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Double Eyelid Surgery

Blepharoplasty Recovery: What to Expect


How Long to Recover From Blepharoplasty

The initial recovery period following eyelid surgery typically takes just two weeks or less, with most patients already feeling great at the one-week mark. 

What is blepharoplasty recovery like, you may ask? It’s common to experience discomfort, irritation around incision sites, swelling, dry eyes, and bruising after eyelid surgery. Adhering to postoperative care instructions should help this gradually fade over the following weeks. Most bruising and swelling should diminish within these first two weeks, though for some, it may take four weeks or more for initial side effects to subside completely.

While you’ll appear mostly healed by the two-week mark, we recommend waiting at least 3-4 weeks to resume strenuous physical activities to protect your investment, expedite recovery, and optimize results. During this time, your body continues to heal beneath the surface and requires sufficient rest.

Final results may take a month or longer to debut, so patience is key if your healing progress is slower than expected. How long recovery from blepharoplasty takes depends on whether you have upper, lower, or double eyelid surgery.

The speed of your blepharoplasty recovery process is accelerated when local anesthesia is used instead of general anesthesia. The choice of anesthesia is tailored to the individual patient’s preferences and the extent of their treatment plan. With local anesthesia, patients are typically ready to return home after resting briefly at the surgical facility after their procedure.

Eyelid surgery patients receive detailed postoperative instructions on how to care for their incisions and overall health for a seamless recovery. Here at LEA Plastic Surgery, these typically include:

  • How to care for your eyes as the skin around them heals
  • How to care for your incisions by cleaning them and applying medications carefully
  • A detailed schedule for taking your prescribed pain and infection prevention medications
  • Concerns about being vigilant of the surgical site or overall health
  • How and when to schedule follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, important recovery questions to ask your plastic surgeon or nurse before going into your eyelid surgery include:

  • Where will I go immediately following my surgery?
  • What medications will you be prescribing for me to take after my surgery?
  • Should I combine my blepharoplasty with a brow lift or any other procedure?
  • Will I be wearing any bandages after my surgery? When will my dressings be removed?
  • Will stitches need to be removed? When?
  • When can I get back to my normal routine and start exercising again?
  • When will you need to see me again for follow-up appointments?

How Long After Blepharoplasty Can I Wear Makeup

Many patients mention makeup when asking how long it takes to recover from blepharoplasty. It is an exhilarating moment, witnessing your reflection with makeup for the first time post-blepharoplasty.

Addressing concerns such as dark circles, under-eye bags, droopy upper eyelids, hooded eyelids, and more, the procedure alleviates the need for lots of makeup to cover up areas that bother you. Patients find applying makeup after blepharoplasty to be effortless compared to before, leading to an enhanced overall appearance when makeup is worn.

Being patient with your healing process is crucial when reintroducing makeup application around the eyes following blepharoplasty surgery. Adhering to the recommended waiting period is essential as it minimizes the risk of infections around the incisions and facilitates a smoother healing journey. 

It can vary depending on whether you opt for upper blepharoplasty or lower blepharoplasty or both, but we usually advise our eyelid surgery patients here at LEA Plastic Surgery to refrain from applying makeup for approximately 2-3 weeks post-surgery. Individual recovery timelines may vary, so it’s best to consult with your surgical team before resuming your everyday makeup routine.

To reduce the risk of complications and promote optimal healing, we provide each of Dr. Ho Taghva’s blepharoplasty patients with personalized recovery instructions tailored to their specific treatment plan.

How Long To Use Ointment After Blepharoplasty

We typically recommend our patients use a topical antibiotic cream and ointments such as petroleum jelly following blepharoplasty to keep the incisions moisturized and medicated for best healing.

As advised by Stanford Medicine, eyelid surgery patients should apply a quarter inch of ointment to the incision sites using a Q-tip three times daily for a week. If you experience excessive dryness around your eyes, you may increase the frequency of ointment application.

Another helpful solution for dry eyes post-blepharoplasty is using over-the-counter artificial tears.

When Can I Wash My Eyes After Blepharoplasty?

As soon as the bandages around your incision sites following surgery are removed, we recommend cleaning your eyelids carefully. Here are best practices for keeping your eyes clean post-eyelid surgery with no complications:

  • Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water every time before touching your eyelids to clean them.
  • Apply a saline solution to gauze pads and use them to clean your eyelids gently. Keep your eyes closed and gently dab your lids to remove any crust or debris.
  • Some crusts that form may require you to hold soaked gauze pads over them to soften them enough to remove.
  • Remember to clean your eyelashes too!
  • You should repeat this cleansing process 2-3 times daily during your initial blepharoplasty recovery for at least the first two weeks.

Many eyelid surgery patients report the recovery as painless and manageable. Most want to return to normal activities as quickly as one week or sooner. It is strictly advised to follow your surgeon’s 3-4 week rule when it comes to physical activity following surgery. 

Following aftercare instructions notably affects the recovery from blepharoplasty. Our tips for a seamless, speedy blepharoplasty recovery are:

  • Plan to have someone to pick you up after your surgery and stay with you for the first day or so.
  • Be diligent about reapplying sun protection and wear sunglasses for at least the first two weeks.
  • Apply antibiotic cream and ointments as directed by your plastic surgeon.
  • Cold compresses should be applied during the first few days of recovery to mitigate swelling and bruising.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity for at least 3-4 weeks, returning sooner can lead to problems with healing and may result in an extended recovery period.
  • Take your pain and infection prevention medications as directed by your doctor.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses for at least 2 weeks. 
  • You should only drive a car once you can safely and comfortably do so. This can take a week or so.
  • Be prepared to take 1-2 weeks off work to allow your mind and body to rest and promote fast healing.

Ready to achieve the big, bright, youthful eyes of your dreams and the recovery it requires? Request a consultation with Newport Beach plastic surgeon Dr. Goretti Ho Taghva to discuss your goals and concerns and receive a professional recommendation on the best treatment plan for you.