What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Blepharoplasty is usually done in an outpatient setting. Your surgeon injects numbing medication into your eyelids and administers intravenous medication to help you relax. This may make you groggy.

During the procedure

If you have surgery on your upper and lower eyelids, the surgeon generally works on your upper lids first. He or she cuts along the fold of the eyelid, removes some excess skin, muscle and fat, and closes the cut.

On the lower lid, the surgeon makes a cut just below the lashes in your eye's natural crease or inside the lower lid. He or she removes or redistributes excess fat, muscle and sagging skin, and closes the cut.

If your eyelid droops close to your pupil, your surgeon may do blepharoplasty with a procedure called ptosis (TOE-sis) to address that problem.

Blepharoplasty usually takes less than two hours, depending on the amount and location of tissue being removed.

After the procedure

After surgery you spend time in a recovery room, where you are monitored for complications. You can leave later that day to recuperate at home.

After surgery you may temporarily experience:

  • Blurred vision from the lubricating ointment applied to your eyes
  • Watering eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Redness where the cuts were made
  • Puffy, numb eyelids
  • Swelling and bruising similar to having "black eyes"
  • Some pain

Your doctor will likely suggest you take the following steps after surgery:

  • Gently clean your eyelids and use prescribed eyedrops or ointments.
  • Avoid straining, heavy lifting and swimming for a few days.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging, for a few days.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes.
  • If you use contact lenses, don't put them in for about two weeks after surgery.
  • Wear darkly tinted sunglasses to protect the skin of your eyelids from sun and wind.
  • Sleep with your head raised higher than your chest for a few days.
  • Apply cool compresses to reduce swelling.
  • After a few days, return to the doctor's office to have stitches removed, if needed.
  • For a few days, avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and other medications or herbal supplements that may increase bleeding. If needed, use acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) to control pain.

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • An unusual heart rate
  • Severe new eye pain
  • Bleeding
  • Vision problems
Jun. 14, 2014