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How Long Does Eyelid Surgery Recovery Take?

A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.
Wearing sunglasses can help protect the eyes after eyelid surgery.
Surgery may be performed to remove excess tissue of the eyelids.
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  • Written By: Caitlin Shih
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2014
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Although it might take up to six months for a patient to see the complete, finalized results of an eyelid surgery, the physical aspect of eyelid surgery recovery typically takes no longer than two to three weeks. Patients can expect mild discomfort for the first several days following the surgery, but this will improve through the next week. In about five days, any stitches can be removed, and most patients are able to comfortably return to work. Patients might be ready for exercise or other strenuous activities anytime after this period depending on their doctor's advice. There are many things that patients can do themselves to help speed up their recovery.

The first two to three days after eyelid surgery recovery tend to be the most uncomfortable. A patient's eyelids might feel tight or sore, and he or she might experience an aching or burning sensation. The eyes might also be sensitive to light, and there might be some instances of blurry vision. Most of this can be easily relieved through pain medications and cold compresses, and eye drops can be used to keep the eyes from drying out. It is also recommended that patients sleep with their head elevated during this time and focus on getting plenty of rest.

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The three to five days following the surgery is normally the period where stitches, if any, can be removed, and swelling and bruising start to heal. During this time period, most patients prefer to stay focused on rest. If everyday activities must be resumed as soon as possible, patients should at least avoid strenuous activities as well as anything that might dry or strain the eyes, such as using a computer, watching television or reading.

After the first week, it generally is safe for patients to wear eye makeup and to go to work. Sunglasses are especially useful at that time and the next couple weeks as well in order to protect the eyes from sunshine and wind. The eyes also might tire more easily during this time period, so even though normal activities are starting up again, frequent rest is still recommended.

Finally, after two to three weeks, most if not all bruising has generally cleared up, and the most involved period of eyelid surgery recovery has typically run its course. Contacts can safely be worn after this time. It is still recommended to avoid activities that increase blood flow to the eyes — lifting, bending down, crying or drinking alcohol — but makeup to cover bruises is usually no longer necessary. Depending on the doctor's specific recommendations, patients could be ready for exercise or strenuous activity anytime after these first few weeks.

Some patients can become unhappy about the recovery period because of their swollen, bruised eyes. These patients should understand that eyelid surgery recovery is actually a fairly smooth process in which they will see drastic improvement within just several weeks. The healing process after this point is much smoother. All that happens for as long as six months is that the scars will fade to an almost invisible white line, and the patient's new appearance will gradually take its final form.

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anon943712
Post 4

@Sarah G.: Nonsense. Where did you come up with that conclusion? I had eyelid surgery, it looks great and I need nothing else done and have no desire to have anything else done. I am 60 years old.

anon328243
Post 3

I had upper and lower eyelid surgery. As far as looks are concerned, I look great. What no one tells you is that this is a major operation where they cut around your eyes.

My vision has been affected for over three months, and I have been back to my PS and seen an ophthalmologist. Apparently it is quite common and caused by the scars under the skin contracting. If you press lightly under your eyes with your forefinger, you will get the same effect.

As for numbness disappearing after a few days, what world are these doctors living in? Perhaps all plastic surgeons should have a taste of their own medicine before they try and describe what they think people go through.

FirstBase
Post 2

My daughter's ex-nanny had eyelid lift surgery and we couldn't tell the difference. She had to make a point of telling us she did it. We hardly saw a difference.

I guess that's better than having too much eyelid skin cut away and end up with a look on your face where you look surprised all the time.

SarahG
Post 1

A friend of mine had eyelid surgery and the cost was very affordable. What I object to is the appearance of her eyes after the surgery.

While the eyelid didn't droop anymore (she's in her 50s), the line of stitching was very obvious and not something I'd want to have on my face in the future.

I also feel that once you do something like this surgery, you'll need to continue on with other surgery on the face. Once you start, you'll most likely want more. To correct sagging in one area and not others makes a face look awkward or strange.

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