How Long Will I Experience Dry Eyes After Bleph? How Can I Prevent Dry Eyes?

I noticed several postings on this forum by eyelid surgeons saying that upper blepharoplasty can cause dry eyes. Most surgeons say dry eyes is "temporary" but don't state how long is "temporary". 1) How long (approx. months) is dry eyes considered "temporary" as opposed to "permanent" 2) What can be done to prevent "permanent" dry eyes from happening as a result of this type of operation? I work on the computer and would like insight on this. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 6

Dry eyes after blepharoplasty

Dry eyes after blepharoplasty usually can last upwards of a few weeks after the surgical procedure.  Preexisting borderline dry eyes can become slightly drier after the procedure.  In our practice we do not remove a strip of orbicularis oculi muscle when dry eyes are present.  We simply remove excess skin and a conservative amount of fat.  Asymmetrical eyebrows do create asymmetrical eyelids.  The asymmetry on the eyebrows in this photograph shows the right eye is quite arched and peaked while the left eyebrow is flat.  Obviously this will give mild asymmetries to the eyelids, but this is all within normal range and is nothing to worry about.  Botox, not surgery, would be the best option to try to even out the eyebrows.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 146 reviews

Post blepharoplasty Dry Eye

Every patient is different in terms of their post op response. If you already have dry eyes or are borderline, your risk of developing a worsening of this is possible.

A lot of the dry eye development has to do with your blink mechanism postoperatively. The blink excursion of the eyelid may become temporarily diminished due to muscle weakness which usually recovers within a few weeks.

Minimizing muscle excision during the surgery [remove skin only without the underlying orbicularis muscle] is one way to help minimize potential muscle weakness. You may want to discuss that with your surgeon.

Good luck

A.J. Amadi, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Dry eyes after Blepharoplasty (eyelid lift)

Dry eye symptoms after blepharoplasty do occur but are most often temporary. The effect of swelling in the eyelid related to the surgical procedure results in the eyelid becoming stiff, and because it does not bend as well to follow the contour of the eye itself, there is dust from the air left on the surface of the eye. Your body responds by releasing more tear fluid to wash the eye surface, and if this is not enough your eyes will still be irritated or feel "dry". Using additional eye drops helps to wash the surface of the eye.

Decreasing swelling in the eyelid will result in softening of the eyelid and it will bend to follow the eye surface better. By following your plastic surgeon's instructions carefully you will decrease the time your eyelids are swollen post-operatively, and decrease your symptoms of post-op dry eyes. Most symptoms will resolve in 6-8 weeks.

Thanks for raising this issue!


Douglas Leppink, MD
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

How Long Will I Experience Dry Eyes After Bleph? How Can I Prevent Dry Eyes?

 I have performed Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) for over 25 years and IMHO, the surgery rarely causes dry eye but if it already exists, the procedure can make the dry eye worse.  Lubricating eye drops and/or ointment is frequently used for the first week.  Following that moisturizing eye drops may be required especially if you're working on the computer which does increase eye strain.  

 If you already have dry eye symptoms then this should be discussed during your consultation as to how severe the symptoms currently are and then weigh the possibility of these becoming worse against the aesthetic goals.  A compromise, let's say of removing less upper eyelid skin, may have to be made to avoid further dry eye.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Dry eyes after blepharoplasty

As long as the skin removal is conservative enough to that it does not affect eyelid closing or blinking, dry eyes should be temporary, say on the order of a few weeks. Having said that, there are other things to consider such as: do you already have dry eyes, how bad is the excess skin...

Peter T. Truong, MD
Fresno Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Preventing Dry Eyes after Eyelid Surgery

  Upper blepharoplasty with conservative skin resection carries very little risk of dry eyes.  Artificial tears can manage the problem in the acute setting. 

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 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.