Feeling of Great Tightness Nearly 4 Weeks After Surgery, How Long Until It Loosens?

Hi, I had upper eyelid surgery nearly 4 weeks ago. One eye, which didn't shut completely after surgery, shut two weeks after, but I still have a feeling of great tightness in that eye like someone is pulling my eye skin upwards towards my eyebrow and is making my eye feel very tired and is giving me headaches. The swelling in that eye is mainly only in the area between the eyelash and incision and the swelling improves towards the evening but the feeling of tightness never goes. Why is this?

Doctor Answers 4

Tissues feeling tight after an eyelid surgery

Sensations of tight tissue after a surgery of the eyelid are very common. It takes time for the swelling to go away and also for the new collagen deposited to heal the wound to model and soften. In time it will get better, nit there is nothing abnormal with what you are feeling

Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Tightness will improve with time.

When cosmetic or reconstructive surgery is performed, there will be a residual tightness that will develop because in most instances skin is removed and underlying tissue tightened.

Now, depending on the body part that was operated on, that tightness may just be annoying, or it can have adverse effects on the function of that body part.  That tightness will more likely than not improve bit by bit, day by day, though it may take a few months. The process can be accelerated with precise massage of the affected body part in the proper direction/vectors. The massage should not be done too soon [ waiting at least 2 weeks is a good rule of thumb]

You should NOT start massage on your own. This  MUST be approved by your surgeon, and he/she can explain the direction/duration/firmness of the massage.

If your eyelids are not closing properly, it can lead to both the feeling of tightness and the sensation of dryness and foreign body sensation. This usually will improve with time, though sometimes intervention with massage and/or lubricating tears/ointment may be necessary.

Discuss the problem with your surgeon, and possibly consult an Oculoplastic Surgeon or Ophthalmologist.

Best of Luck.

A.J. Amadi, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

The tightness needs to be assessed.


Thightness after eyelid surgery should be presumed due to dry eye until proven otherwise.  Unless your surgeon was an ophthalmologist for a fellowship trained oculoplastic surgeon, they have no way of properly assessing the condition of you eye surfaces.  It is very likely that you are experiencing corneal drying and exposure as a result of the surgery.  This can be experienced as a tight, band like sensation.  This acute dryness after surgery often does improve.  However, there are many options for making you comfortable.  I recommend that you get assessed by your general ophthalmologist.  However, you will most likely get better care for this by seeing an oculoplastic surgeon or a cornea specialist.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Great tightness after upper eyelid surgery

We hope that the tighness will resolve. The key is choosing a surgeon, well trained and board certified. No telling what was done, and when it might get better.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.