Will I Be Able to Close my Eyes After Eyelid Surgery?

does the eyelid surgery leave the lids pulled open more so, causing difficulty to close them?

Doctor Answers 79

Closing Eyelids After Surgery

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Care is taken to remove the right amount of skin to avoid problems with closing the eyelids after surgery.

Still, it is common to have incomplete eyelid closure in the first week or so due to swelling of the eyelids.  During that time, it is important to use drops to prevent excessive dryness of the eyes (especially at night!).

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Eye closure after blepharoplasty

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Typically, a small amount of gap is normal after Blepharoplasty.  This is temporary and related to swelling.  If it does exist it resolves between 1-3 weeks.  During that period of time, make sure your eye is well moisturized with lubricating drops and ointment to protect your cornea. 

Amir M. Karam, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Inability to fully close upper eyelids after surgery is expected

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inability to fully close upper eyelid after surgery, or lagopthalmous, is very common and is usually caused by swelling. During this period it is very important to protect your eyes by keeping your cornea from getting dry during the day, and at sleep. I encourage my patients to use oientments and patches during sleep, and to moisterize their eyes during the day with over the counter drops.

close follow-up is necessary to make sure that patient is not getting dry eye or corneal irritation.

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Close your eyes after surgery

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You should be able to close your eyes after surgery with no effort. In some cases the swelling will prevent you from closing your eyes adequately for a couple of days, this should subside as soon as the swelling decreases.

Gustavo A. Diaz, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon

One of the other concerns that some patients have...

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One of the other concerns that some patients have expressed is they want to make sure they can close their eyelids after the surgery and I reassure them that that does happen.

Some patients who have dry eyes are also concerned about how that will affect their surgery, and a blepharoplasty surgery can make dry eyes even drier than they currently are, and we are not quite sure of the mechanism of how that happens.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Will I Be Able to Close my Eyes After Eyelid Surgery?

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With an upper eyelid lift, the short answer is yes. However, immediately after surgery there is swelling and sutures which may make it more difficult to close the eyes. Once the sutures are out at 4-5 days much of the swelling will have diminished. There still may be some tightness at this time, but this should go away and you will have no difficulty closing your eyes. It is important to use lubricant drops in your eyes during this time, which your plastic surgeon will suggest. 

If you have also had a lower lid lift and you cannot close your eyes, this may be another problem, and you should ask your surgeon about it. Some lower lids have lost elasticity requiring an additional tightening procedure.

Difficulty closing eyelids after blepharoplasty

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It isn't all that unusual to have some slight difficulty in completely closing the eyes during the initial phase of healing because the eyelids are swollen.  Gradually, this should settle down and you should be able to close them completely. This is why it is important to have surgery performed by a skilled plastic surgeon or oculoplastic surgeon who can appreciate the right amount of skin to resect during the operation.  You may want to try a soft sleep mask to cover your eyelids if you are sensitive to any ambient light in your room.

Eye lid surgery should not result in the inability to close your eyes

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You should be able to close your eyelids after eye lid surgery. There are 4 potential causes for this to happen:

  1. Too much upper eye lid skin has been removed.
  2. Brows lifted too high during a brow lift.
  3. Too much lower eyelid skin removed causing the lower lids to bow
  4. Initial post operative swelling which once it resolves will allow for normal eyelid closure.

Good luck.

Ran Y. Rubinstein, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

One of the major concerns after eyelid surgery is always...

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One of the major concerns after eyelid surgery is always can I close my eyes? Generally immediately after eyelid surgery and for several days afterward there may be some difficulty closing the eyes which will generally resolve. This is usually due to disturbance of the muscle that usually closes the eye which resolves with natural healing.

With upper eyelid surgery, permanent inability to close the eye is usually due to removal of too much upper eyelid skin. This is easily avoided by pinching the skin of the upper eyelid before surgery and before any anesthesia is injected to be sure that the correct amount of skin is to be removed. If too much skin is removed, repair is difficult and often requires a skin graft to allow for closure of the eyelid.

With lower eyelid surgery, permanent inability to close the eye can be due to several causes, some out of the control of the surgeon. The most common is pull down of the lower eyelid, sometimes due to laxity of the lid and sometimes due to scarring during healing. If the patient has lax lower eyelids before surgery, a tightening procedure should be performed with lower eyelid blepharoplasty to prevent pull down of the lower lid. Approaches which go from the outside of the eyelid run a small, but slightly high risk of eyelid pull down than approaches which go on the inside of the lower eyelid.

As always, a thorough evaluation by an experienced facial plastic, plastic, or oculoplastic surgeon is necessary before undertaking any cosmetic procedure.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Difficulty Closing Eyes After Blepharoplasty

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It's unusual for patients to have difficulty closing their eyes following blepharoplasty surgery. When patients are unable to close their eyes immediately following this procedure, it's usually always related to swelling. Eye opening tends to improve with time as swelling resolves.

Although it's unusual, patients may have persistent difficulty closing their eyes. This may be related to over resection of skin, damage to the levater mechanism and excess scarring. Under these circumstances, secondary surgery may be necessary.

Fortunately, this complication is extremely rare. When patients are unable to close their eyes following eyelid surgery, it's essential that they contact their plastic surgeon as soon as possible. Under these circumstances, it's important to use lubricants and ointments to moisturize the eyes to avoid drying and corneal damage.

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.