Eyelid surgery, which can be performed on the upper or lower eyelids, or both, has a reputation for being a fairly straightforward procedure. The average procedure time for eyelid surgery at my Fairfield, CT, practice is typically brief — as little as 20 minutes in some cases. Only a local anesthetic is needed for lower or upper eyelid surgery (a combined operation involves general anesthesia).
Still, it’s important to follow the detailed postoperative recovery instructions provided to ensure the healing process is as smooth as possible. In addition to these instructions, here are some helpful tips to keep handy after your surgery:
- Cool compresses are indispensable in the days after the procedure. In the first 24 to 48 hours, ice can help reduce swelling. In addition, keeping your head elevated as much as possible helps promote the healing process.
- Redness, swelling, and dry eye are all normal, but they will fade over the first couple weeks. The duration of these side effects vary from patient to patient, but they rarely last more than 14 days.
- Wearing makeup or contacts is OK, but the swelling will go down more quickly if you’re able to refrain. We recommend not wearing makeup for at least a week after the procedure because it can irritate the incisions. It’s also best not to wear contacts for at least 14 days after your surgery. Wearing contacts earlier than that can prolong your recovery.
- Vigorous exercise will need to be put on hold for a few weeks. Some of our patients wonder why they need to avoid working out for so long, especially if the exercise is jogging or weight work focusing on the legs. Eyelid surgery is a facial procedure, of course, but increased blood flow from cardiovascular exertion is still a risk, even with workouts that involve only the lower body.
- Expect up to a full year before the area around your eyelids is completely back to normal, as some slight residual swelling can linger. That said, the transformation will be evident and essentially healed within a few weeks — and it will be dramatic. In fact, eyelid surgery patients are typically among the most satisfied because they are happy to look more refreshed and alert.
Beyond these quick tips, we encourage all patients to contact our office with any concerns or questions during the recovery period. And one last note: It’s important to avoid direct sun exposure for weeks after the surgery, so make sure you wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside.
Eyelid Surgery Before-and-After Photos