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General Postoperative Instructions for Eyelid Surgery

Minimize Swelling or Bruising

In all procedures involving the delicate eyelid skin, there is some degree
of swelling or bruising that persists for a time after the surgery. This
usually subsides after 1 to 3 weeks, depending on your healing ability.

Ice Packs:
For the first 48–72 hours after surgery, use an ice pack of some sort on
your eyelid area at least 4 times a day for 20–30 minutes at a time. This
need be done only while you are awake. Using crushed ice in baggies
and wrapped in a clean cloth over the closed eyelids is one option.
Frozen peas in baggies over a dry face cloth or gauze also makes an
excellent ice pack and can be easily refrozen. Freezable gel packs can
also be purchased in drug stores or at the “Body Shop” to use as ice
packs. However, in our experience, the frozen peas work best and are
least expensive. You may want to prepare 4–5 bags and place them in
your freezer at home prior to your surgery

Note: If there is tape on your eyelids, please keep the tape dry and do
not change it. The tape will be removed in 4–5 days.

Warm Compresses:
After the first 3 days, use warm compresses 4 to 6 times a day for 5 to
10 minutes at a time until the swelling and bruising are gone. A warm
damp face cloth or towel makes a good compress. If you have tape on
your eyelids, keep it dry by placing the damp face cloth in a baggy.
Make certain that your compress is comfortably warm, but not too
hot! – Check temperature on your wrist prior to placing on your eyes.
Also, dried rice in a clean sock, heated in the microwave works well
and seems to hold the heat a bit longer.

Sleep with your head elevated with an extra pillow for 2 to 3 days.
Try not to sleep on your side for 3 to 4 days, because any swelling you
have will shift to the side on which you are lying.

Lifting or Exercise:
Do not lift anything over 10 pounds, or engage in exercise for about
10 days(e.g., tennis, golf, aerobics, running, weight lifting). Doing
so may raise your blood pressure and/or cause excessive pressure on the
delicate tissues of your eyelids and the stitches binding the incisions.
Going for walks after 3-4 days is fine, just don’t over do it.

Ointment/Drops: You will be given a tube of antibiotic ointment and/or eye drops when
you leave. Put a very small amount of the ointment on the incisions
4 times a day for 1 week. The ointment tends to melt with you skin
temperature and may get into your eyes and blur your vision, so apply
it sparingly. If drops are prescribed use as directed.

Other Medications:
If you need any other medications, you will be given prescriptions
before you leave. If you prefer, arrangements can be made for you to
fill these prescriptions before the day of the surgery. Just ask us.

Normally, regular Tylenol should ease any soreness in your eyelids
and the surgical area. However, we can provide stronger pain
medicines by prescription if you need them.

You should resume taking your own medications after the surgery but
avoid aspirin products and “blood thinners” for 3 to 4 days (if okay
with the prescribing doctor) after surgery because of their tendency
to increase bruising.

You may notice a small ooze of blood from the incisions. This is
normal. You can gently blot it away with a moistened cotton pad or
tissue. Be very careful not to rub the incision area. If brisk bleeding
occurs, put a cool compress on the area and call your physician. If not
available, proceed to the Hospital Emergency Department. If there is pain
and pressure building up around the eye area and/or behind
the eye, and the lids start to appear more closed, there may be bleeding
building up in the eyelid tissues or behind the eye. This is a very
dangerous situation. If the vision starts to decrease, it is urgent you
seek medical care. Call your physician or proceed to the emergency room as
as soon as possible.

Dressings or Patches:
In the unlikely event that you have a dressing or patch over your
eye(s), we will tell you when to remove it, usually 1 day following
your surgery.

The Surgeon will use very fine sutures to close the incisions. You will
be told when to return to have the stitches checked, usually in 5 to
7 days. After 10 days, you can gently massage the solution from a
vitamin E capsule over your incision to speed the healing process. Be
careful not to get the vitamin E into your eyes – it will burn!

You may resume wearing makeup on your eyelids about 1 week after
the surgery. Be very careful when removing eye makeup – wipe gently
in the direction of the suture line.

You may eat or drink anything you like, if you feel you can tolerate
it. Generally, it is best to begin slowly with clear liquids and easily
digestible foods. Avoid alcoholic beverages for 24 hours or while you
are taking any medications.

Eye Drops:
You may apply artificial tear drops to your eyes to clear away any
mucus or blurred vision or to relieve scratchiness if present. Examples
include Tears II, Refresh or Genteal. Avoid drops that “take the red
out” (e.g. Visine).

It is okay to shower from the neck down on the same day as your
surgery. Gently wash your face with a washcloth as needed. The
following day, you can wash your face and hair in the shower, as long
as you do not direct the spray directly on your eyes. Gently blot your
eyes dry – do not rub.

Try to avoid sexual intercourse for several days as it may rupture some
of the sutures, cause bleeding etc. If possible, layoff for about a week.
If not possible, be very careful.

Generally there will be very little scarring. Initially, your wounds
will be slightly raised and reddened. In time, they flatten, become
paler, eventually blending into the normal lines of your face. Usually
this takes 1 to 3 months. Occasionally, there may be a slightly
asymmetrical appearance to the eyelid or its position after the healing
is complete. If this additional minor corrections may be required.

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Patients should discuss all medical information with their personal physician. | E-mail any corrections to drjordan@magma.ca