Eyelid surgery

Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin or fat from the eyelids.

The aim is to improve hooded or drooping eyelids or eye bags.

Before you go ahead, be sure about your reasons for wanting eyelid surgery. Bear in mind the cost, the risks, and the fact the results cannot be guaranteed. 

It's a good idea to discuss your plans with a GP first. There might be a medical condition affecting your eyelids or a reason why the operation is not appropriate for you.

You can also read Is cosmetic surgery right for me? before making your decision.

How much does it cost?

In the UK, blepharoplasty may cost anywhere between £2,000 and £6,000. You should also factor in the cost of any consultations, further surgery or follow-up care that may be needed.

Where do I go?

If you're looking in England, check the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website for treatment centres that can perform eyelid surgery. 

All independent clinics and hospitals that provide cosmetic surgery in England must be registered with the CQC. The CQC publishes inspection reports and performance ratings to help people choose care.

Also, research the surgeon or ophthalmologist who is going to do the surgery. All doctors must, as a minimum, be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).

Check the register to see the doctor's fitness to practise history. You may also want to find out:

Read more about choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure.

What does it involve?

A blepharoplasty can be done under local anaesthetic with sedation or under general anaesthetic.

The surgeon will need to know if you are taking any medicines to reduce your risk of blood clots, such as aspirin or warfarin.

Surgery on the upper eyelids generally involves:

Surgery on the lower eyelids generally involves:

The surgeon will usually apply thin, sticky strips called suture strips to support the eyelids after surgery. These are usually removed up to 1 week later.

An upper blepharoplasty may take about 1 hour. Surgery on the lower lid may take up to 2 hours. Most patients can go home the same day.


It's advisable to take about 1 week off work to recover from eyelid surgery.

It may be obvious for a little longer than a week that you've just had eyelid surgery.

You will not be able to drive for a number of days after the operation. Bruises, scaring and redness may take several weeks to fade.

You will probably need to:

You should avoid:

Side effects to expect

It's common after eyelid surgery to temporarily have:

What could go wrong

Eyelid surgery can occasionally result in: 

Rarely, it can result in more serious problems, including: 

Also, any type of operation carries a small risk of:

The surgeon should explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated if they happen.

Occasionally, patients find the desired effect was not achieved and feel they need another operation.

What to do if you have problems

Cosmetic surgery can sometimes go wrong, and the results may not be what you expected.

You should contact the clinic where the operation was done as soon as possible if you have severe pain or any unexpected symptoms.

If you're not happy with the results, or you think the procedure was not done properly, you should take up the matter with the surgeon who treated you.

If you have concerns about your care, you should contact the CQC.

If necessary, you can raise a concern about a doctor to the GMC.

The Royal College of Surgeons has more information and advice about what to do if things go wrong with cosmetic surgery

More information

Page last reviewed: 30 August 2019
Next review due: 30 August 2022