This is what happens when you get an eyelift: part 2

Getting back to work (and life) after eyelift surgery

In the last blog post entitled “This is what happens when you have an eyelid lift“, I shared the video chronicle of my 37-year-old patient who wanted a cosmetic upper eyelid lift because she saw her lids getting droopier and heavier after having 2 children.

At the end of the video, she talks about how happy she is that her family noticed her eyes look brighter and she can finally see her eyelid makeup.

I’ve received a few emails asking about the upper eyelid lift recovery.  More specifically:

When can I go back to work after a lid lift?

This depends on the type of work and how you want to be seen.  There is a restriction on heavy lifting and strenuous activity for 1 – 2 weeks.  In terms of looking your best, that can take a few weeks as well.

Most people have their worst swelling at 24-48 hours.  Look at this photo series that my patient shared:

eyelid surgery recovery










After the initial 1-2 days when things look very puffy and strange , swelling gradually subsides over a period of days and weeks.

Some people get back to work after a long weekend..

Others will want to wait 7-10 days before “presenting” themselves in social situations.  This will partially depend on if there was any bruising after the eyelid lift and how you feel about others seeing you with some minor signs of having something done.

At the one week point, if you were to walk around the streets of New York City without sunglasses, you probably wouldn’t turn heads.  If you went to dinner with a close friend one week after eye lift surgery, they would probably notice something but they may not know exactly what was done.

After recovery most people forget.

Because the healing process is relatively quick and painless, most people tend to forget that it even happened.  I think my patients seem to be focused on the results rather than the recovery phase and they are happy with their new look.

Sometimes, it’s nice to have an imposed “rest time” in our lives to enjoy a book or two and then emerge bright-eyed and refreshed.

Here’s my patient after the eyelid swelling disappeared and life returned to normal:

after eye lift ny




Brett Kotlus, M.D.

135 E. 71 street

Phone: 212-882-1011

How do you put ointment in your eyes after surgery ?

Putting ointment in your eyes

It sounds tricky but there is an easy way to apply ointment in your eyes after surgery.  After a lower eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) when the incision is created behind your eyelid or the transconjunctival approach, Dr. Kotlus prescribes an ointment containing antibiotics or a combination of antibiotics with steroids. These ointments are safe for contact with the surface of the eye.

The tube

The ointment tube will read “ophthalmic use” and it should not be confused with other medications in your house, and special care should be taken to keep it separate from any tubes of super glue!

Using the tube

The tip of the tube should not touch your skin or the surface of the eye.  In a mirror, use your index finger on one hand to gently pull downward on your lower eyelid.  With the tip of the tube near the edge of the eyelid, very carefully squeeze and allow a thin strip of ointment to reach the eyelid; approximately 1/4 inch long.

If the ointment is on the eyelid margin or very close to it, you can then blink several times and it will work its way over the surface of the eye including the incision area.

It is common to use this ointment after cosmetic lower blepharoplasty.  In his Manhattan and Westchester offices in NY, Dr. Kotlus routinely  uses the transconjunctival approach to the lower eyelid fat pads.

The video above shows exactly how the ointment can be applied.