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Recovery after Eyelid Surgery

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Recovery after eyelid surgery

Your Guide to Eyelid Surgery Recovery

Eyelid surgery is a procedure that can rejuvenate the area around your eyes, making you look more rested and alert. By removing excess skin, and possibly fat and muscle, from the upper and lower eyelids, this surgery can improve the appearance of droopy eyelids and under-eye bags. The benefits of eyelid surgery extend beyond aesthetics; for some, it’s a functional necessity to remove obstructions to vision caused by overhanging eyelids.

Understanding the recovery process is important for achieving the best possible outcomes from your eyelid surgery. Recovery not only involves physical healing but also adjusting to the visual changes in your appearance. Knowing what to expect during the recovery period, and how to care for yourself after the procedure, can help minimise discomfort and complications. It also sets realistic expectations for the healing timeline and the unveiling of your surgery results.

In this blog, Chester Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna will walk you through each step of the recovery process, from the immediate post-operative care to managing side effects and complications, and finally, to Anca’s recommendations for a smooth recovery. The goal is to provide you with information to make your recovery as comfortable and effective as possible.

First 24 Hours after Eyelid Surgery

The first 24 hours following eyelid surgery are critical for a successful recovery. During this initial phase, patients commonly experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort around the treated areas. These symptoms are a normal part of the healing process, and there are several steps you can take to manage them effectively.

Swelling and Bruising

Swelling is most pronounced during the first 48 hours after surgery. To minimise swelling, apply cold compresses to your eyes for the first day. Use a clean, soft cloth to wrap ice packs or frozen peas, and gently place them on your eyelids for 10 minutes every hour while awake. Avoid direct contact with ice, as this can cause frostbite on the sensitive post-operative skin.


It’s normal to feel some discomfort after the anaesthesia wears off. Anca will prescribe pain medication to help manage this. It’s important to follow the dosage instructions carefully to avoid complications. If you experience severe pain, contact your medical team immediately, as this could be a sign of complications.

Care Tips:

  • Rest in a reclined position, not flat on your back, to help reduce swelling. Use pillows to prop yourself up.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, including bending over, lifting heavy objects, or any form of exercise that increases blood pressure, as these can exacerbate swelling and bleeding.
  • Keep your eyelids clean. Anca will provide specific instructions on how to gently clean your eyes, which may include using prescribed eye drops or ointments to prevent infection and keep the eyes lubricated.
  • Protect your eyes from light sensitivity, which is common after eyelid surgery. Wear sunglasses when exposed to light, and avoid screen time to prevent eye strain.

First Week after Eyelid Surgery

The first week after eyelid surgery is a period of significant healing. During this time, it’s essential to follow Anca’s care instructions closely to ensure a smooth recovery. Here’s what you can expect and how to care for yourself during this phase:

Eye Care:

  • Continue to use any prescribed ointments or drops to prevent dry eyes, which are common after eyelid surgery. These medications can also help with healing and reduce the risk of infection.
  • You may start gently washing your face and eyelids a few days after surgery. However, be very gentle around the surgical area to avoid disturbing the healing tissues.

Activities to Avoid:

  • Do not rub your eyes, even if they feel itchy or irritated, as this can interfere with the healing process.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses for at least two weeks after surgery, as they can irritate your eyes and affect healing. Stick to glasses until your surgeon gives you the green light to use contacts again.
  • Steer clear of activities that could lead to eye strain, including reading, watching TV, and using computers or smartphones, especially in the first few days post-surgery.

Sleeping and Resting:

  • Continue to sleep with your head elevated higher than your chest to reduce swelling. Use several pillows or a foam wedge to maintain this position comfortably.
  • Ensure you get plenty of rest. Sleep is important for healing, so give yourself permission to take naps and get a full night’s sleep.

