Eyelid Surgery: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

After surgery, your eyelid may feel tight and sore. Your eye may be watery, dry, sticky, itchy, or sensitive to light. Your vision may be blurry for a few days. Your doctor will give you medicines to help with pain and discomfort.

It is important to keep your eyelid clean and to avoid rubbing it. Follow your doctor's instructions on how to clean and care for your eye.

Your stitches may dissolve on their own. Or your doctor may remove them 3 to 5 days after surgery. Your eyelid may be swollen and bruised for 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. The appearance of your eye may continue to get better for 1 to 3 months.

Most people feel ready to go out in public and back to work in about 10 to 14 days. This may depend on your job and how you feel about people knowing about your surgery. Even after 2 weeks, you may still have some bruising around your eyes.

After surgery for a droopy eyelid, or ptosis (say "TOH-sus"), you may find that your lid does not lower as much when you look down. Or you may find that your lid does not close fully when you sleep. If this occurs, tell your doctor. He or she may suggest putting drops or gels in the eye to keep it moist.

For the first few weeks, your eye will be swollen. When the swelling is gone, you'll be able to see the changes.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Keep your head raised for several days after surgery. Sleep with your head up by using 2 or 3 pillows.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay to drive.
  • Your eyes will get tired easily. Limit reading, computer work, and TV for the first few days.
  • Do not wear contact lenses for about 2 weeks or until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Do not wear eye makeup for 2 weeks. You may also want to avoid face cream or lotion.
  • You can shower or wash your hair the day after surgery. Keep water, soap, shampoo, hair spray, and shaving lotion out of your eye, especially for the first week.
  • Do not rub or put pressure on your eye for at least 1 week.
  • Do not get your hair coloured or permed for 10 days after surgery.
  • Do not bend over or do any strenuous activities, such as biking, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, for 2 weeks or until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Avoid swimming, hot tubs, gardening, and dusting for 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Wear sunglasses on bright days for 1 year after surgery.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • 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 and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for when to use eyedrops and antibiotic ointment. Always wash your hands before you put your drops in. To put in eyedrops:
    • Tilt your head back, and pull your lower eyelid down with one finger.
    • Drop or squirt the medicine inside the lower lid.
    • Close your eye for 30 to 60 seconds to let the drops or ointment move around.
    • Do not touch the ointment or dropper tip to your eyelashes or any other surface.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for taking pain medicines.

Incision care

  • If you have a bandage on your eye, wear it for as long as your doctor recommends.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.

Ice

  • Put ice or a cold pack on your eye for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.

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 or nurse call line 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.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your incision comes open, or you have pus or fluid leaking from your incision.
  • You have a fever over 38°C.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • Your vision suddenly gets worse.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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

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Current as of: February 5, 2016