Beautiful Eyes Start Here

Taking Care of Your Eyes After Surgery

Many patients who are considering surgery of any kind are understandably interested in what happens immediately after surgery. That is, they want to know what the recovery will be like so they can plan appropriately. Patients who are looking into eyelid lift procedures are no different. Generally, eyelid surgery recovery is a process that patients move through relatively quickly and in the comfort of their own home. Because eyelid surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure in most cases, this means that the majority of recovery happens in the home. It’s important to note, however, that surgeons are quite involved in that recovery, scheduling regular check-ins and giving patients detailed instructions.

Recovery from eyelid surgery is an individual process and will depend on your constitution and your body’s natural rate of healing. Your recovery rate will also depend on how well you follow instructions from Dr. Rostami and Dr. Nazemzadeh at the Sanctuary Cosmetic Center. Most patients define their recovery period as the length of time before they can return to work or daily activity. For many patients, that recovery period is between 10-14 days, as that’s typically how long it takes for the most visible signs of blepharoplasty to heal. This definition for recovery is too extended as most of our patients, especially those undergoing the Lunchtime Eyelid lift, may return to work immediately. Some patients are able to return to work much more quickly, with the understanding that they will still be showing mild signs of the procedure.

What Happens During Eyelid Surgery Recovery?

Because we perform so many eyelid surgery procedures for those in the Metropolitan Washington D.C. area, eyelid surgery recovery is a big deal. Most people want to return to their jobs as quickly as possible, and many occupations in DC, Virginia and Maryland are quite public-facing. As with many other surgical procedures, eyelid lift recovery can be broken down into several general phases. This will be different for each individual, but most patients follow the same trajectory.

Days 1 – 3
Because eyelid surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, patients are typically allowed to return home immediately after surgery. Pain should be mostly manageable with either no medication or over-the-counter pain medication, although you may be prescribed some medication to help you manage that pain. At this point, there will be some bruising and swelling.

Days 4-7
During the remainder of the first week, patients who have had stitches are usually asked to return to the office in order to remove those stitches. If you had fat removal in addition to skin removal, the swelling will likely persist throughout the first week. However, that swelling should diminish by the end of the second week.. Some patients are comfortable returning to work at this point (be sure to consult with your surgeon about when it is safe to wear makeup after surgery). In most cases, eye makeup can be worn after 7 days.

Week 2
Most patients will return to work during or immediately after the second week of recovery.
During the second week of recovery, the majority of swelling and bruising should abate. The incision lines may still be midly visible, depending on the extent of your eyelid surgery, but they will not be as noticeable. Contact lenses may be worn after the second week of recovery. Patients should be able to resume most normal activities.

Week 3
After the third week of recovery, most patients are allowed to begin exercising again.

Month 1-2
Final results should become visible and apparent between the first and second month of recovery.

Month 6
It is recommended that patients wear sunscreen around the eyes when exposed to sunlight for long durations for the first six months after the procedure.

Can I Speed Up My Recovery?

To some degree, your body is going to heal at its own rate. But you can help that recovery along by listening to your body and doing some basic things. First and foremost, it’s important to note that smoking will slow down your recovery considerably. If you have already quit smoking and you’re looking for more ways to speed up your recovery, consider the following:

  • Abstain from activities that require heavy lifting, bending, or straining. These activities will place too much pressure on your incision sites and are avoided to allow proper healing
  • During the first few days of recovery, sleep with your head elevated above your body to help improve blood flow
  • During the first few days of recovery, keep a cold compress or ice pack nearby to help control swelling
  • Refrain from smoking tobacco for the duration of your recovery
  • Avoid wearing heavy eye makeup the first week after your procedure as the incision sites are healing and introduction of bacteria or foreign material should be avoided

Of course, the most important thing you can do during your recovery is to follow the instructions given to you by your surgeon. Dr. Rostami and Dr. Nazemzadeh at the Sanctuary Cosmetic Center give each patient individualized recovery instructions that are not only designed to maximize comfort but also protect the results of your eyelid lift surgery.

If you want more information on eyelid lift recovery for our Washington D.C. area patients, contact the Sanctuary Cosmetic Center, located in Tysons Corner, VA, to schedule a confidential consultation.


In most cases, stitches or sutures are removed five to six days after surgery.


For most patients, swelling and bruising will subside after roughly two weeks.


Full results should become visible one or two months after your procedure was performed.

I have visited numerous facilities and doctors, and I have found the right one for me. I received eyelid surgery and brow lift by Dr. Rostami and the results are amazing and very natural looking. I am impressed with Dr. Rostami's surgical skill not to mention her warm personality. I have complete trust in her and look forward to my upcoming lower facelift.

Robin H.