Recovery After Eyelid Surgery – Post-op Tips and Timeline for Blepharoplasty

If you are considering eyelid surgery, (blepharoplasty), it is important that you completely understand the process of recovery as well as aftercare instructions.

While the recovery after eyelid surgery may vary, knowing the proper postoperative tips and general recovery timeline will help you know what steps to take in order to have the smoothest recovery possible.

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Why have Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)?

A blepharoplasty may be the surgery for you if you suffer from any of the following;

  • Bags under your eyes
  • Creases, wrinkles, and fine lines around your eyes
  • Eyelid Ptosis (the medical name for the drooping of the eyelid) that affects your ability to open your eyes
  • Or, excess skin on the upper or lower eyelids which impedes your vision.

Why Following Postoperative Instructions is Important

Adhering strictly to the postoperative instructions is vital in order to prevent complications like;

  • Bleeding from incision sites
  • Difficulty closing your eyes
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Infection
  • Injury to the muscles of your eye
  • Noticeable scarring
  • Poor results
  • Skin discolouration around the eye
  • Vision problems

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) Recovery Timeline

First 24 Hours

Once your surgery is done and the anaesthesia wears off, you will be able to go home. Your vision will be blurry during this time. To protect your eyes, gauze may be put over the area, as a result, you will need to have someone assist you for a few days.

As with most surgeries involving the face, you should avoid any excessive physical activity and rest as much as possible. Your eyelids may feel tight during the first 24 hours, this is a result of swelling. To reduce swelling, you should use two firm pillows to elevate your head higher than your chest. Furthermore, you should avoid sleeping on your side to prevent your eyelids from coming into contact with the surface of your bed.

First Week

During the first week, you will notice some puffiness and/or swelling around the operation site. However, this is completely normal and is an important part of the wound healing process. Furthermore, it’s important to note that blurry vision is also normal during the first week.

After 7-10 days, this should subside and you can expect to feel a significant reduction in discomfort. You may also notice that your eyelids appear pink and feel numb for a few days. In addition to this, there may be some tenderness around your eyes and you may feel sensitive to light. As a result of your light sensitivity, you will most likely want and need to wear dark sunglasses when venturing outside.

To reduce discomfort, you will receive a prescription for medication. We also suggest applying ice compresses to your eyelid area.

First Month

After 4 to 6 weeks, you will start to see the results of your eyelid surgery. During this time, you may still have some mild residual swelling around the operation site. This is because the delicate tissues and muscles in your eyelids are continuing to adjust to the effects of your surgery. Once the swelling has completely subsided, your eyelids will appear refreshed, and well-proportioned.

To help your recovery, avoid excessive screen time and rest your eyes as much as possible. You should also refrain from bending, lifting, and other activities that require straining. This is because it can increase the pressure in your eyes which also increases the blood flow to the area. You will still need to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when going outside.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Whilst, recovery from blepharoplasty may vary from patient to patient, in general, you need at least 2 weeks to recover from the procedure.

What are some tips to optimise recovery from a blepharoplasty?

  • Avoid;
    • Alcoholic beverages.
    • Prolonged sun exposure.
    • Strenuous activities.
    • Stressing or straining your eyes.
  • Do not smoke and avoid alcohol during your recovery.
  • Eat healthy foods. Fresh foods high in vitamins and proteins.
    • Lean meats and leafy greens.
  • Follow all postoperative instructions.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. And also ensure you get enough time to rest.
  • Wear dark sunglasses and a hat. Not only is this to help with light sensitivity but it is also to minimise the amount of sun exposure on your incision sites while they heal.

How long do eyelids stay red after blepharoplasty?

  • Your eyelids may look swollen and bruised for 1-3 weeks after the surgery. It should be noted, that this is normal and is part of the recovery process. However, the time depends heavily on individual skin health.

What can I expect after blepharoplasty surgery?

  • Bruising and swelling may disappear within 2 weeks while the scars can take months to fade. During your recovery period, make sure to protect your eyelids from too much sun exposure.

Can I sleep on my side after eyelid surgery?

  • It is recommended to sleep on your back during the first few days.
  • Accidentally turning to your side while sleeping shouldn’t cause serious problems as long as pressure is not applied on the operated area and you don’t aggravate your incisions.

When can I wash my hair after blepharoplasty?

  • You can generally wash your hair after 5 days.

How long does bruising last after blepharoplasty?

  • While most of the bruising will be gone after 2 weeks, some of it may persist for between 3-4 weeks.

How soon can I wear makeup after blepharoplasty?

