Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) Recovery
Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), like all surgery, involves a period of recovery following the procedure. Knowing what to expect after the surgery is sometimes as important as knowing what to expect during the surgery. In the content below you can read about what is involved in recovery from eyelid surgery. In addition, you can learn about how to care for yourself during the healing process, as well as how long the process should last.
What to Expect after Eyelid Surgery
Patients can undergo eyelid surgery on an outpatient basis or with an overnight stay in a hospital. The surgeon will decide on the appropriate option for a patient's particular situation. A hospital stay may or may not be needed following eyelid surgery. The best environment for recovery will be determined by the preferences of both the patient and his doctor.
As far as the process of recovery itself, initially, patients can expect redness and swelling around the incision areas. The eyes may tear excessively. Any dryness that occurs in the eye area can be alleviated by ointment that the surgeon can provide. However, patients may experience a temporary blurring of vision as a result of using the ointment. In general, temporary blurred vision is one of the common side effects of eyelid surgery. Recovery may also include temporary sensitivity to light.
Care after Eyelid Surgery
After upper and lower blepharoplasty surgery, the eyelids typically feel tight; accompanying soreness may be treated with analgesics. For the first couple of days following the surgery, the incisions should be treated with ointment to keep them lubricated. Cold compresses can be placed on the eyes to reduce swelling as well. Eye drops will be necessary to help keep the eyes from drying out.
In the first week after the procedure, patients should avoid any activities that may dry up the eyes, including reading, watching television, wearing contacts, and using a computer. Swelling and bruising can be minimized by keeping the head elevated as much as possible during the first few days of recovery. The doctor will remove the stitches between two and seven days after the eyelid surgery procedure. Patients may feel well enough to resume normal activities around the tenth day of recovery.
For the first couple of weeks following the surgery, dark sunglasses are recommended to protect the eyes from irritation caused by the sun and wind. Patients may notice that their eyes tire easily for the first several weeks of the recovery period; frequent naps are recommended.
Throughout the first three to four weeks after the surgery, any activities that increase blood flow to the eyes should be avoided, including bending, lifting, sporting activities, and even crying. Patients will be informed by their physicians when any type of exercise regimen can be resumed.
How Long is the Recovery Period?
Recovery from eyelid surgery generally takes several weeks. Within two days to a week, the stitches will be removed. In the first week, patients will want to make sure that their eyes receive plenty of rest. The redness and swelling occurring after the blepharoplasty procedure will fade with time. Recovery will also include ensuring that any exertion that may increase blood flow to the eyes is avoided. Patients may be able to return to work approximately 10 days after the surgery.
For some, the recovery process can seem long and they may become depressed, especially in the early stages of recovery when their faces appear swollen and bruised. But after a few weeks most patients begin to notice a welcome change in their appearance. The results of eyelid surgery – eyes that look younger and more alert – remind patients why they chose to undergo the procedure in the first place.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view more eyelid surgery before and after photos.
Photo credit: James P. Wire, MD
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