What to Expect After Eyelid Surgery

SUTURES- Sutures are usually removed easily at 5-7 days after surgery.

ACTIVITY AFTER SURGERY- In order to allow your tissues to heal properly, we ask that you refrain from brisk physical activity for one week. Walking and non-physical activities are allowed, but it is best not to exercise for the first week. After the first week, aerobics, running, stair climbing, exercise bicycling and treadmills are permitted, but weight lifting (free weights or machines) should not be done until after the end of the second week after surgery. However, once the effects of the anesthetics have worn off, it is not necessary to remain in bed or at home. You may shower as soon as the effects of the anesthetics have worn off and you can comfortably stand on your own.

SWELLING/BRUISING- The skin and tissues about the eye are quite delicate and surgery naturally causes some swelling and bruising of the eyelids and surrounding area. The conjunctiva, or clear membrane covering the eyeball itself, may swell and give the eye a boggy appearance and may also cause some minor blurring of vision. If you wear contact lenses, it is probably best not to wear them for 5- 7 days after surgery. In order to limit bruising and swelling, ice compresses should be applied over the forehead, both cheeks and eyelids for the first 24- 36 hours after surgery. Compresses should be applied for 20 minutes at a time, with 20 minutes before reapplying. Also, homeopathic medications Arnica Montana and Bromelain may limit bruising and swelling. This is best started at least 1 week before surgery and continued for 3 weeks; check with your doctor before using these.

ITCHING/BURNING/TIGHTNESS- These sensations of the eye, too, are normal following surgery and may last for several months but usually are most noticeable in the first week after surgery.

PAIN- Some discomfort due to surgery and swelling is normal, but pain is usually easily managed with Tylenol.

VISUAL CHANGES- Some mild visual blurring may occur due to swelling of the conjunctiva and may clear temporarily with blinking, and usually clears with a day or two after surgery.

BLEEDING- A little blood- tinged oozing along the suture lines is normal for the first 1-3 days, and may be gently blotted with a clean Q-tip. Small blood clots (hematomas) may also occur in the conjunctiva and appear as red blotches on the white of the eye. These resolve in 7- 10 days.

SCARS- The scars from blepharoplasty are usually minimal after complete healing has occurred. In the first 7- 10 days after suture removal the incision may be barely visible. The scar then enters a "red phase" and may appear thicker. This can be camouflaged with cosmetics. After several weeks the scars begin to fade and lighten in color.