Reduce Swelling and Bruising after Eyelid Surgery

How to Minimise Bruising and Swelling after Eyelid Surgery or Blepharoplasty

It is common and expected to have swelling and bruising post eyelid lift surgery. Shortly after the surgery, bruising and swelling will start to appear and they will peak in about two to four days. Over the next few days, most of the swelling will gradually subside. However, residual swelling might last for several weeks.

Bruising may take about a week or two to go away completely. It is barely noticeable and won’t interfere with your social commitments. The good news is that the eyelid area heals fairly quickly and you will be able to enjoy your results in a matter of a few weeks after the surgery. 

While swelling and bruising are a common part of the healing process, there are things you can do to minimise these side effects. With that being said, certain activities can worsen them. Hence it is very important to follow all the instructions given by your surgeon to have a comfortable recovery and shorter downtime. If you have any questions or concerns regarding eyelid recovery, get in touch with your surgeon.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Scott Turner is committed to providing a premium patient care experience during the surgery as well as during the recovery phase. He and his team are available to answer all the queries as they arise. Dr Scott is available for follow-up consultations and plays a very active role in your recovery and post-op care. 

How to Reduce Swelling and Bruising after Eyelid Surgery

Here are a few steps that can help minimise swelling post eyelid surgery: 

1. Use a Cold Compress

Using a cold compress for the first 24-48 hours after the surgery is highly recommended to minimise post-surgical swelling. It is important to use the right type of compress and avoid ice burning yourself. We usually recommend alternating between 10-15 minutes of compress and the next 10-15 minutes without it. Cold compress is most beneficial during the initial few days of recovery. Hence, don’t skip this step. 

2. Keep Your Head Elevated

Keeping your head in an elevated position will reduce the fluid pressure in the delicate eye area. It is recommended to sleep upright in a reclining chair for the first few days after the surgery. Alternatively, you can keep a few pillows underneath your head if lying down. 

3. Wear Sunglasses to Reduce Swelling and Bruising after Eyelid Lift Surgery

If you are a fan of sunglasses, there is no better time to rock sunnies than now. If you aren’t a fan of them, it is time to invest in a pair that will look good on you. You will need them post-surgery. Make sure to wear sunglasses while stepping out in the sun. Excessive sun exposure can lead to slow healing and you might end up with permanent scarring. 

4. Drink Lots of Water 

It is important to drink lots of water post your surgery to help minimise swelling and eliminate the excess fluids from your body. Make sure to drink a minimum of two litres of water a day. 

5. Pay Attention to Your Diet 

It is important to pay attention to your diet post-surgery. Eat home-cooked meals as much as possible and try to limit the salt content. The more salt you consume, the more fluid retention you will experience. 

Avoid These Mistakes to Reduce Swelling and Bruising 

Minimising bruising and swelling is not all about doing the right things. It is also about avoiding the wrong things as well. Here are a few things to avoid post eyelid surgery:

1. Avoid Smoking

You have to quit smoking a few weeks before and after the surgery. Smoking will inhibit the wound healing process and lead to complications post plastic surgery. All nicotine products such as cigarettes, vapes, cigars, nicotine patches, and gums must be avoided if you don’t want bruising to linger for much longer. 

2. Avoid using Makeup too early

Using makeup a little too soon can lead to infections and delay the healing process. If the ingredients found in your makeup interfere with the healing process, it can lead to swelling and inflammation which is something you want to avoid. Make sure that you don’t use makeup till your incisions are fully healed. Use sterile brand NEW makeup post-surgery.

3. Avoid Vigorous Exercise

While exercising is great for your overall health, doing it too soon after the surgery can alter the results and lead to complications. Stay clear of strenuous exercises and heavy lifting for at least six weeks post-surgery. Read our blog about Resuming Exercise after Eyelid Surgery.

4. Avoid Contact Lenses

If you wear contacts, you will have to switch to glasses for a while. You are not supposed to wear them for the first few weeks of the surgery as they can irritate your eyes. 

5. Avoid Blood Thinning Meds 

Avoid taking any kind of blood-thinning and anti-inflammatory medications as they can worsen your bruising. If you want to take an OTC, always consult your surgeon first. 

FAQs about Blepharoplasty Recovery

Here is a list of frequently asked questions we get regarding the subject:

How long does swelling last after eyelid surgery?

  • Your eyelids will be swollen or bruised for about 1 to 3 weeks after the surgery. After that, you might still have some residual swelling that might take several weeks to go away but is barely noticeable. 

How do you reduce swelling after upper eyelid surgery?

Here are a few steps that will help you minimise swelling after upper eyelid surgery:

  • Use a cold compress to minimise swelling
  • Quit smoking for the specified time duration before and after the surgery
  • Stay clear of blood-thinning, anti-inflammatory, and herbal supplements for at least 2 weeks post-surgery
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat home-cooked meals that are low in sodium
  • Do not wear makeup till your incisions heal fully
  • Avoid wearing contacts

How can I heal faster after eyelid surgery?

