Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty): Procedure, Risks, And Recovery


Blepharoplasty or otherwise known as Eyelid surgery is a type of medical procedure that helps repair droopy eyelids with removing excess skin, muscle, and fat

With growing older, your eyelids stretch, and the muscles supporting them weaken. Because of this, excess fat can gather either above or below your eyelids. This can cause baggy under eyes, sagging upper eyelids, and eyebrows that are weighing down.

These are some of the major reasons why many people consider eyelid surgery to remove and tighten excess eyelid skin for a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance.

This surgery can be performed on the upper lids, lower lids, or both. Sometimes blepharoplasty also can improve your vision once droopy eyelids are improved, by providing a less obstructed field of view and improved peripheral (side) vision.

For some patients, surgeons might only recommend the removal of skin and leave the muscle intact. Your doctor will determine which suits your situation best.

An upper eyelid blepharoplasty (eye lift) is not the same as an upper eyelid ptosis surgery.

Ptosis is a procedure done with the aim of raising the position of the upper eyelid margin. During ptosis, your surgeon will tighten the muscle and tendons that normally elevate the upper eyelid. If needed, your surgeon can perform ptosis during your initial eyelid surgery.

if the heaviness of the excessive skin is the reason why the upper eyelid is weighing down and drooping, blepharoplasty surgery sometimes can elevate an upper eyelid margin slightly and help with the look of the eyelid.

Why It’s Done

This procedure can be done for both functional or cosmetic reasons.

·      Functional blepharoplasty is performed for medical reasons when the sagging and droopy eyelids are impairing the vision and the range of the patient’s view field.

Some additional medical conditions can also require functional eyelid surgery. For instance:

  • When the excess folds of eyelid skin rub together and cause friction or discomfort.
  • When the muscles responsible for raising the sagging skin from the eyelid area, become strained and irritate.
  • Cosmetic blepharoplasty is performed solely to improve the appearance and is not medically necessary.

Who Are Good Candidates?

Blepharoplasty may be a good option if you have:

  • Baggy or droopy upper eyelids
  • Excess skin of the upper eyelids that obstruct your peripheral vision
  • Excess skin on the lower eyelids
  • Baggy under-eyes

Other procedures such as brow lift, face-lift, and skin resurfacing can be done at the same time as your doctor is performing your blepharoplasty.

To reduce the risk of complications, you may also be a good candidate if you don’t smoke or have any chronic illnesses that can affect your recovery.

During your initial consultation, your doctor will specifically examine your facial features and anatomy and later explain which specific procedures can work best for your condition.

How To Prepare

An initial consultation with your doctor is the first step you need to take when you are getting ready to have eyelid surgery, to discuss any concerns and your desired outcomes.

Before you undergo this procedure, your surgeon will need to run some tests. These include:

  • A physical exam to look at and measure your eyes
  • Vision and tear tests
  • Evaluation for your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors

Your surgeon will also take pictures of your eyelids to assist the doctor during the procedure.

During your consultation, you need to inform your surgeon about several factors. These include:

  • Your surgical goals
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies, previous medical treatments and specifically any problems you have had with your eyes
  • Current prescription medications, including vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
  • Any previous surgeries

Before your surgery, your doctor may ask you to:

  • Stop taking certain medications such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, others), naproxen (Naprosyn), and any other medication or herbal supplement associated with increased bleeding.
  • Avoid smoking weeks before your surgery. Smoking will increase the chances of postoperative complications, and slow your ability to completely heal and recover after your surgery.  

Depending on your doctor, your eyelid surgery can be performed at either a hospital or an office-based surgical facility.

Keep in mind that after surgery your eyes will be covered with gauze, so you will need the help of a relative to take you to surgery and then bring you back home.

It’s a good idea to have them stay with you the first night after the surgery as well.

How The Procedure Is Done

Depending on your doctor’s recommendations, the surgery will be performed either via IV (intravenous) sedation – which means you can leave the surgical center shortly after your procedure is done – or sometimes under general anesthesia.

A typical blepharoplasty consists of the following steps:

1. The incision

During surgery, incisions are made in the natural folds of the eyelid, in the crease of the upper eyelid and just beneath the lashes or behind the lower eyelid, for removal or repositioning of fat deposits, tightening of muscles and removal of excess skin.

This way, incisions, and resultant scars are virtually unnoticeable after they have healed.

2. The removal

Evaluating the exact locations where excess skin and fat tissue are, your doctor will remove those parts. They may also address some underlying muscles and remove them as well.

These tissues are taken out with surgical instruments such as scalpels, surgical scissors, radio-frequency cutting devices, and in some cases cutting lasers.

3. Closing the incisions

When the removal is complete, your surgeon will then apply sutures or tissue glue to carefully smooth and reconfigure the areas around the eyebrows and eyelids.

In some cases where the eyebrows are droopy, you may choose to have a procedure to lift and raise the eyebrows which will be performed simultaneously. To perform the brow-lift, your surgeon will make incisions into your scalp and then tighten the skin to raise the eyebrows upward.

After The Procedure

Compared to other types of surgeries, the blepharoplasty recovery is relatively short. After the surgery, you will be staying in a recovery room, and be carefully monitored by the staff for any complications.

