What to Expect After Ptosis Surgery: The Road to Brighter Eyes

Living with droopy eyelids, also known as ptosis, can be frustrating and, at times, even dangerous. As the eyelids cover a portion of the eye, severe ptosis can result in decreased vision or even complete blindness. Fortunately, ptosis surgery is a common and effective solution to correct this condition. For those considering undergoing ptosis surgery, it is essential to know what to expect during the recovery period to ensure a smooth healing process.

Preparing for Ptosis Surgery

Before surgery, your surgeon will conduct a thorough eye exam and discuss your medical history to assess the severity of the condition and determine the best course of treatment. They will also provide instructions to prepare for surgery, such as avoiding blood-thinning medication and fasting beforehand. In addition, it’s important to arrange for a ride home from the surgical center, as the effects of the anesthesia can last for several hours.

The Surgery Itself

Ptosis surgery is typically an outpatient procedure that takes between 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Depending on the severity of the ptosis, your surgeon may decide to perform a frontalis suspension or a Muller’s muscle resection.

Frontalis Suspension

A frontalis suspension involves using a small piece of material, often a synthetic material or a tendon from the leg or thigh, to elevate the eyelid. This material is attached to the forehead muscles to provide lift and hold the eyelid in place.

Muller’s Muscle Resection

In a Muller’s muscle resection, your surgeon will make an incision in the inner layer of the eyelid to access the Muller’s muscle. They will then remove a small piece of the muscle to allow the eyelid to sit higher on the eye.

Recovery: A Step-by-Step Guide

Recovering from ptosis surgery can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the extent of the surgery and the individual’s healing process. The following is a step-by-step guide to what you can expect during the recovery period.

Immediately After Surgery

Upon waking up from anesthesia, you may feel groggy and disoriented. Your eyelids may feel heavy or tight, and your eyes may be watery or sensitive to light. Your surgeon will provide you with instructions for post-operative care, including how to use eye drops to promote healing and manage pain.

First 24-48 Hours

You will need to have someone with you for the first 24-48 hours after surgery to assist with basic tasks, as you may experience some discomfort or difficulty moving around. You may also experience some bruising and swelling on and around the eye. Use cold compresses to minimize swelling and elevate your head while sleeping to reduce pressure on the eye.

First Week

During the first week of recovery, you will need to refrain from activities that could strain your eyes, such as reading or watching television for extended periods. You will also need to continue using eye drops and antibiotics as prescribed. Your surgeon will schedule a follow-up appointment during this week to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

First Month

As you begin to heal, you can gradually resume your normal activities, including work and exercise. However, you should still avoid activities that could cause strain to your eyes, such as heavy lifting or contact sports. Your surgeon will schedule a follow-up appointment after a month to check on your progress and discuss any further treatment plans if necessary.

Final Results

The final results of ptosis surgery may take several months to fully manifest. In some cases, additional surgery may be required to achieve the desired results. However, most patients notice a significant improvement in their vision and overall appearance within the first few weeks of recovery.

Common Questions and Answers

  • Q: Will I need to wear an eye patch after surgery?
  • A: No, you will not need to wear an eye patch after surgery. Your surgeon may apply ointment or a temporary stitch to protect the eye during recovery.
  • Q: Will I experience any pain during recovery?
  • A: You may experience some discomfort and pain during the first few days of recovery, but these symptoms can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and eye drops.
  • Q: When can I wear makeup again?
  • A: You should avoid wearing makeup for at least two weeks after surgery to prevent infection or irritation to the eye. After two weeks, you can gradually resume wearing makeup as the eye continues to heal.
  • Q: When can I return to work?
  • A: You can usually return to work within a week of surgery, depending on the nature of your job and the extent of the surgery. However, you should avoid activities that could cause strain to the eyes, such as extended computer use or exposure to bright light.


Ptosis surgery is a common and effective treatment for droopy eyelids that can significantly improve vision and overall appearance. Knowing what to expect during the recovery period can help you prepare for the surgery and ensure a smooth healing process. By following your surgeon’s instructions for post-operative care and attending follow-up appointments, you can expect to see a dramatic improvement in your vision and eye appearance within the first few weeks of recovery.


  • Ambrosio, R., & Palumbo, R. (2018). Ptosis Surgical Management.
  • Della Rocca, R. C., Bedran, E. G., Ribeiro, B. F., & Minguini, N. (2014). Frontalis suspension with silicone rod: a retrospective study of 363 children and adults with severe ptosis. Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, 252(5), 791-797.
  • Jiao, Y., Zhu, S. H., Liao, S. L., & Xiao, Z. Q. (2019). Update on frontalis suspension surgery of the upper eyelids. International journal of ophthalmology, 12(5), 816-821.

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