Questions to ask your doctor

Facing surgery can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment.  Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before eyelid surgery and between appointments. 

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

  • Am I a good candidate for eyelid surgery? Are there any other options for treating my condition?
  • How will you perform my eyelid surgery?
  • How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
  • What restrictions will I have after the surgery? When can I return to work and other activities?
  • When can I shower after eyelid surgery? How should I care for my incisions?
  • How will I look after the surgery? 
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home?
  • How do I take my medications?
  • How will you treat my pain?
  • When should I follow up with you?
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular office hours.

What can I expect after my eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty)?

Knowing what to expect can help make your road to recovery after eyelid surgery as smooth as possible. 

How long will it take to recover?

You will stay in the recovery room after surgery until you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable. You may have a sore throat if a tube was placed in your windpipe during surgery. This is usually temporary, but tell your care team if you are uncomfortable.

You may still be drowsy or nauseous from sedation or anesthesia, so you will need a friend or family member to drive you home and stay with you the first night or two.

You will likely have small sutures on your eyelids along with lubricating eye ointment. This may cause blurred vision. Your eyes may also be lightly wrapped with gauze.

Recovery after surgery is a gradual process. Recovery time varies depending on the number of incisions, your general health, age, and other factors. You will most likely have swelling and bruising around your eyes and face after eyelid surgery. Bruising should lessen within 10 days. Swelling gradually decreases over the following months. Scars may take six months or longer to fade.

Will I feel pain?

Pain control is important to healing and a smooth recovery. There will be discomfort after your surgery. Your doctor will treat your pain so you are comfortable and can get the rest you need. Call your doctor if your pain gets worse or changes in any way because it may be a sign of a complication.

When should I call my doctor?

It is important to keep your follow-up appointments after eyelid surgery. Contact your doctor for questions and concerns between appointments. Call your doctor right away or seek immediate medical care if you have:

  • Bleeding
  • Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, or wheezing
  • Change in alertness, such as passing out, unresponsiveness, or confusion
  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, or palpitations
  • Fever. A low-grade fever (lower than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) is common for a couple of days after surgery. It is not necessarily a sign of a surgical infection. However, you should follow your doctor's specific instructions about when to call for a fever.
  • Inability to urinate or have a bowel movement
  • Leg pain, redness or swelling, especially in the calf, which may indicate a blood clot
  • Pain that is not controlled by your pain medication
  • Unexpected drainage, pus, redness or swelling of your incisions

How might eyelid surgery affect my everyday life?

If you had eyelid surgery for a vision problem, it may cure your condition or significantly improve your vision. 

If you had eyelid surgery for cosmetic reasons, the new appearance of your eyes may give you increased satisfaction with your overall appearance and increase your self-confidence. Many surgeons caution that it is important to be realistic about how much eyelid surgery can improve your self-image. Ask your surgeon what eyelid surgery can and cannot do for your overall appearance.