Recovery from eyelid surgery (aka blepharoplasty) depends on two things. Which eyelids we’re talking about (upper or lower) and what we mean by “recovery.”
Recovery from eyelid surgery
Let’s start with the term recovery. If we’re referring to time in bed recovering, then there is no recovery. Upper or lower eyelid surgery has minimal pain and bruising but nothing requiring convalescence. While patients may fill a prescription for pain medication after surgery, this is rarely necessary. In fact, excessive pain associated with eyelid surgery may suggest a hematoma, or bleeding under the skin. In that case, let your doctor know as soon as possible in case treatment is required. Although, this complication is very, very rare.
Recovery, in regards to eyelid surgery, typically refers to how fast the eyelids heal and the patient can resume regular activity.
Upper eyelid surgery is potentially the easiest recovery. See example above. To remove upper eyelid skin, your surgeon can perform this procedure under local anesthesia. After skin removal, one suture closes the incision. Surprisingly, the patient can remove that suture themselves three days later! In those first three days or after, the patient can return to their regular routine including showers.
Lower eyelid surgery may require a longer healing period. However, the patient can still resume regular activities similar to upper eyelid surgery. But lower eyelid surgery that includes skin removal can lead to ectropion. This is when scar tissue pulls the lower eyelid down, showing more of the white of the eyeball. This may happen initially in all patients but then eventually resolves with massage. So in this sense, the recovery from lower eyelid surgery can take longer, but only in regards to the healing process. The patient can still return to work soon after surgery.
If lower eyelid surgery requires removal of fat only from the lower lid, this can be done through an incision on the inside of the lower lid. See example below. Without a skin incision, this patient will have no visible scar, no sutures and a very quick recovery other than some typical swelling.