Eyelid Surgery FAQs
- If you are on anticoagulants/blood thinners, Dr Then may advise you to cease them prior to surgery. You should only do so if advised by Dr Then, your General Practitioner or cardiologist as safe to do.
- Cease Aspirin or Clopidrogel (Plavix) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (egNurofen) 7 days prior to surgery.
- Cease Warfarin or Pradaxa 3 days prior to surgery.
- Avoid gingko, ginseng, garlic or ginger supplements for 2 weeks prior to surgery.
- You may commence Arnica tablets 1 week before surgery (optional). This has been shown to reduce post-operative bruising in some patients.
- If you smoke, try and cease at least 4 weeks prior to surgery, and at least 2 weeks after surgery, to encourage good wound healing
- Continue taking all your other usual medications until the day of surgery. Dr Then, your General Practitioner or your anaesthetist can advise you on specific medications if required.
- Ensure that you have the following items at home:
- Paracetamol tablets or other pain-killers
- Ice/cool compresses (clean face towels) or eye mask
- Sterile gauze to clean your eyelids for the first week
Day of Surgery
- Dress in comfortable loose clothing and slip-on shoes
- Do not wear any jewellery
- Thoroughly clean your face and eyelids in the morning
- Do not wear any make-up or perfume
- Do not wear contact lenses
- You will have received instructions on fasting before surgery:
If morning surgery, no food or fluids from 12 midnight the night before.
If afternoon surgery, no food or fluids from 7am the day of surgery.
What to expect:
After eyelid surgery, it is normal to develop swelling and bruising around the eyelids, and sometimes it will also extend into the cheeks and lower face. The amount of swelling and bruising will vary according to each patient and the type of surgery performed. Swelling usually peaks on the morning after surgery, whilst bruising may continue to increase for a few days. Both will gradually improve over the next 1-2 weeks.
Pain after eyelid surgery is usually mild, and easily controlled with paracetamol (Panadol). The eyelids may feel tight, tender and slightly itchy for weeks to months after surgery, but this is usually tolerable for most patients.
There should never be severe pain or visual problems after eyelid surgery. If so, please call the contact number you have been given.
You will usually have stitches placed in the incision lines on or around your eyelids. Either self-dissolving or non-dissolving sutures may be used, depending on the type of surgery performed. If self-dissolving, they usually take 2-6 weeks to completely disappear. If non-dissolving, they are removed by Dr Then 7-10 days after surgery. Stitches may break or loosen in the early post-operative period –these will be removed and this does not usually affect the outcome of surgery.
Any incisions on or around your eyelids are usually hidden in the natural creases of your eyelid, so that any visible scarring is minimal. The incision may turn red, bumpy, develop small cysts or whiteheads, or feel numb. These are usually temporary changes. Any scars generally continue to fade and soften for about 6 months.
The post-operative period is very important to the outcome of your surgery. The following instruction aim to help reduce any swelling and bruising, encourage healing, and minimise the risk of post-operative infection.
If you have an eye pad on:
- Keep the pad clean and dry
- If the pad loosens or falls off, replace it and apply more tape.
- Keep the pad on until you have been advised to remove it (usually the next morning)
What you should do:
- Ensure that you have someone close by on the first day
- Rest quietly on the first day
- Drink plenty of clear fluids (water, clear soup) and eat regular light meals
- Sleep slightly upright (2-3 pillows)
- Watch TV/computer or read as per usual
- Begin cold compresses to the eyelids (see separate instructions) immediately. Cold compresses are applied until most of the bruising and swelling have disappeared.
- Begin antibiotic eye ointment after the eye pad has been removed, or the morning after surgery (see separate instructions)
- If you commenced Arnica tablets prior to surgery, then continue them for 3 days after surgery, then cease.
- Take regular paracetamol (2 tablets every 4 hours) or any other pain-killers recommended by Dr Then or medical staff, if not contraindicated.
- Resume all your normal medication
- You may generally resume driving on the 3rd day after surgery, but this will vary between patients.
What you should not do:
- Do not wash the face/eyelids on the first day. After this, you may gently bathe the eyelids with cool boiled water and sterile gauze, and dab dry with a clean towel. Avoid getting any soap into the operated area.
- Do not perform any heavy work, lifting, bending over or any exercise until advised by Dr Then
- Do not resume contact lens wear until advised by Dr Then
- Do not wear any cosmetic makeup over the eyelids for the first 7 days. After this, you may wear light covering make-up.
- Avoid strong sunlight directly onto the wounds for 3 months after surgery
How to apply COOL COMPRESSES after eyelid surgery
- Cool compresses may consist of any of the following:
- clean towel soaked in ice-cold water and applied directly to the (closed) eyelids
- frozen peas applied over a moist clean towel placed over the (closed) eyelids
- ice cubes wrapped in towel/plastic bag and applied over a moist clean towel placed over the (closed) eyelids
- commercial gel-filled eye mask cooled in the fridge, applied as instructed by the manufacturers.
- Cool compresses should be applied for 3-5 minutes, and as many times through the day as you can (4 times at least)
- Cool compresses should be started immediately after surgery, and continue until most of the bruising and swelling have disappeared. This will vary between patients.
How to apply EYE OINTMENT after eyelid surgery
- This will usually be Chloramphenical antibiotic ointment.
- Commence ointment after any eye pad(s) has been removed, usually the morning after surgery. If no eye pad was placed, commence ointment the morning after surgery.
- Ointment will generally be applied 4 times per day for 2 weeks after surgery.
- Apply the ointment with a clean finger, rather than a cotton bud/ball (which may leave cotton fibres in the wound). Apply the ointment to any stitches and incision lines on the eyelids.
- Dr Then may also advise you to apply ointment into the eye after certain types of eyelid surgery. This will generally be at bedtime. To apply ointment into the eye, pull the lower eyelid down with one finger and look upward. Place a small amount of ointment into the inner surface of the lower eyelid. It does not matter if you put slight excess in. If you cannot apply the ointment yourself, ask a friend/family member to help you.