How hard is recovery after eye lift surgery?

May 16, 2018

Recovery from Eye Lift Surgery

Blepharoplasty, or eye lift surgery, is an amazing procedure to make your eyes look younger and more awake. But many people worry about the recovery after eye lift surgery.

What does eye lift surgery do?

Eye lift surgery can be done on either the upper or lower eyelid. Some people only need an eye lift on the upper eyelids. But it’s pretty common to get both upper and lower eyelids done at the same time. Eye lift surgery has two main components:

  • Removing excess skin.
  • Removing or redistributing the fat around the eye. This gets rid of bags under the eyes and smooths puffiness in the inner corner of the upper eyelid.

Recovery after eye lift surgery is different for upper and lower eyelids.Eye Lift Surgery Patient in Ohio

If you have only an upper eyelid lift, your recovery is a little bit easier than if you have both upper and lower eyelids lifted. After upper eyelid lift you’ll have bruising and mild swelling. These gradually improve over 2-3 weeks. Most people look back to normal by the end of a month. You may have a dry or gritty sensation in your eyes for the first few days. It’s also common to have some blurry vision for the first couple days. This is due to swelling.

When you have lower eyelid lift done, either by itself or with upper eyelid lift, the recovery takes a little long. There is often more bruising, so it may take longer to fade. The lower eyelids also tend to swell more than the upper eyelids. Gravity pulls on the lower eyelids, often causing them to pull away from the eye itself. This means swelling is more noticeable, and can take longer to resolve. It may take 6-8 weeks to look totally normal after lower eyelid lift. The dry or gritty sensation is more common after lower eyelid lift, and may last a bit longer.

Does eyelid lift hurt?

The actual pain is pretty mild. Most people are sore the first night. After that your eyes just feel gritty or irritated. Good eye moisturizer will help get through the gritty stage. I recommend RePhresh pm eye ointment. Dryness may be worse when you’re sleeping because your eyes may not close all the way. If this is the case, wearing an eye patch or eye mask at night can help.

Tips to make recovery after eye lift surgery easier:

  • Sleep propped up in a recliner or on several pillows for the first few days. This will help prevent swelling.
  • Apply an ice pack 5 minutes at a time every 30 minutes to an hour. Apply the ice several times the first night after your surgery to help prevent swelling.
  • Starting the first week after surgery, I have patients massage the lower eyelid to help decrease swelling.
  • Laser treatments can help the bruises fade. I offer this to my patients at no cost.

The bottom line?  Recovery after eye lift surgery is social more than anything. You’ll feel okay, but you’ll have bruising and swelling for a few weeks. You will need to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding when to resume exercise. But you should be able to get back to your normal routine fairly quickly.

Dr. Greer is a Plastic Surgeon who practices in Cleveland, OH. Her passion is helping moms regain self-confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat. Read more about her at