Although it might take up to six months for a patient to see the complete, finalized results of an eyelid surgery, the physical aspect of eyelid surgery recovery typically takes no longer than two to three weeks. Patients can expect mild discomfort for the first several days following the surgery, but this will improve through the next week. In about five days, any stitches can be removed, and most patients are able to comfortably return to work. Patients might be ready for exercise or other strenuous activities anytime after this period depending on their doctor's advice. There are many things that patients can do themselves to help speed up their recovery.
The first two to three days after eyelid surgery recovery tend to be the most uncomfortable. A patient's eyelids might feel tight or sore, and he or she might experience an aching or burning sensation. The eyes might also be sensitive to light, and there might be some instances of blurry vision. Most of this can be easily relieved through pain medications and cold compresses, and eye drops can be used to keep the eyes from drying out. It is also recommended that patients sleep with their head elevated during this time and focus on getting plenty of rest.
The three to five days following the surgery is normally the period where stitches, if any, can be removed, and swelling and bruising start to heal. During this time period, most patients prefer to stay focused on rest. If everyday activities must be resumed as soon as possible, patients should at least avoid strenuous activities as well as anything that might dry or strain the eyes, such as using a computer, watching television or reading.
After the first week, it generally is safe for patients to wear eye makeup and to go to work. Sunglasses are especially useful at that time and the next couple weeks as well in order to protect the eyes from sunshine and wind. The eyes also might tire more easily during this time period, so even though normal activities are starting up again, frequent rest is still recommended.
Finally, after two to three weeks, most if not all bruising has generally cleared up, and the most involved period of eyelid surgery recovery has typically run its course. Contacts can safely be worn after this time. It is still recommended to avoid activities that increase blood flow to the eyes — lifting, bending down, crying or drinking alcohol — but makeup to cover bruises is usually no longer necessary. Depending on the doctor's specific recommendations, patients could be ready for exercise or strenuous activity anytime after these first few weeks.
Some patients can become unhappy about the recovery period because of their swollen, bruised eyes. These patients should understand that eyelid surgery recovery is actually a fairly smooth process in which they will see drastic improvement within just several weeks. The healing process after this point is much smoother. All that happens for as long as six months is that the scars will fade to an almost invisible white line, and the patient's new appearance will gradually take its final form.