The Eyelift: What Is It, Exactly?
The eyelift, otherwise known as blepharoplasty, is one of today’s most popular cosmetic surgical procedures, and for good reason: it is quick, relatively painless, and delivers incredible results that last for many years. For those who suffer from bags, wrinkles, puffiness, and droopy eyelid skin, upper and lower eyelid lifts can mean the difference between looking ten years older and looking as though you have stepped into a time machine and emerged ten years younger.
Eyelid surgery is deceptively simple, requiring a mastery of both technique and manual dexterity, especially because mistakes and deviations of just a few millimeters can completely alter appearance. Both droopy and puffier eye types are caused by an excess of fat, muscle, and loose skin, so facial plastic surgeons like Dr. Andrew Jacono aim to remove just the right amount of tissue while keeping incisions not only as small as possible but hidden in tactful locations along the face’s natural creases. The outcome of an excellent blepharoplasty is so staggering and yet natural-looking that, quite often, patients’ friends and loved ones don’t think that they’ve had surgery, but that they’ve lost weight or begun a good skincare regimen.
The best part of any eyelift is that recovery is normally around eighty percent complete by post-operative day seven. Still, Dr. Jacono suggests the following tips to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Arnica Montana is a homeopathic remedy that reduces bruising and swelling; used in the right amount, it can dramatically speed up recovery. Taking tranexamic acid in addition to arnica is also a wonderful idea and can be a true game-changer.
Use Cold Compresses
It might seem intuitive to apply ice to the eyes after lid surgery, but contrary to popular belief, inflammation is an important part of the healing process.
“Swelling isn’t always a bad thing,” says Dr. Jacono. “In fact, it’s our body’s natural, tried-and-true response to outside physical stressors.”
Instead, opt for cold compresses for the first 24 hours following the procedure, and pain and bruising will not be nearly as much of an issue.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an intriguing and entirely effective way to heal after any surgery. Patients enter a special mechanical chamber that has an ambient atmospheric pressure greater than that of sea level.
“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the supply of oxygen to facial tissue and stimulates the growth of new blood cells,” says Dr. Jacono. “This, in turn, contributes to a much faster recovery.”
Finding a location to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy is easy; just search for a nearby clinic online!
Elevate Your Head During Sleep
As should be common knowledge, it’s important to keep the head elevated during sleep for the first five to seven days after an eyelift. This will not only reduce swelling but make it easier to rest.
Use Ointment on Incision Lines
Although incisions will be invisible by the time recovery is complete, it’s still a good idea to apply a small amount of ointment—such as ophthalmic Bacitracin—to the areas around your sutures.
“Something to remember before you apply any kind of ointment is that you wash your eyes,” says Dr. Jacono. “This is absolutely integral to healing and avoiding excess irritation.”
Do Some Light Exercise
The day after the procedure, you might feel inclined to sit in front of the television, but this can slow down the recovery process.
“Generally speaking, patients look and feel better if they’re out and about after their procedure,” adds Dr. Jacono. “There’s no need to overdo things, though—light exercise is plenty.”
Avoid Eye Strain
We all love our phones and computers, but after an eyelift, the last thing you want to do is to put unnecessary stress on areas that have just experienced trauma. Some screen time is okay, but it’s best to stay away from devices for the first few days of recovery—the eyes need rest!
Try to Change Your Diet
If you experience excessive swelling after an eyelift, don’t panic—the problem might be what you’re eating and drinking.
“I always tell patients to refrain from consuming too many salty, fatty foods. I also recommend that they avoid drinking too much water before bed, even though they might think it’s a good idea.”