I am considering having an eyelid lift done. However, I have heard that it requires quite a bit of healing time?

I am concerned that I may not be able to take off the time it takes to heal from an eye-lid surgery. How long would I have to take off of work? Are there any other alternatives to eye-lid surgery that require less down time? Thank You.

Doctor Answers 12

Blepharoplasty and time off post-op

Following eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) the patient must allow for some swelling, discomfort, possible bruising and an adequate healing time prior to resuming ‘normal’ activities. Rest, elevation, wound care, limited physical activities all help the process. Swelling may peak at about 3 days then begins to subside. Many of our patients can return to work or school or social activities  in 7-9 days if healing is normal. This does not mean returning to the gym, pilates, construction work or break dancing!   Wearing glasses does help also to help disguise some of the signs of recent surgery. Every person is different and procedures can vary too. 

Louisville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Healing time after eyelid surgery?

     Most people are able to return to work in about a week after upper eyelid surgery and about ten days after lower eyelid surgery.  You may still have some swelling but should be able to return to work unless your job is physically demanding and then you will need more time off.  There are few alternatives to upper eyelid surgery:occasionally a browlift is a better choice.  Sometimes dermal fillers (such as Juvederm) can camouflage lower lid aging changes.  Discuss with your plastic surgeon and good luck 

John Zavell, MD, FACS
Toledo Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Healing after an eyelid lift

Every patient is different and there are a lot of factors that influence how much swelling/bruising you will have. Your chosen surgeon will go over ways to decrease it but I usually have patients stay out of work 10 days. I operate on Friday and keep them out until the following Monday. However people that can work from home on the phone/computer can start the next day.

Byron A. Long, MD
Marietta Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Eyelid surgery recovery

The complexity of eyelid surgery can vary widely. An upper eyelid blepharoplasty can be 80% healed in 5 - 12 days. Lower eyelid blepharoplasty with removal of fat may be healed in 12 - 21 days. However, if there is skin removal from the lower eyelids, fat grating to the eyelids, or a ptosis repair of the upper eyelids done recovery can be much long. Sleeping with your head elevated, the use of a topical steroid, and icing will all decrease the time to your recovery. Best of luck with your surgery.
Alexander Anzarut, MD

Alexander Anzarut, MD
Victoria Plastic Surgeon

Recovery from Eyelid Surgery

Blepharoplasty is done as an outpatient and can be done under local anesthesia with IV sedation. I usually recommend one week out of work. It is not that uncomfortable of a recovery but there can be some bruising that resolves in about a week or so. Depending on the type of work you do will limit your return. You should not do anything strenuous for 3 to 4 weeks (exercise). Unfortunately, if a blepharoplasty is what is best for you there are not many other alternatives. 

Scott R. Brundage, MD
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Depending on the issue, there may or may not be an alternative to eyelid surgery.

Recovery from blepharoplasty takes place over a several month period.  However, most people find that they are able to return to work after 7 to 10 days.  This does vary somewhat on how much bruising you experience. Individuals who do strenuous jobs may need a second week before returning to work.  Have a frank conversation with your potential surgeon.  There are alternatives to surgery but this really depends on your precise issues.  Many people who do not have time for surgery in fact to noninvasive procedures like BOTOX and fillers as an alternative to eyelid surgery.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Eyelid surgery downtime

 Eyelid surgery takes approximately an hour to perform under general anesthesia as an outpatient surgical procedure. Anticipate two weeks of visible bruising and swelling. The amount of time patients take off work is quite variable, but if you don't want to have anyone know that you have had this done, you should take two weeks off from the work environment. No strenuous activities for two weeks. Some patients go back to work at one week with some mild residual bruising and swelling partially covered with makeup. The incisions take 2 to 3 months to finally heal and that's the point where we take our after pictures. 

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 126 reviews


There are a number of factors involved in a patients recovery.It depends most importantly on what specifically will be done in your case.Also there is significant variability from one patient to the next.

Healing after blepharoplasty (eyelid lift)

Healing varies from patient to patient but generally is pretty fast for upper eyelid surgery and slower for lower eyelid surgery. If only an upper blepharoplasty is done, most patients resume their daily activities after a few days when the swelling started to subside. Some bruising, though, is likely still present. One can start wearing eye shadow and makeup again after 7 days. Lower eyelid surgery takes longer to heal, approximately 10-14 days. Please note that skin complexion, skin thickness, propensity to bruising, etc. all play a role how quick one's recovery is.

Thomas J. Walker, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Eyelid surgery healing

Everyone heals at a different rate.  If you do just the upper lids, the healing is usually pretty fast.  You will be swollen and bruised but can do most activities within days after the surgery.  Lower lids can take longer to heal.  There is usually more bruising and swelling.  If you wear tinted glasses you can resume most activities within a week to 10 days. Don't want to do heavy exercise for at least 2-3 weeks, but can walk, work on computer etc. 

John J. Martin, Jr., MD
Coral Gables Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 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.