What to Expect Before, During, and After Blepharoplasty Surgery

Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is a procedure aimed at improving the appearance of the eyelids. 

It can be done for either cosmetic reasons or to improve vision issues related to eyelid problems. 

If you’re considering this procedure, it’s important to know what happens at each stage: before, during, and after the surgery.

What Is Blepharoplasty Surgery?

Blepharoplasty is a type of surgery that corrects problems with the eyelids. 

It’s typically done to improve the appearance of the eyelids or to fix any functional problems. 

This surgery can be performed on the upper eyelids, the lower eyelids, or both.

As we age, our skin loses elasticity, and the muscles around our eyes weaken.

This can lead to excess skin on the upper eyelids and fat bags on the lower lids. 

Sometimes, heavy upper eyelids can even interfere with our vision. 

Eyelid surgery removes excess skin and fat to give the eyelids a more youthful and rested appearance and, in some cases, to restore the field of vision.

Benefits of Blepharoplasty

The benefits of undergoing blepharoplasty are both cosmetic and functional. 

From a cosmetic standpoint, blepharoplasty can make you look younger and more refreshed. Here are some of the changes you might see after the surgery:

  • Reduced droopiness of the upper eyelids
  • Less puffiness and fat bags under the eyes
  • Smoother, more defined eyelid contours
  • A more awake and rejuvenated overall appearance

From a functional perspective, some people have eyelid issues that actually impede their vision. 

Removing the excess tissue can widen the field of vision, making daily activities like driving safer and more comfortable.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Blepharoplasty?

People who are in good health and without any serious eye conditions might be good candidates for blepharoplasty. The best candidates are usually those who have:

  • Excess, hanging skin on the upper eyelids
  • Puffy bags under the eyes
  • Droopy lower eyelids that may reveal white below the iris
  • Excess skin on the lower eyelids

Candidates should also have realistic expectations about what surgery can achieve. 

While blepharoplasty can enhance your appearance and may improve vision, it does not alter your facial structure or remove all fine lines and wrinkles.

The Process of Blepharoplasty Surgery

The surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home the same day. 

The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia (where you’re awake, but the area around your eyes is numbed) or under general anesthesia (where you’re completely asleep).

Here’s a brief outline of the procedure for both the upper and lower eyelids:

Upper Eyelid Blepharoplasty

  • Anesthesia: The surgeon will anesthetize the area around your eyes.
  • Incision: A cut is made along the natural fold of the upper eyelid.
  • Removing Tissue: Excess skin, muscle, and possibly fat are cut away.
  • Closing the Incision: The cut is closed with tiny stitches, which might be removed or will dissolve on their own.

Lower Eyelid Blepharoplasty

  • Anesthesia: The area around your eyes is numbed.
  • Incision: The incision can be made just below the lower lash line or on the inside of the eyelid.
  • Removing or Repositioning Fat: Excess fat is removed or redistributed to eliminate puffiness.
  • Removing Excess Skin: In some cases, a small amount of skin is also removed.
  • Closing the Incision: The cut is closed with stitches, which usually come out within a week.

Before Blepharoplasty Surgery

Finding a Surgeon

The first step is choosing a qualified surgeon. 

Look for someone experienced in eyelid surgeries, and don’t hesitate to ask about their credentials and to see before-and-after photos of their past clients.

Initial Consultation

Your journey starts with a consultation. 

Your surgeon will discuss your goals, review your medical history, and examine your eyelids. 

Be ready to discuss any medical conditions, allergies, and medications you take. This is also a chance to ask questions and address any concerns.

Preparing for Surgery

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare. 

These might include stopping certain medications and avoiding smoking to ensure the best healing. 

Also, you’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

During Blepharoplasty Surgery

The Procedure

Blepharoplasty can be done on the upper lids, lower lids, or both. 

Depending on the extent of the surgery, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. 

Most often, it’s done under local anesthesia, which means you’ll be awake but won’t feel any pain in the area being operated on.

If working on the upper eyelid, the surgeon cuts the eyelid’s natural fold, removing excess skin, muscle, and possibly fat. 

For the lower lid, the cut is usually made just below the lashes or inside the eyelid. 

This allows for the removal or repositioning of fat, and sometimes excess skin and muscle are also removed.

