As we grow older, our skin begins going through predictable changes that are caused by the age-related breakdown of two important skin components: collagen and elastin. Since these two substances give our skin its volume and elasticity, their loss leads to skin that gradually grows thinner and sags.
In the case of the eyes, this is seen as sagging and drooping skin that creates folds in the upper eyelid.
If eyelid sagging happens prematurely, it can make you look significantly older than your actual age, as well as making you look constantly tired, even if you are actually full of energy.
If you have decided upon, or are considering, undergoing eyelid surgery, you may be wondering how soon your results will become evident and how long your recovery will take.
When you can resume what activities after eyelid surgery:
|Activity||# of Days After Eyelid Surgery|
|Resume walking||Several hours after surgery|
|Sleep with head elevated||For 72 hours after surgery (3 nights)|
|Stitches removed||5-7 days after surgery|
|Drive again||7-10 days after surgery (and off pain meds)|
|Return to a desk job||7 days (1 week)|
|Total at-home recovery period||7-14 days (1-2 weeks)|
|Wear/use makeup again||14 days after surgery|
|Bathing & Showering (Regular)||14 days after surgery|
|Exercise||14-21 days (2-3 weeks) after surgery|
|Strenuous exercise||3-4 weeks after surgery|
|Sex||14 days after surgery (2 weeks)|
The Day of Your Surgery
Eyelid surgery is carried out using a local anesthetic, allowing you to remain conscious and comfortable the entire time. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, so don’t worry about needing to stay in the hospital.
Immediately after your procedure, your post-operative swelling can be reduced with a cold compress. Keep it in place for up to 20 minutes. After you are sent home, you will need to be sure to get plenty of rest to promote healing. Whenever you lie down, you should be elevating your head, even when sleeping.
Avoid vigorous physical activity, and take any required pain relievers when needed, being careful to follow the instructions for your medication.
You should be able to manage your swelling using cold compresses. Do not wear contact lenses for the first few days after your eyelid surgery.
Although this ear procedure involves only a small area of the body, it is still surgery to be taken seriously. Be ready for some significant adjustments in the early stages of your recovery. You should expect some degree of pain, swelling, itchy and dry eyes, blurred vision and numbness.
Patients typically only experience pain and significant discomfort during the first two or three days, which will rapidly improve during the next two weeks.
The area around the eyes has extremely thin skin, making it more reactive to things like incisions. So you will definitely experience some significant bruising and swelling while you are recovering. For this reason, it will be immediately obvious to others that you have undergone some type of trauma to the area, in this case surgery. So you may want to avoid going out in public until your bruising and swelling have significantly reduced.
During this first week after your eyelid surgery, you should avoid overworking your eyes. So take it easy when you read, watch TV, and use your phone.
You should be able to resume your normal routine by Week Two, including light physical activity like performing house chores and walking. Continue to avoid vigorous physical activity for the time being.
You should have seen some significant improvement in your swelling and bruising by Week Two. It is not unusual to still have some amount of lingering swelling and bruising.
You may be able to decrease your pain medication around this time.
Weeks Three to Four
At this stage of your recovery, most unpleasant effects of your procedure should have subsided. During the fourth week, you should be able to resume vigorous physical activity, such as strenuous exercise.
Now is the time when you can finally look at yourself in the mirror and actually enjoy the full results of your eyelid surgery. If you’ve been staying at home while recovering, you can once again be seen in public, with no one knowing you’ve had anything done, although people will probably comment that you appear “refreshed” or “well rested.”