What can I expect after surgery?

Your vision may be blurry as Dr. Reynolds will probably lubricate your eyes with ointment. You may feel tightness around your eyes. Ice compresses will make you feel more comfortable and will reduce swelling and bruising. You will be given prescriptions for pain. Bruising varies from one patient to the next: it usually reaches it’s peak 2 to 3 days after surgery and can last anywhere from two weeks to a month. You should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from wind and sun. Sleeping on your back with your head elevated will reduce swelling. Dr. Reynolds will see you at his office the following day, and regular follow-up appointments will be necessary. Sutures will be removed approximately one week after surgery.


As you recover, you can expect to have some bruising and swelling, but you’ll probably see quick improvement. The more closely you follow instructions given by Dr. Reynolds and his surgical team, the greater the chance you’ll look better soon. There’s less chance of complications, too. With good healing, you’ll soon feel comfortable back at your regular activities.

Dr. Reynolds will advise you about returning to work and other activities. Avoid contact sports for one to two weeks and activities that can increase your pulse or blood pressure for a few days. This will decrease your risk of bleeding and swelling.

On the mend

Here are some tips to help you heal faster and look better sooner:

  • Sleep on your back and elevate your head to minimize swelling.
  • Use ice compresses during waking hours for two days to reduce bruising and swelling.
  • Use an ointment prescribed by our team if your eyes are dry.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from wind and sun.
  • Ask Dr. Reynolds when you can resume wearing contact lenses and eye make-up.

Pre Operative Instructions for Blepharoplasty

Correct drooping upper eyelids and puffy bags below the eyes by removing excess fat, skin, and muscle. (Upper-eyelid surgery may be covered by insurance if used to correct visual field defects)

1 to 3 hours.

Usually locally with sedation or general.


Side Effects:
Temporary discomfort, tightness of lids, swelling, bruising. Temporary dryness, burning, itching of eyes. Excessive tearing, sensitivity to light for first few weeks.

Temporary blurred or double vision. Infection, bleeding. Swelling at the corners of the eyelids. Dry eyes. Formation of whiteheads. Slight asymmetry in healing or scarring. Difficulty in closing eyes completely (rarely permanent). Pulling down of the lower lids (may require further surgery). Blindness (extremely rare).

Reading: 2 or 3 days. Back to work: 7 to 10 days. Contact lenses: two weeks or more. Strenuous activities, alcohol: about 3 weeks. Bruising and swelling gone: several weeks.

Duration of Results:
Several years. Sometimes permanent.

Do’s and Don’ts Before Surgery

Do not take aspirin, baby aspirin, coated aspirin, aspirin-containing medications (for example, some cold remedies), aspirin-like medications (including many prescription arthritis medications), or ibuprofen and related medications (Motrin, Advil, Alleve, etc.) during the three weeks before surgery. Even one tablet can interfere with blood clotting. Tylenol (or any brand of acetaminophen) may be used at any time
• If you use prescription “blood thinners” such as Coumadin or Plavix, be sure to discuss this with your surgeon well in advance of your surgery. You will need to follow special customized instructions.
• If you use a separate Vitamin E supplement or fish oil, stop two weeks before surgery. The small amount of Vitamin E contained in a normal daily multivitamin is not of concern.
• Other common over-the-counter supplements are known to prolong bleeding such as: gingko biloba, ginseng, garlic, and many other herbs. For this reason, do not have any herbal supplements or herbal teas or any other over-the-counter supplements not specifically recommended by your general physician.
• Unless you are advised otherwise, continue using all of your regular medications in their normal dosages. If you are diabetic, you may need to adjust your dose of diabetic medicine on the day of surgery. Be sure to talk to your surgeon about this and any other special medications.
Stop smoking six weeks prior to surgery.
•You should have the following supplies ready for use upon your arrival home:

  • Ice cubes (one or two trays)
  • Several clean washcloths 
  • A small clean bowl to hold water 
  • Several gallon-size Ziploc bags (to use for ice packs), or a package of frozen baby peas

• You should purchase the following supplies before surgery:

  •  A small bottle of Extra-Strength Tylenol (or the equivalent brand of acetaminophen) 
  • A small bottle of artificial tears

Arrange for someone to drive you to your surgery and pick you up afterwards. You may not drive yourself home.

• Someone must stay with you at home on the afternoon and evening of surgery.
• Shower and shampoo the morning of surgery. Wash your eyebrows and thoroughly and remove all eyelid cosmetics. Do not reapply cosmetics to your eyelids or face.
• Do not wear jewelry, necklaces, wristwatches, hairpieces, false eyelashes, or contact lenses. Do not bring articles of value with you. Wear loose-fitting comfortable clothes.

Avoid tight collars or belts. 

•Avoid long sleeves, which can interfere with blood pressure monitoring.

View or Download Pre Operative Instructions for Blepharoplasty (shown above)

Post Operative Instructions for Blepharoplasty

Some swelling is normal. Use cool the first 24 to 48 hours for swelling. If you experience severe swelling or changes in vision call me immediately. If eyes do not close at first due to swelling, you may need a lubricating ointment at night (Lacrilube). A dressing may be used to help eyes retain moisture as well. I recommend Swiss Eye Therapy gel

Sit up or semi-recline. Elevate the head of the bed 30 degrees. No strenuous activity, straining or bending over for 48 hours. Increase activity as tolerated with no heavy exercise for two weeks. Do not smoke or drink alcohol for 48 hours following surgery.

If a temperature above 101.5 occurs contact my office.

4. PAIN:
Some discomfort is normal following surgery. If pain medication is prescribed, take only as directed. Do not drive while using narcotic pain medications. Often it is beneficial to take the medication after eating to help prevent nausea. If you experience severe pain behind your eye call me immediately

5. DIET:
Eat something when you feel ready.

Do not get surgical site wet for 24 hours after surgery. Later you may let water run over the area for brief periods. Do not soak. Do not let shower spray directly onto surgical site.

Coat the sutures with a thin covering of antibiotic ointment (Double or triple antibiotic ointment, Neosporin, Bacitracin, Polysporin twice daily. Use a clean cotton tip applicator. Don’t use make-up on the incision until it is fully healed. To reduce the appearance of the scar topical silicone ointment can be applied after it is fully healed about 2 weeks. (One over the counter example; Cimeosol)

The incision will heal better if it is carefully kept clean during the healing period. Protect it from dirt, dust, & sun. Don’t touch it with your fingers.

After having intravenous anesthesia, the arm vein may become hardened and tender. Apply moist heat over the area for one hour three times a day for three days. Contact me if there is no improvement

Nausea is a normal side effect of narcotic pain medications. If you have severe nausea or vomiting you may need to stop the pain medications or to take an additional anti-nausea medication.

Eyes may feel dry and scratchy. Blood, tears and drainage are normal, especially the first few days. If eyes feel dry, a natural tears formula may be used as needed

May be worn after about one week.

Stay out of the sun or wear a brimmed hat for 6 months. Scars become inflamed and get thickened from sun exposure. After the incision is healed you should use sunscreen eye makeup. The scars will become less noticeable over a 6 month period until they are almost invisible.

Contraceptives may be ineffective while taking an antibiotic. Use extra protection.

View or Download Post Operative Instructions for Blepharoplasty

Consent Form for Blepharoplasty