  • During your initial recovery, you should avoid wearing make-up, the recommendation is to wait until the incisions heal.

Can you watch TV after eyelid surgery?

  • Eye strain is a concern and you may have blurry vision, as a result, you should hold off on watching tv until day 2 or 3 days.

How long do stitches stay in for blepharoplasty?

  • Dissolvable stitches will dissolve on their own while permanent stitches will be removed in 4-7 days.

What can I put on my scars after eyelid surgery?

  • To help minimise scar formation you can use scar creams, however, you should get the ok from your surgeon before you do so.
  • Usually, you will be able to apply the cream to the eye area within a few weeks post-surgery.

How do you treat scars after eyelid surgery?

  • Approximately 10-14 days post-surgery you may massage the scars, you may also try steroid taping and steroid injections into the scar tissue.

How do you wash your face after blepharoplasty?

  • During the first 24 hours, you should leave your eyes alone. However, after that, you can start cleaning your eyelids with a cotton tip applicator and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Generally, you can begin to gently wash your eyelids with water and pat them dry with a clean towel around day 3.
  • Remember not to rub your eyes for at least two weeks.

Will your scars become noticeable after blepharoplasty?

  • No, the incisions are made along the natural crease of your eyelids. This not only reduces the visibility of your scars but also ensures that your surgery is discreet.
  • Furthermore, as time goes by, the scars will lighten which makes them almost invisible to the naked eye.

Studies regarding the Health Outcomes of Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

A study was performed on female patients (range 25-73 years) who underwent upper blepharoplasty. They were instructed to answer a questionnaire 3 to 6 months before the study period. [1] To assess the results and measure visual impairment and aesthetic effects of the surgery, the Blepharoplasty Outcome Evaluation (BOE) and the Derriford Appearance Scale (DAS59) were used.

To evaluate the surgical outcomes of blepharoplasty, a total of 180 patients who underwent the surgery between January 2013 and June 2016 were randomly selected in a study. [2] The subjects answered questionnaires assessing the severity of scarring, functional and appearance issues, as well as, pain, and asymmetry. Researchers observed that most patients reported good to excellent outcomes, minimum to non-visible scarring in the eyelid area. The result of this was high to very high satisfaction rate.

Modified partial-incision double-eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) study

A study assessed the effects of modified partial-incision double-eyelid surgery in patients who had the procedure from July 2016 to September 2018. [3] In this study, a total of 100 patients were included and followed up. In the majority of the subjects, no serious complications were observed. The surgery produced stable and desired results with no visible scar and serious complications.

Improves Visual Function

Studies found that blepharoplasty may also help improve visual function by altering the shape of the eyelids.

A study evaluated the effects of upper eyelid blepharoplasty on the visual function of patients with dermatochalasis, a condition characterized by excess skin in the upper or lower eyelid. [7] Researchers observed that the subjects experienced significant improvement in visual function. Specifically, the subjects had improvements in contrast sensitivity (ability to distinguish between an object and the background behind it), astigmatism (an imperfection in eye curvature), and higher-order aberrations (specific distortions with the eye’s structure).

Another study evaluated the effects of upper lid blepharoplasty on visual quality in patients with lash ptosis (downward displacement of the eyelashes of the upper eyelid) and dermatochalasis. [8] Before and after the study, different eye parameters such as contrast sensitivity, visual acuity, and the degree of lash ptosis were assessed. After blepharoplasty, the subjects exhibited significant improvements in contrast sensitivity and reduction in lash ptosis.

A study also found that contrast sensitivity is increased in patients with dermatochalasis who had upper lid blepharoplasty. [9] In this study, twenty-eight eyelids of 14 patients showed significant increases in contrast sensitivity. This resulted in brighter vision and overall improvement in visual function.

A study conducted on patients with astigmatism found that upper eyelid surgery can help improve visual function. [10] Before and after the surgery, the visual function of the subjects was assessed. Researchers concluded that eyelid repositioning after upper eyelid surgery improved visual function by creating significant changes in the cornea of the subjects.

May Treat Headaches and Migraines

There are also studies supporting that the removal of excess skin or fat from the eyelids through blepharoplasty may help treat symptoms of migraines and headaches.

To determine the effects of upper eyelid surgery on symptoms of headache, patients with headache symptoms greater than 1 year due to excessive eyelids were studied. [11] The subjects completed the Headache Impact Test-6 quality of life questionnaire before and after the surgery. Interestingly, the subjects reported improvement in the symptoms of headache after upper eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).