Safety and Comfort

Your comfort and safety are the top priorities during surgery. 

The medical team will monitor your vital signs and steps are taken to minimize risks. 

Feel free to ask about the specific steps your surgical team will take to ensure your comfort during the procedure.

After Blepharoplasty Surgery

Immediately After

When the surgery is finished, you might have ointment in your eyes and will likely have your eyelids gently taped or covered with bandages. 

It’s common to feel groggy if sedatives are used, but this will wear off.

The First Few Days

Expect some swelling and bruising, which will be most noticeable in the first week. 

Your surgeon will advise on how to care for your eyes, which might include using cold compresses and special eye drops. 

You’ll also be instructed to keep your head elevated as much as possible and to avoid any activities that could strain your eyes.

Recovery Time

Most people feel ready to go back to work and do some normal activities within 10 to 14 days. However, complete healing takes longer. 

Swelling and bruising will gradually decrease over a few weeks. The incision lines might also take a few months to soften and fade.

Follow-up Visits

You’ll have follow-up visits so your surgeon can check your healing progress. 

It’s important to attend all scheduled appointments and to follow your surgeon’s advice closely during recovery. 

This is also your opportunity to raise any concerns or questions about your recovery and results.

Final Results

While you’ll notice improvements as the swelling and bruising subside, it might take up to a year to see the outcome of the surgery as your eyelids fully heal and settle into their new shape.

Tips for a Smooth Recovery

Follow Surgeon’s Instructions

The advice you get from your surgeon is tailored to your unique situation. 

It might include how to care for your eyes, which medications to take to help with healing and reduce the risk of infection, and when it’s okay to return to normal activities. 

Stick to these guidelines because they’re designed to promote a swift recovery.

Keep Your Head Elevated

Swelling is expected after this kind of surgery. 

To minimize it, keep your head propped up higher than your chest, especially when sleeping, for several days post-surgery. 

You can use a few pillows or a foam wedge. This position helps reduce fluid buildup around the eyes.

Use Cold Compresses

Gentle cold compresses can be a great relief for swelling and can reduce bruising. 

Do not apply ice directly to your skin; wrap it in a clean cloth or use a designated cold pack. 

Be cautious not to put pressure on your eyelids.

Protect Your Eyes

Your eyes will be sensitive post-surgery. 

Wearing sunglasses when you go outside is smart, especially in bright sunlight or windy conditions. 

Sunglasses protect against harmful UV rays and prevent debris from irritating your eyes.

Take Breaks from Screens

Staring at computer screens, smartphones, or televisions can strain your eyes and lead to dryness. 

Give your eyes a rest by taking breaks from screens frequently, and focus on minimizing screen time, especially in the first few days after your surgery.

Avoid Strenuous Activities

Exercise or heavy lifting can increase blood flow to the eyes and lead to additional swelling. 

Put off strenuous activities and anything that significantly raises your blood pressure for at least a week or as recommended by your surgeon.

Skip the Makeup

It’s best to avoid applying makeup around the eyes while you’re healing. 

Giving up your beauty routine for a short while will reduce the risk of infection and ensure that the surgical area remains clean and free from irritation.

Attend Follow-Up Appointments

Your follow-up appointments are crucial for monitoring your healing progress. 

These visits allow your surgeon to spot and address potential issues early. 

Go to every appointment and be open about any concerns or questions you may have.

Be Patient

Healing takes time, and it’s different for everyone. 

Your eyes may recover at different rates, and full results could take several weeks to become apparent. 

Patience is key—don’t rush the process or get discouraged if healing doesn’t go as quickly as you’d hoped.

Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals can aid your body’s natural healing ability. 

Stay hydrated to help keep your skin supple, which can be beneficial when it’s trying to heal.

No Smoking

Smoking can significantly slow down the healing process, so it’s best to quit before your surgery and stay tobacco-free throughout recovery.


Blepharoplasty surgery can significantly enhance the appearance of your eyelids and, in some cases, improve vision. 

Knowing what to expect at each stage of the process can help you feel more prepared and comfortable with your decision. 

Always communicate openly with your surgeon, follow pre- and post-surgery instructions closely, and keep your expectations realistic. 

With proper care and patience, you can enjoy the benefits of this transformative procedure.

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