Pre and Post Op Care for Upper Eyelid Surgery?

What should I expect before and after my surgery? How can I make my recovery less awful? Do I need to buy a special pillow and creams? Can I avoid buying the expensive stuff?


F, 55, Connecticut

Tags:woman age 45-54 upper eyelids recovery cream aftercare

My cosmetic surgeon gave me some pretty detailed instructions on how to take care of my eyelids after surgery. He said to:

  • Use any eye drops or ointments prescribed.
  • Clean your eyelids very gently.
  • Wear your glasses instead of contacts.
  • Be extra careful not to expose your eyes to sun and wind. Use sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t swim.
  • Don’t rub your eyes.
  • Don’t take any aspirin or other blood thinning medications.
  • Elevate your head with several pillows when lying down.
  • Don’t lift heavy objects or exercise for a minimum of seven days.

I had upper eyelid surgery last year and there was no need to buy anything special for before or after the surgery. The main thing is to follow all the instructions from your doctor, like making sure not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your surgery. There are also some medications and vitamins that you have to stop taking because they increase the bruising. After my surgery, I stayed at home resting for about a week. My husband did the housework, errands, and cooking, so hopefully you have someone to help you. I used ice packs for the first few days to reduce swelling, and that also took away the pain. Other than that, I got as much rest as possible and took over the counter pain medicine.

The best advice for a not-so-awful recovery is to make sure that you follow your doctor’s instructions! Most doctors usually give the same type of directions for surgery so you should make sure that you are doing everything exactly as they want. Usually a couple of weeks before surgery, your doctor will have you come in for a pre-op appointment. She or he may ask you about your medications and may even recommend that you stop taking a few of them until after the surgery is over. Your doc may also ask you to start taking certain medications or washing your face a different way to prepare for the eyelid surgery. They may ask you to make sure you have someone to step in and help you for a couple of days after your surgery and tell you not to eat or drink after midnight. They will tell you when it is safe to resume normal activities. You will not need special creams or pillows, just cold compresses to ease your swelling. Having gone through the whole process myself and helping my sister after her procedure, it's a lot easier than it sounds.