Eyelid Surgery: Before Your Surgery

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What is eyelid surgery?

There are two types of eyelid surgery. You may have one or both types of surgery. These surgeries can be done on one or both of your eyes.

Surgery for ptosis lifts droopy upper eyelids. Ptosis (say "TOH-sus") is the name for eyelids that droop. The eyelid muscles or tendons do not work as they should. This can affect your vision and your appearance. It can be caused by aging, nerve or muscle problems, eye surgery, or an injury. You can be born with this problem, or you can get it later in life.

The doctor makes a small cut in the crease of your upper eyelid. The cut is called an incision. He or she then lifts the eyelid by tightening the muscle that raises your eyelid. In rare cases, the muscle is too weak to tighten. In that case, the doctor will connect your forehead muscles to your eyelid muscles. After fixing the problem, the doctor stitches up the incision. Minor cases may not need a cut in the skin.

Blepharoplasty (say "BLEF-uh-roh-plass-tee") is surgery to remove baggy, extra tissue on your upper or lower eyelids. In most cases, this extra tissue forms as you age. It may affect your vision. But more often, it affects how you look. This surgery is usually considered cosmetic, or plastic, surgery.

The doctor makes small incisions in the creases of your upper eyelids and just below the lashes of your lower eyelids. The doctor removes extra tissue through the incisions. The doctor then stitches the incisions closed.

During either surgery, you will get medicine so you will not feel pain. You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you into a light sleep.

Eyelid surgery takes about 1 to 2 hours. You will probably go home on the same day as your surgery. After surgery, you will have tiny scars. These scars will fade over time.

Most people feel ready to go out in public and back to work in about 7 to 10 days. After either surgery, you may be able to see better. You may like how the surgery affects your appearance.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you in a light sleep. The area being worked on will be numb.
  • The surgery will take about 1 to 2 hours.
  • You may have a bandage over your eye. If you had surgery for ptosis, your lower lid may be taped to your forehead. This protects your eye from the bandage. You may also have an ice pack over your eye to prevent swelling.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: February 5, 2016