Managing Side Effects and Complications

How is the Recovery after eyelid surgery

Managing the side effects and complications associated with eyelid surgery is an aspect of the recovery process:

Common Side Effects

  • Swelling and Bruising: It’s normal for the area around your eyes to swell and display bruising following eyelid surgery. This is your body’s natural response to the surgical intervention. While these symptoms are most prominent during the first few days post-surgery, it’s not uncommon for them to persist in a less severe form for several weeks. Initially, cold compresses can be very effective in reducing swelling. They constrict blood vessels, which helps to minimise fluid accumulation in the tissue. After the first 48 hours, Anca may advise switching to warm compresses. Warmth improves circulation and can help to dissipate pooled blood under the skin, thereby reducing bruising and swelling more efficiently.
  • Dry Eyes: Many patients experience dry eyes after eyelid surgery. This can be due to temporary changes in the eyelid’s shape and its ability to close fully, exposing more of the eye’s surface to air. Lubricating eye drops are essential during this time to keep your eyes moist and prevent discomfort. If dryness persists or if you experience significant irritation, it’s important to communicate this to your surgeon. Anca may need to adjust your treatment plan or prescribe different eye drops to alleviate your symptoms.
  • Sensitivity to Light: After eyelid surgery, you may find your eyes are more sensitive to light. This can be due to swelling, the temporary thinning of the eyelids, or increased exposure of the eye’s surface. Wearing sunglasses when outdoors or in bright environments can help protect your eyes from harsh light and UV rays, reducing discomfort and promoting healing.

Potential Complications

While eyelid surgery is generally safe, there are potential complications that, although rare, require immediate attention:

  • Infection: Signs of infection include increased redness around the incision sites, swelling that worsens rather than improves, warmth in the area, and the presence of pus. Infections can lead to more serious complications if not treated promptly, so it’s vital to contact your surgeon if you notice these symptoms.
  • Unusual Pain or Vision Changes: Any sudden increase in pain or a decrease in vision should be considered serious. While some discomfort is normal, pain that escalates or becomes sharp and localised may indicate a problem. Similarly, any significant changes in vision, such as blurriness, double vision, or loss of vision, require immediate medical evaluation. These symptoms could signify bleeding, swelling affecting the eye, or other issues that need urgent care.

The first week after eyelid surgery marks a period of adjustment and healing. Open and honest communication with Anca about any side effects, discomfort, or concerns you have during your recovery is important. Anca can provide you with the best advice and adjustments to your care plan to address your specific needs, ensuring your comfort and the optimal outcome of your surgery.

Anca’s Recommendations for a Smooth Recovery after Eyelid Surgery

Anca’s recommendations for a smooth recovery after eyelid surgery go beyond the basic post-operative care instructions. These tips are designed to enhance your comfort, speed up the healing process, and ensure the best possible outcome from your surgery. Drawing from years of experience and feedback from numerous patients, Anca has compiled a list of lesser-known yet highly effective strategies for a successful recovery:

Embrace the Power of Nutrition

A well-balanced diet plays a role in your recovery. Foods rich in vitamins A and C, zinc, and protein can significantly boost your body’s healing capabilities. Vitamin A is essential for skin regeneration, while vitamin C aids in collagen production, crucial for repairing the delicate skin around your eyes. Zinc accelerates wound healing, and protein is fundamental for tissue repair and growth. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains into your diet to support your body’s healing process.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water helps to flush toxins from your body, reduces swelling, and keeps your skin hydrated. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they can lead to dehydration and may exacerbate swelling.

Gentle Exercise

While strenuous activities should be avoided during the initial recovery phase, gentle exercises like walking can be beneficial. Walking improves blood circulation, which is essential for reducing swelling and promoting healing. Start with short, leisurely walks and gradually increase the distance as you feel comfortable. Always listen to your body and avoid any activity that causes discomfort or strain on your eyes.

Mind Your Mental Health

Recovery from eyelid surgery isn’t just physical; it’s also an emotional journey. It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, from excitement about your new look to impatience or concern over the healing process. Practice self-care and mindfulness to maintain a positive outlook. Engage in activities that relax you, such as reading, listening to music, or meditating. If you’re feeling anxious or have concerns about your recovery, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surgeon or a mental health professional for support.

Create a Comfortable Recovery Environment

Before your surgery, prepare a comfortable, relaxing space where you can rest and recover. Ensure you have plenty of pillows to keep your head elevated. Stock up on entertainment options like books, magazines, or movies to keep you occupied while you rest. Having a supportive network of friends or family members who can assist you with daily tasks can also make your recovery more comfortable and stress-free.

Follow Up Diligently

Adhering to your scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon is crucial. These visits allow your surgeon to monitor your healing progress, address any concerns, and make adjustments to your care plan as needed. Don’t skip these appointments, even if you feel you’re healing well.

