What you can expect

Before the procedure

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

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 possibly 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 upper eyelid droops close to your pupil, your surgeon may do blepharoplasty with a procedure called ptosis (TOE-sis) that provides additional support to the eyebrow muscle.

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
  • Puffy, numb eyelids
  • Swelling and bruising similar to having black eyes
  • Pain or discomfort

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

  • Use ice packs on your eyes for 10 minutes every hour the night after surgery. The following day, use ice packs on your eyes four to five times throughout the day.
  • Gently clean your eyelids and use prescribed eyedrops or ointments.
  • Avoid straining, heavy lifting and swimming for a week.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging, for a week.
  • 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 about a week, avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, others), naproxen (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
July 21, 2017
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Eyelid surgery. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  2. Eyelid surgery. American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. https://www.aafprs.org/patient/procedures/blepharoplasty.html. Accessed April 9, 2017.
  3. Flint PW, et al. Blepharoplasty. In: Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 8, 2017.
  4. Yanoff M, et al., eds. Cosmetic blepharoplasty and browplasty. In: Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 7, 2017.
  5. Eyelid surgery. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/eyelid-surgery.html. Accessed April 9, 2017.
  6. Hahn S, et al. Upper lid blepharoplasty. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America. 2016;24:119.