If you’re considering getting eyelid surgery, it’s important to know what to expect during the recovery process. The recovery timeline plays a major part in determining if a procedure is right for you, your body, and your life. That way, you are prepared and can make the most out of your recovery time. So, how long to recover from eyelid surgery? Keep reading to find out what to expect during recovery and our six expert aftercare tips to aid healing.
A Brief Overview of Eyelid Surgery
Eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty is a procedure that aims to improve droopy eyelids or eye bags. You can get either an upper or lower eye lift or combine the two in one treatment.
Depending on the results you’re looking to achieve, your surgeon will advise you on the best path to take. For more information, read our more in-depth guide to eyelid surgery.
Why is Eyelid Surgery Performed?
Blepharoplasty is ideal if you have saggy or droopy eyelids that keep your eyes from opening fully or pulling down on your lower eyelids. Removing excess skin, fat, and muscle can help improve vision. The procedure can also help your eyes appear more alert and younger.
Eyelid surgery is an option if you have:
- Droopy or baggy eyelids that don’t fade even with eyelid fat exercise
- Excess skin on the upper eyelids that interferes with peripheral vision
- Excess skin on your lower eyelids
- Bags under the eyes
Blepharoplasty can be performed at the same time as other procedures like a facelift, brow lift and resurfacing. Upper eyelid surgery is mainly performed to remove excess fat and skin to improve vision. Excess skin and fat can create an aged appearance, heavy-looking and puffy eyelids. Lower blepharoplasty helps improve the eyelid contour by removing or adding fat.
If there is sagging, eyelid tightening helps while laser skin resurfacing improves wrinkles. Double eyelid surgery helps enhance or create an eyelid crease.
What to Expect After the Procedure
Most people who undergo the procedure express satisfaction after seeing the results. The results last a lifetime for some people, while droopy eyelids can recur in others.
You will notice swelling and bruising that resembles a black eye after the surgery. This should go away after about 10 to 14 days. The scars could take months to fade. Ensure that you always protect the eyelid skin from sun exposure during the recovery period.
Eyelid Surgery Recovery Time: What to Expect
Eyelid surgery takes about 1.5 hours, and you will be under local anaesthetic. You will stay in the recovery room until you are stable enough to go home. After the surgery, you may experience temporary side effects like:
- Blurred vision due to the lubrication ointment applied
- Light sensitivity
- Puffy and numb eyelids
- Watery eyes
- Slight discomfort and pain at the surgical site
- Double vision
- Bruising and swelling
It’s always advisable to have someone drive you home after the procedure. Also, make sure that someone stays with you, especially, on the first night. So how long does it take to recover from eyelid surgery? Following your surgery, this is what you can expect from your recovery:
- 1 to 3 days – this is the time any bruising and swelling will be at its peak. Your surgeon will advise you on the best way to manage pain and feel more comfortable.
- 3 to 7 days – Your stitches will be removed, and the bruising and swelling will continue to go down.
- 10 days – you can expect to be back at work approximately 10 days after your surgery.
It’s important to know that if you go down the double eyelid surgery route (lower and upper eyelid lift); the recovery time is slightly longer. You would expect your recovery to take 2-3 weeks. Either way, you should see the final results after about 6 months.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you will have scarring at the site of the surgical incision. Following the right eyelid recovery methods ensures the healing process goes well.
6 Aftercare Tips for Eyelid Surgery
Recovery from eyelid surgery is relatively easy, and after a few weeks, no one will be able to tell you’ve even had surgery. Here are six aftercare tips for eyelid surgery to help speed up recovery and make you feel more comfortable.
1. Wear Dark Sunglasses
Following your surgery, you may be a little sensitive to light. Take some dark glasses with you to wear after your operation. During your recovery, you must protect your eyes from sunlight, wind and other elements. If you have to go out, wear dark sunglasses plus a hat and apply sunscreen as advised by your doctor.
2. No Contact Lenses (2 weeks)
Avoid wearing contact lenses for at least 2 weeks after your surgery. You can wear eyeglasses but should not wear contact lenses for a little while.
3. Avoid Strenuous Activities
While you’re recovering, avoid any strenuous activity, heavy lifting, or exercise. Try to avoid bending at the waist and check with your surgeon before resuming exercise and lifting. Strenuous activities can cause increased blood flow to the surgical site, increasing your risk of bleeding.
4. Get Plenty of Rest
To heal properly, you need to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Sleeping with your head a little raised helps to prevent swelling. Take time off work and school and take a break from your normal daily activities, and use that time to recover.
That’s why you should request someone to take over your primary responsibilities. To make sure you get plenty of rest, load up your cupboards and fridge with healthy and easy to prepare foods days before your surgery.
5. Apply Antibiotic Cream or Eye Drops
Your surgeon will advise you on how to apply either eye drops or antibiotic cream. Follow your surgeon’s instructions to the letter as this will help your incisions heal well.
6. No Creams or Makeup (2 weeks)
You can take showers from the neck down following your surgery but should avoid getting your face wet until your surgeon gives you the go-ahead. Don’t use any makeup or creams for at least two weeks on the surgical site. It ensures that your incisions don’t get infected. It also helps speed up the healing process.
In general, you need to make the biggest adjustments to your routine in the first two weeks following your surgery. After that, you can head back to work and get stuck into your everyday life. The recovery timeline is relatively short. By adhering to your aftercare recommendations, you allow your body to heal effectively and get the best results.
Are you considering eyelid surgery and looking for the best cosmetic surgeon in London? Dr Riaz Agha is an award-winning Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with all the credentials you need in a plastic surgeon.