  • Healing time varies from patient to patient. While most people can return back to work in about one week after the surgery, complete healing usually takes from four to six weeks. 

Can you ice too much after eyelid surgery?

  • It is recommended to use a cold compress during the first three days of surgery. However, don’t overdo it and be very careful otherwise you will end up with an ice burn. It is recommended to use a cold compress for 10 to 15 minutes and then stop for 10 to 15 minutes. 

When should I use scar cream after eyelid surgery?

  • You can use scar creams or gels on your eyelid once your incisions have fully healed. Use gentle massage motions to allow the cream to be absorbed into your skin and avoid putting unnecessary pressure. 

What helps reduce bruising after surgery?

Here are a few tips that will help you minimise bruising post-surgery:

  • Apply a cold compress for the first two to three days post-surgery
  • Stay clear of blood-thinning medications and herbal supplements
  • Do not smoke or consume alcohol for the specified time duration

When does bruising stop after surgery?

  • Most of the bruising will subside in about 1 to 2 weeks after the eyelid surgery. 

What do you put on your eyelids after eyelid surgery?

  • You should not use any creams, cosmetics or anything on your skin immediately after eyelid surgery. It is recommended to use a cold compress for the first two to three days. You can go back to applying your regular skincare products and makeup once your incisions are fully healed. 

Does ibuprofen help with eyelid swelling?

  • It is not recommended to use any kind of over the counter drugs including ibuprofen without consulting your surgeon as they can do more harm than good. 

How do you reduce eye inflammation after surgery?

  • Your surgeon will prescribe you certain meds to help with inflammation after the surgery. Following tips also help: use a cold compress, avoid blood-thinning meds, drink lots of water and eat low sodium meals, and do not smoke or consume alcohol. 

How long do I use ointment after blepharoplasty?

  • Use the antibiotic ointment on your stitches or wounds 4 times per day for 7 days. Do not skip this step if you wish to promote healing and prevent infections from occurring. 

When can I sleep on my side after blepharoplasty?

  • You can start sleeping on your side two weeks after the surgery if you feel extreme discomfort sleeping on your back. However, it is recommended to avoid sleeping on your side for four weeks if you can. 

What can I put on my scars after eyelid surgery?

  • First things first, let your incisions heal fully before applying any sort of scar removal treatments. Gently massage blepharoplasty scars with vitamin E or silicone gel for at least 10 – 14 days. If needed, you can continue for 2 – 3 months after surgery. Topical treatments increase skin hydration and reduce the risk of poor quality scars.

How many days should you ice your eyes after eyelid surgery?

  • It is recommended to carefully ice your eyes for at least three days after eyelid surgery. 

Should I massage my eyelids after blepharoplasty?

  • You should begin gentle massage to the eyelids two weeks after surgery or till your incisions heal fully. This will help smooth any irregularities and areas of firmness. Make sure to discuss this with Dr Turner. 

How do you prevent scarring after upper eyelid surgery?

Here are a few steps that will help prevent scarring after the upper eyelid surgery:

  • Avoid sun exposure at all costs
  • Massage the incision scars once your incisions are fully healed
  • Stay clear of any strenuous activities and heavy lifting for the first two to three weeks
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol
  • Use topical vitamin E and silicone gel treatments once your eyes are fully healed

What can I put on a scar on my eyelids?

  • You can use topical vitamin E, silicone gel treatments or any other scar removal treatments as recommended by Dr Turner. 

Can you make a bruise go away quickly?

While swelling and bruising are a normal part of the healing process, you can speed up the healing by sticking to all the pre and post-op instructions given by your surgeon. 

Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Apply a cold compress for the first two to three days post-surgery
  • Stay clear of blood-thinning medications and herbal supplements
  • Do not smoke or consume alcohol during the recovery period

Does Tylenol help with bruising?

  • Do not take any medication including Tylenol to help with bruising. Only take the medications prescribed by your surgeon. 

Is bruising and swelling normal after surgery?

  • Yes, it is normal to experience bruising and swelling after the surgery. 

Can I drink coffee after eyelid surgery?

  • It is recommended to not drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages for the first few days after eyelid surgery. Stick to water and fresh juices instead. 

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Enquire to find out more about your surgery
  • Please read our website to learn more about your intended procedure

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A GP Referral is required to Consult with Dr Turner (under new AHPRA Regulations)
  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book Your Consultation

  • You can book your initial consultation by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment


  • To find out more information about surgery you can book a FREE 15-minute phone conversation with our Friendly Patient Care team via Calendly- Book Consultant 1 or Book Consultant 2

Contact us or call on  1300 437 758  to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

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