your eyes excessively for at least a month post-surgery; reading, watching TV/Phone can strain your eyes.
  • Most patients can resume light activity two weeks post-surgery. It includes light walking, doing house chores comfortably. Always double-check with your surgeon prior to resuming your extensive exercise routine.
  • After 3 to 4 weeks, your surgeon will allow you to wear light makeup. It is still recommended to avoid waterproof mascaras and heavy glitter shadows.
  • Do wear sunglasses to protect your eyes against sunlight and wind.

Eyelid Surgery Recovery FAQs

Here are some questions about blepharoplasty surgery recovery:

How long does it take to recover from blepharoplasty surgery?

  • You can return back to work around two weeks after the eyelid surgery. However, your eyes will continue to heal and improve over a three month period. Please note that the initial recovery period can vary for different patients.

What is the fastest way to recover from a blepharoplasty?

  • Here are a few tips that will help you recover faster from a blepharoplasty:
    • Use an ice pack to reduce swelling and discomfort
    • Take all the medications prescribed by your doctor on time
    • Use eye drops regularly
    • Rest a lot as it helps speed up the recovery phase
    • Wear sunscreen and use sunglasses to protect your eyes

How long do eyelids stay red after blepharoplasty?

  • It is common to experience redness and swelling after blepharoplasty. It will take around two weeks to diminish.

What can I expect after blepharoplasty surgery?

  • Bruising and swelling are very common after blepharoplasty. You may also have some redness around the eyes with increased sensitivity.

Can I sleep on my side after eyelid surgery?

  • No, you should avoid sleeping on your side after surgery. Sleep on your back with your head elevated. Stacking a couple of pillows under your head can help.

When can I wash my hair after blepharoplasty?

  • Patients can typically wash their hair a few days after blepharoplasty. Avoid getting the shampoo in your eyes.

How long does bruising last after blepharoplasty?

  • Most of the bruising will be gone in a matter of two weeks after blepharoplasty. However, in some cases, it can take about 3 to 4 weeks after the surgery.

How soon can I wear makeup after blepharoplasty?

  • You need to wait for several weeks before wearing eye makeup. For the first two weeks, avoid wearing it completely. Make sure to confirm with your surgeon before wearing makeup.

Can you watch TV after eyelid surgery?

  • Dr Kernohan suggests avoid watching TV for a while after the surgery.

How long do stitches stay in after blepharoplasty?

  • Sutures will dissolve within 5-7 days after the surgery.

What can I put on my scars after eyelid surgery?

  • It is advised to use a topical silicone-based scar cream to reduce scars after the surgery once your eyelids are fully healed.

How do you treat scars after eyelid surgery?

  • There are different scar treatments available, make sure to ask your doctor about them.

How do you wash your face after blepharoplasty?

  • Gently is the answer! Avoid rubbing your eyes. Be gentle with your face till you are fully healed.

Further Reading about Eyelid Surgery with Dr Kernohan

Further Reading – Medical References about Recovery after Eyelid Surgery