Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a popular cosmetic procedure aimed at improving the appearance of the eyelids. While it can offer significant aesthetic benefits, it’s important to understand the potential risks and complications involved. This article delves into the various risks associated with eyelid surgery, how to prepare for the procedure, and what you should be aware of regarding blepharoplasty.

Key Takeaways

  • Eyelid surgery carries risks such as infection, bleeding, and scarring, similar to other surgical procedures.
  • Specific complications of blepharoplasty can include temporary blurred vision, asymmetrical eyes, and haematoma.
  • Serious but rare risks involve injury to eye muscles, excessive bleeding, and even blindness.
  • Proper preparation and following pre- and post-operative instructions can minimize the risks involved.
  • Consulting with a qualified plastic surgeon is crucial for understanding potential risks and making an informed decision.

Risks of Eyelid Surgery

eyelid surgery risks illustration

Cosmetic Eye Surgery Risks

Cosmetic eye surgery is typically safe, but as with any surgery, risks include infection, bleeding, or scarring. To avoid these, follow your care team’s pre- and post-operative instructions, and keep an open dialogue about any concerns you have throughout the recovery process.

Potential Complications

All surgery has risks, including reaction to anesthesia and blood clots. Besides those, rare risks of eyelid surgery include:

  • Infection and bleeding
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Difficulty closing the eyes or other eyelid problems
  • Noticeable scarring
  • Injury to eye muscles
  • Skin discoloration
  • Temporarily blurred vision or, rarely, loss of eyesight
  • The need for follow-up surgery

Eyelid Surgery Risks You Should Be Aware Of

The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal and you will have to weigh the potential benefits in achieving your goals with the risks and potential complications of eyelid surgery. Only you can make that decision for yourself.

Possible eyelid surgery risks include anesthesia risks, bleeding from the incision lines, changes in skin sensation or numbness of the eyelashes, difficulty closing your eyes, dryness to the eyes, ectropion (an outward rolling of the lower eyelid), infection, lid lag (a pulling down of the lower eyelid), pain, possible need for revision surgery, sensitivity to sun or other bright light, and swelling and bruising.

Preparing for Eyelid Surgery

patient consulting with doctor about eyelid surgery in a medical office


Before your eyelid surgery, you’ll likely have a physical exam and the following:

  • Get a medical evaluation or lab testing done.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Adjust your current medications or start taking certain medications.
  • Stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, blood thinners, multivitamins and herbal supplements, as they can all increase your risk of bleeding.

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To reduce the side effects of your eyelid surgery, there are several steps you can take, including:

  • Prop your head up with pillows when resting to reduce any swelling.
  • Gently clean your eyelids using prescribed ointment or eye drops.
  • Use a cold pack to help reduce any discomfort or swelling.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and wind.
  • Take paracetamol or any other prescribed medication to reduce your pain.

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Eyelid surgery should be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, a licensed ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.

Your care team will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for your eyelid surgery, including any foods, drinks, and medications to avoid. They will also share individualized aftercare instructions to help quicken your recovery.

Risks of Blepharoplasty

surgeon performing eyelid surgery in a medical clinic

Temporary Vision Issues

While eyelid surgery is a relatively straightforward and simple operation, it is a surgical procedure, and as with all surgeries, there are some risks associated with it, including temporary blurred or double vision. Temporary vision issues are among the most frequently seen complications after blepharoplasty.

Asymmetrical Eyes

Another potential risk is having eyes that look slightly asymmetrical. This can be a concern for patients seeking perfect cosmetic results. Although only a very small percentage of patients will experience this, it is important to be aware of the possibility.

Haematoma and Scarring

Haematoma, or a pool of blood collecting under the skin, is another risk. This condition will usually disappear after a few weeks but can be alarming initially. Noticeable scarring is also a potential complication, though it is rare. Patients should follow the guidelines given by the surgeon for the preparatory and recovery phases to minimize these risks.

The eyes are a delicate area of the body, and undergoing any surgical procedure in this area should be a well-considered decision. The surgeon should explain the potential risks and complications associated with blepharoplasty to the patient at the time of the pre-op consultation.

Complications with Blepharoplasty

surgeon performing eyelid surgery in a medical clinic

Serious Problems

While eyelid surgery is generally safe, there are some serious complications that can occur. These include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding from the incision lines
  • Changes in skin sensation or numbness of the eyelashes
  • Difficulty closing your eyes
  • Dryness to the eyes
  • Ectropion, an outward rolling of the lower eyelid
  • Infection
  • Lid lag, a pulling down of the lower eyelid, may occur and is often temporary
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Possible need for revision surgery
  • Sensitivity to sun or other bright light
  • Swelling and bruising

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Certain patients may experience one or more of the following complications after their blepharoplasty procedure:

  • Poor reaction to anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Undesirable scarring
  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Appearance of whiteheads following the removal of sutures
  • Excessive tearing
  • Problems in closing the eyes when sleeping
  • Dry eyes

Complications can range from minor and transient to more severe and lasting, underscoring the importance of surgical precision and patient selection.


Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is generally considered a safe and effective procedure for rejuvenating the appearance of the eyes. However, like any surgical intervention, it carries certain risks and potential complications. These can range from minor issues such as temporary blurred vision and slight asymmetry to more serious concerns like infection, excessive bleeding, and even, in rare cases, blindness. It is crucial for individuals considering this surgery to have a thorough consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon, understand the risks involved, and follow all pre- and post-operative care instructions meticulously. By doing so, patients can make informed decisions and minimize potential risks, ensuring the best possible outcome for their eyelid surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risks of eyelid surgery?

The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you will need to weigh the potential benefits with the risks and complications. Possible risks include infection, bleeding, dry eyes, difficulty closing the eyes, noticeable scarring, injury to eye muscles, skin discoloration, and temporarily blurred vision or, rarely, loss of eyesight.

Is eyelid surgery generally safe?

Cosmetic eye surgery is typically safe, but like any surgery, it comes with risks such as infection, bleeding, and scarring. Following pre- and post-operative instructions from your care team can help minimize these risks.

What are some rare complications of eyelid surgery?

Rare complications can include ectropion (when the lower lid pulls outward), injury to eye muscles, lower eyelid drooping, blindness, excessive bleeding, infection, developing a blood clot, and allergic reactions to anesthesia.

Can eyelid surgery result in asymmetrical eyes?

Yes, one of the risks of eyelid surgery is that it can result in eyes that look slightly asymmetrical. This is usually minor and can be corrected with follow-up procedures if necessary.

What should I do to prepare for eyelid surgery?

To prepare for eyelid surgery, follow your surgeon’s pre-operative instructions closely. This may include avoiding certain medications, arranging for someone to drive you home, and setting up a comfortable recovery area at home.

What are the risks of blepharoplasty?

Risks of blepharoplasty include temporary blurred or double vision, asymmetrical eyes, haematoma, noticeable scarring, and more serious issues like injury to eye muscles, lower eyelid drooping, and blindness.