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How Long to Ice After Blepharoplasty

Icing the eyes after blepharoplasty surgery helps to reduce swelling and discomfort, and should be done according to your doctor’s specific instructions. As we age, the muscles controlling our eyelids weaken, and excess skin and fat tend to accumulate above and below the eye. As a result, some people develop “hooded” upper eyelids, where the skin of the eyelid droops over the lashes, or “bags” underneath the eyes that can make a person look constantly tired. A blepharoplasty can fix these cosmetic problems, and often has the added benefit of improving peripheral vision. Here’s a quick guide to icing after blepharoplasty.

What is blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is a surgery done to help lift and tighten the skin around the eyelids to improve the contour of the eyelids, and to give the eyes a more youthful, alert, and refreshed appearance. A blepharoplasty may be done on the upper eyelid, the lower eyelid, or both, and is often done at the same time as other anti-aging cosmetic procedures, such as a facelift, browlift, or fat grafting. It is a very popular surgery because it can take decades off  the face, giving the patient a more refreshed, periorbital appearance.

Is swelling normal after blepharoplasty?

Yes, some swelling and bruising is normal after blepharoplasty, but should resolve within one to three weeks. You may also experience some residual swelling in the cheeks and jawline. Swelling after blepharoplasty may be worse in the morning, and generally peaks around the third day following surgery. It should go down fairly rapidly after that. Using cold compresses and keeping the head elevated can help reduce swelling. For as long as you’re experiencing swelling, be sure to sleep with your head propped up on at least two pillows, or slightly upright in a recliner. 

Is itching normal after blepharoplasty?

You may experience some itching around the eyes, but try not to rub them, as this may disturb your stitches. Some patients also say their eyelids feel especially “tight” or stretched for the first few days after surgery, but this symptom will also resolve quickly as you heal.

How long should I ice after blepharoplasty?

Especially for the first 48 hours after surgery, you should ice as much as possible while you’re awake. Doing so will help ease discomfort and bring down your swelling. The rule of thumb is to ice for 20 minutes, and then take a ten minute break. Keep using ice packs, masks, or cold compresses for as many days as your surgeon prescribes.

What is the best way to ice after blepharoplasty?

Different surgeons recommend different icing methods following blepharoplasty, and where and how often you do it may depend on the type of surgery that you have. You may be given sterile saline solution and gauze to create cold compresses, or you may be instructed to use bagged ice mixed with cold water. If you use washcloths rinsed in ice water, be sure to change them out every half an hour to ensure they stay cold. Frozen gel packs should be wrapped in a clean cloth before you apply them, as you don’t want any hard edges creating pressure points on your eye or your stitches. 

Can I use an ice mask or cooling mask after blepharoplasty?

Yes; some clients use frozen gel masks or Swiss Therapy masks to ice their eyes after blepharoplasty. Just make sure your surgeon approves of the type you are using, and be sure to wash the mask (and your hands) regularly with soap and water between each use. 

Is icing after blepharoplasty safe for my eyes?

Yes, as long as icing is done gently and in the manner prescribed by your care team, it should be entirely safe for your eyes. Using cold compresses and ice packs is an essential part of blepharoplasty recovery, especially for the first couple of days after surgery. Icing and keeping your head elevated are the two biggest things you can do to reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.

When should I contact my doctor after blepharoplasty?

You should contact your doctor after blepharoplasty if you have any severe pain that is not being controlled by pain medication and seems to be getting worse, or if you experience prolonged bleeding from the surgery site. Also call your doctor if you have vision problems, persistent drainage from your sutures, if any of your sutures break, or if you are experiencing signs of infection like redness and throbbing. If pain medications make you nauseous, be sure to let your doctor know ahead of time, as vomiting causes increased pressure in the eyes that you will want to avoid. And as always, if you are experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath, seek medical attention right away. 

When would I need blepharoplasty revision surgery?

You may need a blepharoplasty revision surgery if you had a previous procedure that resulted in asymmetrical eyes, dry eyes, or simply a displeasing aesthetic outcome. However, many blepharoplasty revisions are done simply because the eyes have continued to age since the last procedure, and the patient needs a proverbial “tune up” to keep the periorbital area looking young and lifted.

Do I need a blepharoplasty plastic surgeon near me?

The area around the eyes is very fragile and delicate, and should only be worked on by the very best in the business to ensure safe and beautiful results. Patients should expect to travel to an expert blepharoplasty plastic surgeon. Because there are only a handful of expert plastic surgeons in the country, patients should expect to travel to a location like Beverly Hills for their procedure.


Email Dr. Sykes at [email protected]


About Dr. Jonathan Sykes

Dr. Jonathan Sykes is a world-famous expert plastic surgeon who performs all cosmetic and functional plastic surgery procedures on the face and neck. He is a past president of The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and served on their Board of Directors for over 10 years. He is also a Professor Emeritus in Facial Plastic Surgery from UC Davis Medical Center, and the former Director of Facial Plastic Surgery at that institution. He is known as the expert’s expert, and is often called to consult and advise other plastic surgeons in both Northern California and Beverly Hills. He has a special interest in eyelid and browlift surgery, facial rejuvenation surgery, including facelifts and rhinoplasty.