After your procedure is finished, your eyes may be covered in surgical gauze. Lubricating ointment and cold compresses can also be applied to help with recovery. If your surgery was performed under IV sedation, you will be able to leave the hospital that day after a few hours following the surgery, to recover at home.

After the treatment, you may experience some discomfort including:

  • Blurred vision from the lubricating ointment applied to your eyes
  • Watering eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Double vision
  • Puffy, numb eyelids
  • Swelling and bruising similar to having black eyes
  • Pain

Recovery At Home

You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for your eyes, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection.

It is significantly important to follow every postoperative instruction that your health care team provides for you. This will assure the success of your surgery and also reduce risks and complications after the operation.

Remember to be gentle with the incisions on your eyelids, to let them heal properly.

All about vision suggests that “On the first day, you should apply cold packs each hour you are awake, for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. The ice should reduce the swelling and keep bruising to a minimum. On the second day, apply cold packs every few hours for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time.”

Your surgeon may also recommend you to:

  • Gently clean your eyelids and use prescribed eye drops or ointments.
  • Avoid strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, aerobics, jogging, and swimming for a week.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid using contact lenses for approximately 2 weeks after the surgery, if you use them.
  • Wear sunglasses that are darkly tinted to protect the skin of your eyelids from exposure to sun and wind.
  • Position your head higher than your chest while sleeping, for the first few days after the surgery.
  • Avoid taking medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, naproxen, or other herbal supplements that may increase bleeding, for about a week.

After a few days, your doctor might tell you to return for an appointment and remove the stitches.

Risks and Complications

Like other surgeries, blepharoplasty carries some risks of bleeding, bruising, and infection. A chance of blood clots is also a rare, but serious possibility.

Other risks and complications include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Damage from excessive sun exposure
  • Dry eyes
  • Itchiness around the eye area
  • Inability to close your eyes: Usually, this condition resolves after a few weeks or months, during which time you would need remedies such as eye drops, humidifiers and even taping the eyes closed at night to provide lubrication.
  • Muscle damage
  • Noticeable Scars
  • Undercorrection (not removing enough of the excessive skin)
  • Overcorrection (removing too much skin)

It’s important to talk to your doctor about these risks ahead of time. If you experience any of the following side effects, make sure to seek medical attention immediately:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • An unusual heart rate
  • Severe new eye pain
  • Bleeding
  • Vision problems

Success Rate And Outlook

Ideally, eyelid surgery is a one-time procedure. However, you may need follow-up surgeries if you don’t like the results, or if your eyelids don’t heal properly the first time around.

Eyelid surgery results are typically the best when patients have been educated beforehand and have reasonable expectations.


Many patients are satisfied with the results of blepharoplasty, where they can now have a more rejuvenated appearance and improved self-confidence. While for some people droopy eyelids can recur, for the majority of people, results of surgery can last a lifetime.

Any bruising or swelling will typically go down between 10 to 14 days after the surgery.

Some scars might remain visible and take months to fade. If you have concerns about scarring, discuss them with your doctor beforehand.

The skin of the eyelids are very delicate, so keep in mind to take care of them accordingly and do not expose them to unnecessary sun and wind.

Here at Medgo, we offer cost-effective treatment plans for your eyelid surgery, with the best medical professionals in the field.  You can choose a plan today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Can eyelid surgery remove crow’s feet(wrinkles around the eyes) raise weighing eyebrows, and fix dark under-eye circles?

No, the blepharoplasty surgery can’t achieve all of this. Although with tightening of the skin many wrinkles go away, still, some fine ones can remain.

If the dark circles under your eyes are due to large bags, they may improve a bit after surgery, but for most patients, the dark appearance of the lower eyelid skin remains as is.

Are all patients candidates for blepharoplasty?

No, the best patients are those who are otherwise healthy, with no underlying conditions both physically and psychologically, and well-motivated.

Patients that are diagnosed with specific eye conditions such as glaucoma or dry eyes may sometimes not be qualified for and eyelid surgery.

Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) or thyroid disease can also cause some complications during and after surgery, so specialists might recommend you to reconsider.   

 If you are taking any blood-thinning medications, you will not be a suitable candidate for blepharoplasty.

Your doctor will determine whether or not you are eligible for the procedure during your initial doctor’s appointment.

Can I get cosmetic eyelid surgery if I’ve had a PRK or LASIK surgery?

As long as the patients are otherwise healthy, there are no restrictions regarding these previous laser eye correction procedures. Patients who have undergone PRK or LASIK, or other vision correction surgeries, are good candidates for eyelid surgery.

Can men also have eyelid surgery?

Yes. Men and women can both undergo eyelid surgery, to achieve a more youthful and relaxed appearance.

Will my eyelids look the same after the surgery?

In general, most patients’ two eyelids are not perfectly symmetrical. This surgery aims to make them look as similar as possible. It is generally the result but cannot be guaranteed.

How long does the surgery take?

Generally, a blepharoplasty takes about 1 hour, depending on the complexity of a person’s eyelid shape and condition.

How long after will my swellings go down?

Some patients might heal faster some may take more time, but generally speaking, the swellings should go down after approximately 2-3 weeks. As time passes, your swellings should resolve and final results can be seen after 1 year. In most cases, patients can see 90% of their finalized results after 3 months following the surgery.

If you have more concerns regarding this or other eye treatments, you can benefit from our free medical consultation services, where our experts will address any uncertainties about your conditions before you decide on a treatment choice.

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