I had upper eyelid surgery on 10/31/11. It's only been a few weeks, so I'm still healing. I wanted to share my experience with people because I notice a lot of posters on here had little to no bruising and my experience was quite different. Some people look great after just 2-3 days after surgery, and I want people to be aware that it might not be the case for you.
I wanted to have the surgery done because I was noticing a lot of "hooding" on my left eye. I'm only 33 and my right eye didn't have any issues, but that left eye was bothering me and I figured my right eye would eventually catch up. I found a plastic surgeon that was professional, focused of facial plastic surgery, and his before and after results seemed very natural. Since my eyes weren't that bad to begin with, I did NOT want to go to an aggressive surgeon for fear of the "hollowness" some other posters have complained about.
Prior to the surgery, I followed all of the doctor's orders...no vitamin E (no multi vitamin, that was hard!), fish oil, ibuprofin, aspirin, or alcohol for 3 weeks. I also vamped up my vitamin C intake for 3 weeks prior and Arnica 1 week prior. I thought following all of these orders, plus being fairly young(and because he was only removing some skin, no fat or muscle), that I would recover pretty quickly and would be somewhat presentable enough to go out and about after a week or so. Wrong! I decided I wanted to be completely knocked out for my surgery, and I wonder if that contributed to my bruising.
After surgery, my eyes were very red and swollen. I would sleep with at least 4 pillows(and iced as much as I could handle) and the swelling went down after 3 days. For these first few days, I could only open my eyes about 50%. I didn't really experience much pain, but was quite uncomfortable due to the swelling. That improved after 3-4 days, but I still had a ton of watering of the eyes for about a week(not to mention bruising). After the first week, I did feel much better. My eyes are not as tight as they were, and once the stitches were removed at day 11, the discomfort was gone(my experience was that the stitches were very itchy!). After my surgeon removed the stitches at day 11, he said they looked great and didn't need to see me again for 10 weeks. 16 days after surgery, I can still "feel" my eyelids(he said I will for the next 6 months), but they don't hurt at all. There is some scar tissue bumpiness around my eyes, and I am going to try Mederma to smooth it out. I also notice my eyes tend to get sore if I am on the computer or read too much(Visine Tired Eye Relief works great for this!)
I did experience a lot of bruising, especially on my left eye. I actually woke up with a black eye UNDER my left eye on day 3(even though I only had my uppers done). I have used Arnica(pill form as well as the topical gel) religiously, and I'm not sure it worked for me. In fairness, I think I do bruise easily since I also still have a bruise where they stuck the needle in my arm for the anesthesia!
Other than a small red circle under my left eye, the bruising is finally gone. My eyes looked their worst from day 3 to day 10, so I highly recommend taking off 2 weeks of work if you can. After one week, I still had a lot of bruising that makeup would not cover(I only used cover up below my eye since my surgeon said no make up for 3 weeks). Overall, I am very happy I had the surgery, just wish I knew how much bruising and scar tissue there would be after the fact. Most of my scar tissue is along the crease, so I'm probably the only one who really notices it. Pictures say 1000 words, so I will continue to update you and post more pics once I have healed more and can finally wear makeup. Best of luck to anyone who wants to have this procedure done!