Home care: What should patients do after eyelid surgery?
After a functional eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty and ptosis for heavy, hooded or drooping eyelids), the patient should have some tips for eyelid surgery home care. These tips, such as going home wearing their dark glasses or the Cartella Eyelid Shields to protect their eyelids from dust, the sun and being seen, will help patients get the best outcomes.
For more home care after eyelid surgery, patients do have to wear the Cartella shields every night for a week so as to safeguard the eyes during sleep against inadvertent knocks which could hurt the incision site. Since I use Tisseel Fibrin Sealant and very few sutures, the wound is initially quite weak although in a perfect position, so requires protection after eyelid surgery.
During the day the patient can walk around normally, but should not be doing heavy work or heavy exercise. They will be kept quite busy putting in eyedrops and should not go to work for at least three to ten days. This regime is also one of the most important parts of home care.
They will be given a telephone number to contact us if they have any concerns and the nurse will ring them up at home on the first day to check that everything is alright. They will be given saline solution and swabs to clean the eyelids at home and can always send us in photographs to let us know their progress during the first week. As the oculoplastic surgeon, I will see them back at Clinica London usually between 7 and 12 days after surgery.
Eyelid surgeon does not hurt once the local anaesthetic has been given. The patient does not feel any discomfort from the surgery. After the local anaesthetic has worn off there may be some ache and some slight dryness at the front of the eye, but no pain. If the eyes are painful, it could mean they have dried out during the surgery or suffered a scratch, but this is very unlikely as we make sure the eyes are consistently well lubricated with saline throughout the operation and they get plenty of lubricant drops to put in afterwards.
The patient can expect the eyelids to feel quite stiff because they have been operated on and a blink may not be full. Hence the requirement for additional lubricant drops in the first few days. They must take care of the home care and protect the eyelids from infection, washing their hands before cleaning or touching the eyelids or putting drops in and they have to safeguard the eyelids from inadvertent knocks as already mentioned above. The patient can expect there to be some bruising, swelling and redness for the first five to ten days after surgery. The patient is to avoid all Aspirin and Brufen for a week before surgery if possible and for about a week afterwards as well to reduce the bruising risk.
I usually see the patient three times after their functional eyelid surgery, to check all is healing well and any bruising and swelling settling as it should.