While rates of healing vary widely and can sometimes be a source of worry, the final result is what matters most. One of the biggest problems about recovery from cosmetic eyelid surgery is that your face and eyes are always on display and rather hard to hide.
Not only does this high visibility allow you, your friends, and your family to monitor (and worry about) every little change, but it also makes the process seem to take longer. (Note: One's appearance during the immediate postoperative period has been summarized in the preceding chapter.)
Expect to wake up on the morning after surgery, study yourself in the mirror, and then seriously question why you ever considered doing such a thing to yourself.
Swelling can be extreme, and sometimes it may feel as if your eyes will barely open. Fortunately, improvement is usually rapid. Once you are upright, gravity will help drain some of the swelling down into your cheeks. Blinking helps to "pump" away some of this initial inflammatory swelling that builds up while you are lying flat.
Over the first few days, you may feel that your cheeks resemble those of a chipmunk storing acorns, and the bruising may discolor your swollen cheeks all the way down to your chin (although, both of these extremes are uncommon). The difference between eyelid bruising and most other bruises you have ever experienced is that the eyelids don't require much blood to grow intensely colored. Even a few drops of blood mixed in with tissue fluid can tint the thin skin of the eyelid region (much like food coloring, where one or two drops turn the whole bowl of white frosting pink).
The routine use of oral corticosteroids (for example, prednisone) is of little proven value, while the risks of taking such medications are very well documented.
The intense red color of the first few days will give way to a muddy purple and finally a yellow hue that appears just prior to full disappearance. Often, the last area to clear is at the top of the cheek (where a creme concealer makeup can be quite effective).
The clear conjunctiva lining the sclera (white) of the eye may become lifted up like a blister, a not uncommon development known as chemosis. If a drop of blood happens to color that fluid, the white of the eye may even appear red. Think of this as another superficial "bruise" that will resolve like your skin bruising. Since chemosis can push the lower eyelid slightly away from the eyeball, use of an over-the-counter moisturizing eyedrop and avoidance of dust and wind may help the eye to feel more comfortable.
If you become discouraged by your early appearance, just remember that swelling and bruising always disappear.
As you finally start to notice some signs of improvement, don't be disappointed if the next morning you look . . .