Be Patient and Set Realistic Expectations

Finally, patience is essential during your recovery. Healing takes time, and it’s important to have realistic expectations about the process. Swelling and bruising will gradually subside, and it may take several weeks or even months to see the final results of your surgery. Trust the process and keep in mind that the outcome will be worth the wait.

FAQs about Recovery after Eyelid Surgery


How long will it take to see the final results of my eyelid surgery?

  • The initial swelling and bruising from eyelid surgery will significantly reduce within the first 2-4 weeks, allowing you to see the changes to your eyelids. However, it can take up to several months for all swelling to completely subside and for the incision lines to mature. Most patients observe the final, stable results of their eyelid surgery around 6 months post-operation, although minor changes and improvements can continue for up to a year.

Can I wear makeup after eyelid surgery?

  • Yes, but it’s important to wait until Anca gives you the green light. Typically, patients are advised to wait at least two weeks before applying makeup to avoid infection and irritation at the incision sites. When you do start wearing makeup again, opt for gentle, hypoallergenic products to minimise the risk of irritation.

When can I return to work after eyelid surgery?

  • The timeline for returning to work depends on the nature of your job and how you feel. Many patients feel comfortable returning to office work within 7-10 days post-surgery, provided they manage any residual swelling or bruising with makeup or glasses. However, if your job involves physical labour, exposure to dust, or is particularly strenuous, you may need to wait longer. Always consult with Anca to determine the best time to return to work based on your recovery progress.

Is it normal to feel emotional after eyelid surgery?

  • Yes, experiencing a range of emotions after eyelid surgery is completely normal. Many patients go through a period of adjustment as they get used to their new appearance. Feelings of impatience, anxiety, or even temporary regret are common but usually subside as recovery progresses and the results of the surgery become more apparent. If you find these feelings overwhelming, don’t hesitate to discuss them with Anca or seek support from a mental health professional.

How can I ensure the best possible outcome from my eyelid surgery?

  • To ensure the best outcome, closely follow all post-operative care instructions provided by Anca, including attending all follow-up appointments. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet and adequate hydration, to support your body’s healing process. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as these can impair healing. Finally, protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses with UV protection, and give yourself plenty of time to rest and recover. Patience and adherence to Anca’s advice are key to achieving the optimal results from your eyelid surgery.

Further Reading about Eyelid Surgery with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna

Medical References about Recovery after Eyelid Surgery

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About Anca Breahna – Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery

Ms Anca Breahna, PhD, MSc, FEBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast) is a highly regarded Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in the field of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery.

Anca performs a wide range of Hand Surgery & Skin Surgery and Aesthetic Breast, Body and Face Surgery,

Anca Breahna - Female Plastic Surgeon in Chester UK

As one of the very few female Plastic Surgeons in the region, she is able to offer that unique female perspective, with empathy, attention to detail and personalised care. It is Anca’s true dedication and commitment to her field, that sets her aside from her peers. Her extensive surgical training means that you are in safe hands. She is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

Anca Breahna’s surgical training has mainly been undertaken within the United Kingdom. She began a rigorous training programme in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1999, after achieving her medical degree from the University of Bucharest. Miss Breahna attained her PhD degree at the same university in 2007 for her medical research. She then relocated to the UK and has worked Internationally to further extend her qualifications and training.

The team at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery looks forward to meeting you and will treat you with respect, consideration, and empathy.

Your Next Steps

Do your Research

  • Please read our website pages and blogs to learn more about your intended procedure.
  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read more about the risks of your surgery.

Get a Medical Referral before your consultation at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery

  • A Referral from your Doctor is not essential, however it is recommended to have one

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Anca – Car parking is usually available on-site
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly read all the documents provided

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

  • Please call to find out more about availability, pricing and medical payment plans
  • Request more information about the procedure – call us or email us

How to Book your Consultation with Anca Breahna – Plastic Surgeon

  • You can book your consultation with Anca by paying the £150 cosmetic consultation fee when you make your appointment. This fee covers further consultations about the same concern.

Contact Anca’s Team

Call Claire or Joedy on 03332 244111 to arrange your consultation or email us for more information.

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