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What To Expect With Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid SurgeryEyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is repositioning fat and muscle around the eye to improve vision, sagging skin, and wrinkles. Eyelid surgery is most often done by an ophthalmic or cosmetic surgeon in consult with an anesthesiologist and a surgical nurse. Other assistants and technicians may also be present during the surgery. The surgery and recovery process will vary with each individual, as no two patients are exactly alike, but this quick guide covers all the basics.

Before surgery:

  • Talk to your doctor.

Talk to your primary care physician about your desire for eyelid surgery, both for insurance purposes and to check if you have any contraindications for surgery.

  • Choose a surgeon.

After you get the okay from your primary doctor, you will need to find a board-certified surgeon near you who can perform the surgery. Search the American Board of Ophthalmology at youabop.org/verify-a-physician to find a board-certified surgeon near you. When choosing a surgeon, be sure to ask about:

  • Credentials
  • Before and after photos of previous blepharoplasty patients
  • How many blepharoplasty procedures they have completed
  • Their complication rate

Here at J. Justin Older Eyelid Institute, Dr. Older, M.D. is a board-certified ophthalmologist and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has completed hundreds of successful blepharoplasty procedures. Practicing ophthalmology since 1970, Dr. Older is a world-class eye surgeon with a vast pool of experience and an unmatched reputation in the Tampa Bay area.

  • Have a pre-operative workup.

Your surgeon will do a full physical exam and complete bloodwork to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery.

  • Get the procedure authorized.

If your insurance will cover the procedure, be sure to have it authorized by your insurance company before going under the knife. Preauthorization will ensure no financial surprises are waiting for you during recovery.

  • Pack a bag.

You will want a few things with you in the recovery room to make the time pass a little faster. Take a comfy change of clothes, your sunglasses, your wallet, insurance cards, and your cell phone with you at a minimum. Download a couple of audiobooks or some music on your phone and take some headphones with you. Don’t forget to leave the contacts at home and opt for your glasses instead. The last thing you’ll want to take is a friend since it is not recommended to drive yourself home after surgery.

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight.

As with any procedure where anesthesia, especially general anesthesia, is used, you should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. Your stomach needs to be empty to prevent any anesthesia complications during surgery. Only take medicine if your surgeon tells you to, and then only do so with a small sip of water.

On the day of surgery:

  • Sign consents.

When you first arrive, or perhaps even at a pre-op appointment before your surgery date, you will be asked to read and sign various consents so the surgeon and facility can treat you and file your insurance. Read all these papers carefully, and ask questions if you have any. If you don’t understand the consents, ask someone to explain them to you before signing.

  • Start IVs and other surgery prep.

After all the paperwork is signed, the surgical nurse will come in to start your IVs and do any other prep work.

  • Final consult with the anesthesiologist.

After your IV is started, the anesthesiologist will stop by to do a quick exam, explain their part in the procedure, and make sure you don’t have any questions. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any type of anesthesia before, be sure the anesthesiologist knows about it, even if you’ve already told someone else.

  • Final consult with the surgeon.

The surgeon will then visit you to explain the procedure one last time, make sure you don’t have questions, and mark your eyelids using a surgical marker. Then it’s off to the operating room!

  • Start anesthesia.

When you arrive in the operating room, the anesthesiologist will begin administering the medications to help you relax and/or fall asleep. You shouldn’t remember anything after this until you wake up after surgery.

  • Surgery

The surgical team, including your surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses, will perform the blepharoplasty procedure on your eyelid(s). Again, you should not remember or feel any of the surgery and may not even remember leaving the OR afterward.

After surgery:

  • Recovery in hospital or surgery center.

You will recover in the same facility where the procedure was performed for a couple of hours until you are semi-awake and your vision begins to clear up. Your friend will need to drive you home and make sure you have any medications you need.

  • Recovery at home.

Try to stay home, out of the sun and bright lights, and relax for at least 10-14 days after surgery. Take time off of work if you can, and ask a friend or family member to help you out at home for a couple of days to make the transition easier. While recovering, you may experience:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tightness
  • Dryness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Fatigue

These symptoms should improve as time passes. You may be allowed to use a cold compress on the first day after surgery to help with swelling and pain. However, call the surgeon’s office if the symptoms d not improve or if you experience:

  • Fever
  • Pus
  • Increased swelling or bruising
  • Severe pain
  • Redness on incision
  • Uncontrollable bleeding 

Your surgeon will give you any instructions on what to do and not do after surgery, including:

  • Clean the incision and apply ophthalmic antibiotic ointment twice daily.
  • Go to all your follow-up appointments.
  • Do not wear makeup.
  • Do not swim.
  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Wear glasses instead of contacts.
  • Incline your bed.
  • Do not lift anything heavy for two weeks.
  • Do not bend over for four weeks.
  • No strenuous activity or exercise for two weeks.
  • Wear sunglasses when in sunlight or bright lights.

The results from eyelid surgery are near-permanent. You can expect many years of improved vision, tightened skin, and fewer wrinkles around the eyes. Make sure to choose a reputable, qualified surgeon like Dr. Older, M.D. at the Eyelid Institute. We serve patients in both Tampa and St. Petersburg with convenient office locations and hours. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how eyelid surgery can benefit you.

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Phone: (813) 971-3846
(727) 342-3004 (also after hours)

Office Hours:
Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm

5379 Primrose Lake Cir
Tampa, FL 33647
(Inside the office of The Bowman Institute for Dermatologic Surgery)
Phone: (813) 971-3846

6950 Central Ave
St. Petersburg, FL 33707
(Inside the office of The Pasadena Eye Center)
(727) 342-3004 (also after hours)

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