What to Expect After Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)
Discomfort. Should be minimal and easily controlled with Tylenol or prescription narcotics.
Swelling. There will be mild to moderate swelling of the eyelids and tissues around the eyes and perhaps in the cheeks. This will vary with each patient because of the body’s individual response to surgery. Most of the swelling will subside within a week to two weeks. There will be mild residual swelling for months after surgery. This will be most apparent upon arising in the morning and may be more noticeable on one side than the other. Decreasing salt intake and sleeping with your head elevated will help keep this to a minimum.
Oozing. Small amounts of blood-tinged fluid oozing from the incisions is to be expected for the first 24-48 hours. Take care not to blot too hard or displace the steri-strip dressing.
Incisions/ Healing. At first the incisions will appear reddened and feel firmer than the surrounding eyelid skin. It takes up to one year for the incisions to mature (lighten and soften). Avoid exposure to the sun for three months following surgery.
Numbness. There will be numbness of the skin of the eyelids for the first several months after surgery. Gradually, the surgery nerves will regenerate, swelling will subside, and the numbness will diminish.
Results. Remember that our goal is improvement and a more rested appearance rather than perfection. Further treatment such as a chemical peel or further fat or skin removal may occasionally be necessary to obtain the optimum result.
Incomplete closure of the eyelids. You may notice burning of the eyes when shampooing, dry eyes upon awakening, or occasional blurriness while reading. This is due to swelling and early wound healing and will normally subside with time, usually in a month or more.
1. If you develop a severe pain and swelling in one or both eyes, and/ or decreasing vision, NOTIFY YOUR PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY as this constitutes an emergency that could result in blindness. Blindness is extremely rare following blepharoplasty and has never happened to any of your physician’s patients. The usual cause is abrupt bleeding behind the eye, within the first twelve hours after surgery and is most commonly reported in lower lid blepharoplasty.
The symptoms usually include: Onset of severe pain in one eye, abrupt swelling and bleeding behind the same eye, usually swelling the eyelid shut and causing the eye to bulge out compared with the normal eye size. Lastly, vision decreases and becomes absent. Even after vision is completely lost, it often is restored to normal if emergency treatment is performed within 90 minutes after the onset of vision loss. For this reason, it is important that your physician and an Ophthalmologist be contacted immediately. This is not meant to alarm you, but to educate you to help prevent this potential problem. Lastly, remember the risk of vision loss is extremely rare and your physician has NEVER had this type of post-operative bleeding problem or blindness.
2. Do not wear contact lenses for 10 days or more. Check with your physician at your post-operative office visits. You may need a suction-type device to remove them for the first month – these are usually available through contact lens distributors.
3. Avoid nausea and vomiting. Uncontrolled vomiting could lead to excessive swelling and/ or bleeding. If you develop nausea, use your prescribed rectal suppository following the instructions on the label.
4. To minimize swelling, oozing and bruising:
- Keep an ice pack over your eyes for the first 12-24 hours after surgery. Use a cloth pad beneath the ice pack to keep it from becoming too cold.
- For the first week after surgery, keep your head elevated (reclining chair or 2-3 pillows) while resting or sleeping.
- Do not do any heavy lifting or straining for the first week after surgery.
- You may wear eyeglasses at any time after surgery.
5. Apply a small amount of eye ointment (Lacrilube) which will be supplied to you at the time of your surgery, to both eyes each night at bedtime for the first several nights after surgery. You may use it more often if your eyes feel dry. The ointment may cause your eyesight to be very blurry.
6. If your eyes feel dry, you may use moisture drops as often as you need to. Murine, HypoTears or Tears Naturale are all satisfactory and may be purchased at any pharmacy.
Be sure to purchase Murine Eye Lubricant – not Murine Plus! You do not want the type that “gets rid of redness,” or “artificial tears.”
7. Leave the steri-strip tape on your eyelids until 3-5 days following the surgery. Return to the office for their removal. If you are unable to return then, moisten the steri-strips with a small amount of baby oil or Skin-So-Soft with a Q-tip. To remove, start at the outer corner of the eye nearest the temple, and gently pull toward the inner corner and the center of your forehead.
Unless instructed to do otherwise, cleanse the incision with hydrogen peroxide applied with a Q-tip. Be careful not to get the hydrogen peroxide in your eyes. Then apply polysporin ointment to the incisions. Do this 2 to 3 times per day. Remember, hydrogen peroxide helps dissolve your sutures.
8. Your sutures will dissolve on their own. For your comfort we will clip the ends of the sutures close to the eyelid. This is usually done in the office around the 5th day after surgery. On occasion, non-dissolvable sutures are used, and these will have to be removed in the office.
9. Do not use eye makeup for 10 days following your surgery. Do not stretch, pull or tug on your eyelids for 4 weeks.
10. Contact our office to make an appointment for your first check up, usually 4-7 days after surgery.
11. For Emergencies – Phone our Office: 706-235-5570.