Whether you’ve had an upper or lower eyelid lift, also known as a blepharoplasty, you’ll need time afterward to recover and heal from the surgery. For the most part, the initial recovery after blepharoplasty takes about a week, but some people might need a few extra days before they feel ready to head back to work. After the initial recovery, you’ll want to continue to limit certain activities, until your surgeon gives you the all clear.
Recovering from surgery can be a bit uncomfortable, as you might be dealing with some post-operative pain, swelling, and in the case of eyelid surgery, some dryness or itchiness in the eyes. There are a few things you can do to make your recovery time a bit more comfortable.
Keep Your Head Up
Swelling and bruising occur after an eyelid surgery because fluid builds up in the area. While time is the best solution when it comes to minimizing swelling and bruising, there are ways to help speed up the process or to avoid making bruising and swelling worse. The best thing to do is to keep your head up. That means not lying flat after your surgery for a number of days or weeks. Instead, prop your head and neck up with several pillows on your bed. When you’re sitting, opt for a recliner, which makes it easy for you to keep your head elevated.
Keeping the head up lets fluid drain away and will prevent it from pooling around your eyes. Along with elevating the head, using a cold compress around the eyes can help bring down swelling and provide some relief from any discomfort.
Let Your Eyes Rest
When recovering from any other type of surgery, watching TV, surfing the web or reading a book might all be recommended activities. When you’re recovering from an eyelid lift, though, you want to give your eyes plenty of time to rest and avoid putting any undue strain on your them. To do that, it’s a good idea to limit your reading, TV watching, and computer use, at least for the first few days after surgery. Odds are that your eyes might feel so dry and tired that the idea of trying to focus on a screen or read text in a book doesn’t sound very appealing anyway.
You might find that listening to audiobooks or podcasts, with your eyes closed, and a cold compress draped over your face, is an enjoyable and somewhat comfortable way to pass the time during those first few days of recovery. Napping might also be a pleasant way to pass the time after surgery.
Limit the Salt
Your surgeon might have recommended eating a healthy diet in the weeks leading up to your eyelid surgery, so that your body was prepared for the procedure and minimizing the risk for any complications. Eating a nutritious diet after surgery is just as important for speeding recovery and helping you get back on your feet in good time.
One extra step might be worth taking after your surgery, too, and that’s to limit the amount of salt in your diet. This helps keep swelling to a minimum. Convenient foods, such as frozen dinners, take-out or delivery options from area restaurants, and complete meals you can grab at the supermarket tend to be higher in sodium than anything you’d make for yourself at home. One way to keep an eye on salt intake after your surgery is to prepare and freeze a number of meals at home before your procedure. They’ll be just as convenient and available for you after surgery as a take-out or processed freezer meal, but a lot less salty.
Protect Your Eyes
Avoiding sun exposure after an eyelid lift is important, not only for the skin around the eyes, but for the eyes themselves. Your eyes are likely to be a lot more sensitive to bright light in the weeks after your surgery. To protect them, always wear sunglasses when going outdoors. Wearing a pair of sunglasses can also shield your eyes from irritants that might be floating in the air, such as dust and pollen.
Add Activities Slowly
The day after your surgery you might feel ready to begin your regular routine, or you might want to continue to take it easy. While you want to keep avoiding strenuous exercise for several weeks after surgery, you can start adding light activities to your schedule when you feel fit. For example, you can start taking short walks a day or two after returning home. Being somewhat but not too active will help you feel a bit more comfortable as you recover.
Your surgeon can let you know what activities are OK to resume and when it’s OK to resume them. If you have any other questions about eyelid surgery or what to expect during recovery, Dr. Jessica Kulak, a face-aging specialist, can happily answer them. Dr. Kulak practices at the Naderi Center’s two locations, in Virginia and Maryland. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak in Maryland, call (301) 222-2020. For an appointment in Virginia, call (703) 481-0002.