Recovery and aftercare after eyelid surgery

When you have eyelid surgery done (both upper eyelids (eye lift) and lower eyelids and puffiness), your eyelids need time to recover. Although it’s a relatively minor procedure, a full recovery and the final result can still take several weeks to months. We often get asked what you can and cannot do after eyelid surgery and how to promote recovery. To get the most MOOI result, it is important to carefully follow our instructions. Here, we’re happy to explain these to you.

How do you feel after eyelid surgery?

Immediately after the procedure, your eyelids may be thick, blue and swollen. This is quite normal and may be visible for 3 to 4 weeks. Only after about three months do the eyes return to normal. Pain symptoms are generally limited to wound pain and eye irritation.

On the day of surgery, some bloody fluid may come out from under the eye patches – this is normal. Sometimes the eyelid may start to “pull” a bit. It usually takes several weeks to months for this feeling of “pulling” to completely go away.

The eyes may feel a little dry right after the procedure because tear production may be slightly disrupted. This will go away on its own. After the procedure, you may not be able to open or close your eyes completely. To prevent your eyes from drying out, you can use eye drops or ointment. The doctor can prescribe this for you.
Sometimes numbness of the eyelids occurs or some fluid accumulation develops around the eyes. Over time, these symptoms disappear on their own.

The first days after your eyelid surgery

After your surgery, you will usually stay in the clinic for a while to ice your eyes, after which you may go home. Take plenty of rest in the days after eyelid surgery. What can and can’t you do after eyelid surgery?


One thing you should not do immediately after surgery is get behind the wheel yourself. So make sure there is someone with you who can drive you home safely. Our advice is not to drive a car for 1 week.


To maximize recovery, it is important that you try as much as possible to avoid pressure-inducing movements. This will keep swelling to a minimum and reduce the risk of bruising. What does that mean? Try not to bend over, don’t push, don’t lift heavy shopping bags, don’t exercise, and don’t do heavy housework.


You will see that the swelling and bruising is worse for the first two days. After that, the bruising in particular will diminish. Therefore, it’s also important to use a cold pack every hour for the first two days. To do this, every hour cool your eyelids for 5 to 10 minutes (no need to cool at night). Icing with a cold pack, ice goggles or “frozen peas” on your eyelids will counteract the swelling. For the following days, ice several times a day. It’s important to put something between a cold pack and the skin for protection.


If necessary, use paracetamol as directed. Use blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, ascal (acetyl salicylic acid), ibuprofen, etc., in consultation with the plastic surgeon.


You may shower and it’s important to keep your face clean, but be sure not to get the eyelids (and plasters) wet until the sutures are removed. In case of any splashes, gently pat the eyelids dry, don’t rub!


Contact lenses must be removed for surgery and must not be used for 2 weeks after. After that, you can wear contact lenses again. Don’t use makeup for the first 3 weeks.


Don’t drink alcohol during the first week after treatment because of the risk of post-treatment bleeding. Smoking adversely affects blood flow to the tissues, which is precisely what is important for proper recovery. We therefore recommend that you stop smoking weeks before and after treatment. It’s also better not to smoke after treatment. This accelerates the aging process.


Something you may not think about is that after eyelid surgery, it’s best not to sleep “normally”. You don’t have to sleep upright but make sure your head is higher than your heart. An extra pillow under your shoulders and neck will go a long way. It’s best not to sleep lying completely flat. After 1 week you can lie flat again and after 3 weeks you can sleep on your stomach again.

One week after your eyelid surgery

After seven days, you’ll come for a check-up at MOOI Clinic. The eyelids will still be somewhat swollen. This swelling generally subsides completely within a few months. Scars will also turn red but this is part of normal scar healing. The redness normally lasts about six months but this depends in part on the location of the scar. The scar and/or eyelashes may feel numb. In most cases, this returns to normal after six months.

A scar takes 12 months to fully mature. The color and thickness of the scar achieved at that point will likely remain. Protect the scar from the sun during this period.


After 1 week, we remove the sutures and the patches near your eyes. After the sutures are removed, you can resume your old activities slowly. Certain sports are also allowed.


  • Driving
  • Working
  • Sports (depending on the sport)
  • Massaging the scar
  • Using cold pack occasionally


  • Pressing and lifting
  • Sleeping on your stomach
  • Exposing scar to the sun
  • Contact sports and swimming
  • Wearing makeup and contact lenses
  • Sauna, hot bath or showering too hot (due to steam)

In the following weeks

You’ll find that recovery is progressing well. The bruising begins to go away and the swelling also slowly decreases. After 2 weeks you may wear your contact lenses again if you had them, and after 3 weeks you can use some makeup again.

The scar takes 6 weeks to heal and “matures” for another 6 to 12 months to achieve the final result. After 6 weeks, you may do everything again, including going to the sauna and swimming. Do continue to protect your eyes (and skin) from UV rays.

Final check-up and result

After 3 months, you return to the plastic surgeon who did the procedure. This is the final check-up. The end result is already very visible, although the healing of the scar continues.

On average, you’ll enjoy your eyelid surgery for at least five to fifteen years. This depends on your skin type, but lifestyle also plays an important role in this.

Photo by day of recovery

Read Sanne’s experience here. She took pictures every day after the eyelid surgery.

Thinking about eyelid surgery?

At MOOI Clinic, eyelid surgery is performed by a plastic surgeon.