A study evaluated the changes in headache-related quality of life in patients who had upper eyelid surgery and ptosis repair. [12] The subjects answered headache-related quality-of-life surveys before and after the surgery. Results of the study showed that upper eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) and ptosis repair produced significant relief for tension-type headaches.

A systematic review of 3525 studies assessed the favourable outcomes after upper blepharoplasty. [13] This included the effects of the surgery on the visual field and prevalence of headaches. Results showed that upper blepharoplasty was associated with an enlarged visual field, improved vision, and fewer events of headaches.

References

  • Herruer JM, Prins JB, van Heerbeek N, Verhage-Damen G, Ingels K. Patient-reported outcome measurement in upper blepharoplasty: How to measure what the patient sees. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2018 Sep;71(9):1346-1351. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2018.05.033. Epub 2018 Jun 8. PMID: 30173717. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Zhao JY, Guo XS, Song GD, et al. Surgical outcome and patient satisfaction after Z-epicanthoplasty and blepharoplasty. Int J Ophthalmol. 2018;11(12):1922-1925. Published 2018 Dec 18. doi:10.18240/ijo.2018.12.07. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine PMC.
  • Shen X. Modified double-eyelid blepharoplasty with the combined partial- And minimal-incision method. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2021 Mar;20(3):911-916. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13660. Epub 2020 Aug 20. PMID: 32815635. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Papadopulos NA, Hodbod M, Henrich G, Kovacs L, Papadopoulos O, Herschbach P, Machens HG. The Effect of Blepharoplasty on Our Patient’s Quality of Life, Emotional Stability, and Self-Esteem. J Craniofac Surg. 2019 Mar/Apr;30(2):377-383. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000005057. PMID: 30608369. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Huynh PP, Ishii M, Juarez M, Fung N, Bater K, Darrach H, Nellis JC, Bonham LW, Lay PC, Ishii LE. Exploring Patient Motivations and Impact of Asian Blepharoplasty. Facial Plast Surg. 2020 Jun;36(3):242-248. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-3401804. Epub 2019 Dec 18. PMID: 31853906. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Yin Z, Wang D, Ma Y, Hao S, Ren H, Zhang T, Chen W, Fan J. Self-esteem, Self-efficacy, and Appearance Assessment of Young Female Patients Undergoing Facial Cosmetic Surgery: A Comparative Study of the Chinese Population. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2016 Jan-Feb;18(1):20-6. doi: 10.1001/jamafacial.2015.1381. PMID: 26469879. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.

References Continued

  • Altin Ekin M, Karadeniz Ugurlu S. Prospective analysis of visual function changes in patients with dermatochalasis after upper eyelid blepharoplasty. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2020 Sep;30(5):978-984. doi: 10.1177/1120672119857501. Epub 2019 Jun 17. PMID: 31203659. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • An SH, Jin SW, Kwon YH, Ryu WY, Jeong WJ, Ahn HB. Effects of upper lid blepharoplasty on visual quality in patients with lash ptosis and dermatochalasis. Int J Ophthalmol. 2016;9(9):1320-1324. Published 2016 Sep 18. doi:10.18240/ijo.2016.09.15. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Meyer DR, Stern JH, Jarvis JM, Lininger LL. Evaluating the visual field effects of blepharoptosis using automated static perimetry. Ophthalmology. 1993;100:651–8. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Brown MS, Siegel IM, Lisman RD. Prospective analysis of changes in corneal topography after upper eyelid surgery. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 1999;15:378–83. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Mokhtarzadeh A, McClelland C, Lee MS, Smith S, Harrison AR. The Bleph and the Brain: The Effect of Upper Eyelid Surgery on Chronic Headaches. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017 May/Jun;33(3):178-181. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000000686. PMID: 27015241. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Bahceci Simsek I. Association of Upper Eyelid Ptosis Repair and Blepharoplasty With Headache-Related Quality of Life. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2017;19(4):293-297. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2016.2120. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.
  • Hollander MHJ, Contini M, Pott JW, Vissink A, Schepers RH, Jansma J. Functional outcomes of upper eyelid blepharoplasty: A systematic review. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2019 Feb;72(2):294-309. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2018.11.010. Epub 2018 Nov 22. PMID: 30528286. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine PubMed.

Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne
MED0001537010

Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.

Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.

Furthermore, he is experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.

How can we help?

Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 9 AM – 5 PM on Weekdays.

Phone (03) 8849 1400 Or Email us.

What Next?

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday on (03) 8849 1400.

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
  • You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Briggs’ Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is essential (as of the 1st July 2023).
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery to book your consultation.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.