Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is an excellent surgery for anyone interested in improving the look of aging eyes. As with any other type of facial plastic surgery, you’re going to need to take some time off from your regular activities and work to recover after an eyelid lift. While some parts of the recovery process after eyelid surgery are very similar to the recovery process following surgeries such as rhinoplasty or facelift, the location of the procedure (in the eye area) means that there are a few factors you want to be aware of beforehand.
Be Prepared for Swelling
Swelling is to be expected after your surgery. It might be very dramatic, particularly at first, and your eyes might look worse before they look better. You might look as though you have a black eye or eyes, and your vision might be blurry from the swelling.
There are several things you can do to bring the swelling down. Your surgeon will most likely recommend applying a cold compress or ice packs to the eye area to help reduce swelling. Keeping your head upright as much as you can will also minimize swelling more quickly. Sleep on your back at night with your head propped up by pillows.
Your eyes might feel tight, but trying to blink can be helpful. For one thing, it can make your eyes feel less dry and scratchy. For another, it can help move any fluid build-up away from the eye area.
Take it Easy
It’s a good idea to take it easy after any surgery, and particularly important to do so after eyelid surgery. You want to avoid any activity that requires you to lower your head beneath the level of your heart, such as bending down to pick something up. Also avoid any vigorous activities or activities that require you to strain any part of your body.
Rest Your Eyes
While it’s common for people to relax and unwind as they recover from other facial plastic surgeries by watching TV or reading a book, doing that after eyelid surgery might be more challenging. In fact, your surgeon might actually advise against any restful activity that involves staring at a screen or otherwise using your eyes, at least during the first few days of recovery.
Your eyes will grow tired more easily during the initial recovery period, which can make trying to read or watch TV particularly uncomfortable. You might notice that your vision is a bit blurry or that your eyes tear up easily.
Instead of reading, watching TV or using your tablet or Smartphone during the first phase of your eyelid surgery recovery, find other calm activities that don’t depend on your eyes so much. One option is to listen to the audio version of a book. Another is to tune into a radio show or podcast instead of browsing the web or checking out your Facebook.
Make Small Adjustments
You might find that you need to make a few small adjustments to your routine to make your post-surgical recovery more comfortable. For example, you might need to adjust your sleeping position if you’re a side or stomach sleeper. If you usually share a bed with your pets, it’s typically a good idea to have them sleep somewhere else the first few nights. You might want to skip the shower the first few nights and take a bath instead.
Usually people are fine eating their normal diet after eyelid surgery. If you do feel a bit sick to your stomach or queasy, you may want to stick to soups and light foods for the first few days of recovery.
Be Careful with Makeup
Although you might want to try to cover up any bruising with makeup, it’s typically recommended that you wait a few days or weeks before you do so. If you apply makeup before the incisions have fully healed, there’s a chance that the pigment will get into the open incision and cause permanent discoloration.
Talk to your surgeon to get an idea of when it will be okay to start wearing makeup again. In the meantime, an easy way to cover up is to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses can come in handy in other ways, too. They help protect your eyes from bright sunlight and from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Dr. Stephen P. Smith is a fourth-generation facial plastic surgeon in Ohio. He’s available to answer any questions you might have about eyelid surgery and the recovery period afterwards. To learn more about your options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Smith today. Call 614-245-4263 to make an appointment.