Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is medically recommended for patients with hooded or sagging eyelids that compromise vision or eye health. It’s also one of the only forms of plastic surgery covered by insurance when deemed medically necessary.
Those tissues are tender, and the eye is susceptible to post-procedure infections. Hence, blepharoplasty aftercare is essential to healing quickly and without risking damage to the lids, the eyes, or your vision. Plus, these after-care tips also keep post-op patients more comfortable.
Quick Review Of Eyelid Surgery
Licensed plastic surgeons perform blepharoplasty procedures. Your optometrist or general physician will refer you to the area’s most reputable surgeons if you need eyelids surgery for hooded or sagging eyelid tissues. We are fortunate to have our own in-house surgeons that perform our patients’ eyelid surgeries.
During the procedure, the surgeon uses general intravenous anesthesia or local anesthesia, depending on your situation and the extent of the surgery. To begin the process, the surgeon makes an incision along the eyelid’s natural crease or directly underneath the lash line of the lower eyelid to minimize visible scarring.
After the upper-lid incision, the surgeon can remove excess fat or skin and redistribute lid muscle and tissue to create a natural correction that retains your eye shape and features but eliminates the sagging hood. If you are having lower-lid blepharoplasty, s/he’ll remove excess fat but not the skin. The body’s natural elasticity will reabsorb the skin covering the former swelling or bagging, tightening up over time.
Keep in mind that you may not be the best candidate for eyelid surgery if you:
- Suffer from dry eyes
- Have an uncontrolled medical condition such as diabetes
- Had eye surgery in the past
- Have a history of certain inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis
- Have unrealistic expectations for the outcome (again, in the optometry or ophthalmology realm, eyelid surgery is about improving vision and is not viewed as a cosmetic or elective procedure)
All of these and other potential disqualifiers are discussed during your pre-surgical consult.
Blepharoplasty After-Care Tips For Healing And Comfort
Your surgeon will provide you with detailed information about post-surgical care and comfort. Follow the instructions strictly to honor the healing process and minimize your risk of infection or other complications.
Give yourself a full two weeks to heal
Most of our patients can resume their normal activities about 10 to 14 days after the surgery, but everyone is different. You never know how you or your body will respond until you’ve had the procedure. Planning to take it easy for a full two weeks, and having heavier household chores or work duties covered for that time, allows you to honor your body’s natural healing process.
The post-op swelling takes an average of two to three weeks to disappear completely. Don’t fret. Once the swelling is reduced, you’ll be able to enjoy the final blepharoplasty effects.
Wear button-up (or zippered) shirts
Keep a stash of button-up or zippered shirts available for the day of your surgery and the days following. This prevents the chances of tighter elastic necks getting caught on the swollen and tender eye and facial tissues. The most intense swelling diminishes quite a bit within the first several days, but the more you avoid aggravating the healing site, the better.
Use cold compresses to relieve swelling
Cool compresses are both soothing and aid swelling. Do use them as much as you can, especially for the first few days. The less your eyes swell, the less they pull on the stitches and cause discomfort.
Some patients appreciate using migraine masks from the freezer for this process. If you go this route, rest the mask on top of closed eyes, rather than fastening it to your head, to minimize pressure on the swollen tissue. Also, make sure to use a fresh, clean, dry cloth between the maks and your eyes to prevent infection.
Keep eye drops, lubricant, and sterile gauze on hand
Your doctor will provide eye drops to avoid dry eyes, as well as a special lubricant to keep your lids and surgical site moist as they heal. Use these products as directed.
We also recommend having sterile gauze pads on hand. The incisions may ooze a bit as they heal, and the gauze absorbs it. To do this, gently dab the incision. NEVER rub it or the incision sites ever, or you risk tearing them or doing more damage. If you rub your eyes regularly, this is an excellent opportunity to break the eye rubbing habit.
Sun protection is a must after eyelid surgery
Protect your eyes from the sun for the first two weeks after the procedure. When you are outdoors, shady spots, full-brimmed hats, and wrap-around sunglasses are your greatest allies. Your surgeon or eye doctor will recommend specific sunscreens that are safe to use around the eyes during this time.
If you are an outdoorsy person, schedule blepharoplasty for the winter months if you can. If your work has you outdoors, speak to your employer about shifts or duties that can keep you out of the sun for this short duration.
Eliminate all sources of eye strain
This is a tough one, but your eyes cannot be strained for the week following your surgery. Do not check the mail, use a computer screen, read a book or print media source, watch TV or go to the movies. All of these are triggers for dry eyes, and that is a situation we want to avoid altogether, especially as your eyes heal and are more prone to developing the condition.
Get plenty of rest
The body expedites healing while we sleep and during moments of relaxation. So think of your blepharoplasty after-care period as a time to rejuvenate and rest your body, mind, and spirit in a way that life doesn’t typically accommodate.
Avoid smoking and smokey environments
Smoking inhibits health in every way, including recovery from blepharoplasty. However, smoke also exacerbates the wound site and increases your risk of infection. If you didn’t give up smoking in the weeks before the surgery, we recommend using a patch or gum for the two weeks afterward.
Eat nourishing anti-inflammatory foods
Your body always benefits from nourishing, nutrient-rich foods, but that’s especially true when you’re healing from eyelid surgery. We recommend stocking the fridge and pantry with anti-inflammatory foods that can reduce swelling and eliminating foods known to increase inflammation, such as alcohol, refined sugars, processed foods/snacks, and foods high in saturated fats.
Call Us With Any Questions
Do you have questions about upcoming eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty after-care instructions? Don’t hesitate to contact us at Atlantic Eye Institute.