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Two avocados with each having half of one side cut to represent blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) – what is it and how does it work?

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Laurentiu Emilian Blaga from New Lifestyle Clinic

If you’re looking for a treatment for hooded or droopy eyelids, blepharoplasty may well be able to help.

An eyelid lift – or upper blepharoplasty – can potentially lead to a more alert look, offering a tighter, brighter appearance around the eyes, and can improve peripheral vision too.

But how does the blepharoplasty procedure work? And what’s the recovery time?

Fast facts

  • Best results

    1 procedure

  • Duration of results


  • Back to work

    1 to 2 weeks

  • Full recovery time

    6 weeks

  • Price range

    8,000 SAR to 15,000 SAR

  • Treatment duration

    2 hours

  • Comfort

    Local anaesthetic

  • Treatment type

    Minimally invasive

What is blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is a type of eyelid surgery that removes excess skin, fat, or muscle on the upper lids.

For those with heavy-lidded eyes, it can quite literally ‘lift’ the lid’s appearance. Surgery is sometimes carried out at the same time as other procedures, including facelifts, brow lifts and skin resurfacing treatments.

You can also have a lower blepharoplasty for eye bag removal.

How does the blepharoplasty procedure work?

Upper blepharoplasty is a relatively straightforward procedure.

Before surgery

Ahead of the operation itself, you’ll typically have the following:

  • Physical examination – this measures up the various parts of your eyelids to assist with the surgery. Tear production levels of your eye may also be tested, as this can be useful for identifying patients at risk of developing ‘dry eye’ following the procedure.
  • Vision test – your eyesight, including your peripheral vision, is tested to ensure you’re suitable for the surgery.
  • Photography – photos of your eyelids will help your practitioner plan out the surgery and tailor your short- and long-term needs.

During the procedure

A small cut is made on the fold in each case. Once the excess fat, skin or muscle has been removed, the incision is closed – and you’ll be all set for your aftercare.

Eyelid surgery recovery, prices and side-effects

How long does upper blepharoplasty recovery take?

You’ll need to rest for a few days but should be fully fit to return to your normal activities in around a week or so. Upper blepharoplasty recovery usually involves some blurred vision for a day or two, so definitely bear this in mind – and put alternative transport plans in place if you usually drive. You might also choose to wear sunglasses for the first seven days, to protect your eyes from wind and sunlight.

How much does eyelid surgery cost?

Pricing can vary depending on the clinic, city, and country where you have the procedure performed. Visit our clinic locator to find one that best suits you and get an individual quote for your needs. Always go with an experienced, qualified practitioner, even if they cost a bit more.

Does it hurt?

Blepharoplasty is one of the least painful cosmetic surgeries available. You’ll receive a local anaesthetic, though extra sedation can be requested if you’re feeling a bit nervous. Speak to your doctor if you would prefer this.

What are the side-effects?

There are several potential side effects to be aware of.

  • Bleeding – bleeding into the eye socket is rare, but it can happen in some cases. Removal of fat is more likely to lead to this – your surgeon will discuss if you may be of higher risk.
  • Infection – there is always a small chance of infection after surgery. However, a professional qualified surgeon will minimise this risk.
  • Swelling – there may be some swelling after surgery, but this will generally go down by itself in the following weeks.
  • Reduced sensation – some people may experience a loss of feeling in their eyelids after surgery. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned.
  • Scarring – there may be some visible scarring after surgery, but this will fade. It can take around six months for scars to lose their redness.
  • Asymmetry – eyelid surgery can sometimes exaggerate any natural asymmetry you already have.
  • Allergic reactions – some people can have allergic reactions to tape or stitches, but your surgeon will be able to help monitor this if you have any concerns.

Who is most suitable for surgery?

If you have noticeably hooded eyes as the result of a medical condition or natural ageing, the procedure may be suitable for you.

Is it safe?

Generally, yes – but always go with a qualified, quality surgeon. An experienced clinician will run through any risks before surgery and explain how they will address these should complications occur.

Alternatives to surgery

Stress and lack of sleep can really take their toll on our eyes – making any bags, folds or droopiness even more pronounced.

More rest and less stress can help improve their appearance.

  • Deep breathing can help with stress; if you experience a ‘fight or flight’ reaction, breathe in for two seconds, out for four, in for three and then out again for six.
  • Sleeping improvements can also make a difference; try to get seven to nine hours of regular sleep.

When it comes to more long-lasting results, Botox and fillers can be really effective at treated hooded eyelids.

  • Botox injections – a Botox brow lift helps by reducing the muscles around the eyes and lifts the eyebrows to a higher position. It can open up the eyes for a more youthful look but needs to be repeated roughly every six months.
  • Fillers – dermal fillers injected around the eyebrows can also help to lift and smooth the area, but they also need topping up every three to six months to maintain the results.

Eye creams and retinol products can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and may temporarily give you a more youthful look. That said, if your eyelids are actively causing you discomfort or distress, the more immediate action offered by surgery might be the most suitable option.

Blepharoplasty facts

  • Eyelid lifts have their origins as far back as the ancient Romans, though the first modern medical procedures started to emerge in the 19th
  • Eyelid surgery was the third-most popular cosmetic operation on the planet in 2019 – with more than 1.2 million procedures worldwide.


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