Eyelid Surgery Post-Operative Instructions
Eyelid surgery can be one of the most rejuvenating facial cosmetic procedures. The success of the surgery lies in the hands of the patient as well of the surgeon. The best surgeon on earth will not obtain satisfactory results if the patients do not properly care for their surgery.
Your eyelid surgery may consist of upper and lower lids with laser resurfacing of the skin or chemical peel around the eyes or be limited to upper or lower eyelids separately or in conjunction with brow lift. Bruising and swelling are common and serious complications are rare in eyelid surgery. The patient has much control over how he or she will heal. Bleeding behind the eye after eyelid surgery can be very serious. It is extremely rare and should not be confused with minor oozing from the suture line. The main reason bleeding occurs is from patients elevating their blood pressure by bending, lifting, straining, coughing, sneezing, straining on the toilet and other strenuous activities. Patients may have swelling and blurry vision, but should be able to see light and count fingers. If a patient experiences severe stabbing pain behind the eye call Dr. Gilbert immediately.
To avoid complications from bleeding you must absolutely refrain from activities that may increase blood pressure or bleeding for 10 days after your surgery. Failure to do so may affect your vision! We require our eyelid surgery patients to be couch potatoes for the first 48 hours after surgery. We ask you to elevate your head for the first week and simply relax. Take advantage of this vacation and turn your family into servants!
You must also refrain from taking any drugs that may prolong bleeding. Remember even one aspirin per day is very dangerous for bleeding around the eye. Some homeopathic herbs may also elevate bleeding times and should not be used before or immediately after eyelid surgery. Ginko, Garlic and Ginseng as well as high doses of vitamin E can increase bleeding.
After your surgery, we will recover you in our office for approximately 1 hour. During this time we will place cold compresses on your eyes. This will make you feel comfortable as well as lessen swelling and bleeding. The best thing to do is to continue this for 48 hours at home. Simply take a salad bowl and wash it and fill it with ice cubes and water and place several wash cloths in the bowl. Place one wash cloth over the eyes and when it becomes warm replace it with another wash cloth. This is beneficial and should be continued for 48 hours. If you have had laser resurfacing of the face or eyelid skin at the same time, it is important to place a coat of Vaseline to protect the lasered skin and reapply it frequently. The lasered skin should always have a fine coat of Vaseline for the first 5-6 days.
It is fine to shower the day after your surgery. Be gentle when washing and drying the face not to disrupt the lasered area or sutures. If you have had brow lift or facelift you will have sutures or staples in the hairline incisions. Be careful not to snag them with a comb. Wipe the suture lines gently with a Q tip with peroxide and apply Neosporin or other antibiotic ointment once or twice a day. The idea is to prevent clotting and scabbing to provide a better surgical scar.
Take all prescribed medications as direct by our office and call if you have any questions.
Some patients will experience dry eyes. You can purchase non-prescription eye drops at your local pharmacy. We recommend Refresh Eye Drops for daytime and Refresh Plus eye drops for nighttime. Placing a drop in each eye every several hours will hydrate and refresh your eyes.
As the healing progresses, bruising can go from blue to purple to yellow and spread around the eyes. Some patients will have the white of the eye turn red or pink and this is not a problem. Some patients may also experience what looks like a blistering of the eyeball. This is from swelling and is rarely a problem. Call your doctor if you have concerns.
If you have sutures you will need to return to the office at day 5 or 6 for suture removal. This appointment is generally made on the day of surgery. Eyelid incisions heal in a very cosmetic manner, but usually look very raggedy and irregular for the first several weeks. They may look uneven or bumpy, but generally heal better than any scar on the body. Don’t be concerned about the scar for the first several weeks. Sometimes the eyelids do not close all the way immediately after surgery. This is not unusual and will improve rapidly.
Most people pay little attention to their eyelids until they have an operation. Don’t be too picky for the first several weeks or worry unnecessarily. Relax and let the healing take place. Remember, you will look worse before you look better. 99.9% of patients heal with excellent results. Minor nips or tucks are required to fine tune a result in some patients but again, this is rare.
Dr. Gilbert is on call 24 hours and can be reached at Inland Institute - Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Phone Number 909-982-8888 with any questions or concerns.