After your eye surgery

You will need to have someone stay with you for the first 24 to 48 hours. For the first 48 hours: No looking after young children alone, do not sign legal documents and no use of dangerous machinery including cooker, kettle and iron

You may experience a gritty sensation in the eyes in the first few days. Occasionally, what appears to be a transparent sack of fluid develops and covers part of the eye (chemosis). This looks quite frightening but you should not be alarmed as it will settle on its own.  Anti –inflammatory eye drops can be prescribed if this persists.

Remember to recommence any regular medication that you take (i.e. blood pressure tablets) as soon as you are able to drink, unless specifically instructed not to.

Try to sit upright as much as possible to help reduce the swelling. At night use an extra pillow to ensure that your head is above the level of the heart and avoid any straining.

Keep the wound and dressing as dry as possible for at least 48 hours. However, it may be necessary for you to bathe the eyes with cool boiled water, particularly in the morning.

Salty foods can contribute to fluid retention and swelling so reduce these in the first 7-10 days. In order to avoid constipation, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and dried fruits. Eat a well-balanced diet to ensure your body is getting all the important nutrients it needs in the immediate post-operative healing period.

Drink plenty of fluids in the form of water and fresh juices for the first few days after surgery.

Reduce caffeine and carbonated drink intake in the first few days.

Wear comfortable front opening and loose clothing at night and in the day. Ideally wear garments that do not need to be pulled over your head.

There is likely to be some degree of soiling or staining from the surgical incision sites so it is advisable to use older bed and pillow linen.

Do not pull on the operated eyelid. If the lower eyelid is operated on, do not pull this down while applying drops / ointment, or while wiping your face. This may undo the stiches.

The bruising and swelling will start to subside after about 10 to 14 days and most of the obvious swelling will be gone within 3 weeks.

You should abstain from alcohol during the first week following surgery.

Avoid sunlight as much as possible for 3 months after surgery and then use a high filter sun block (Factor 50 or higher).

With lower eyelid surgery, lowering or irregularities of the lower eyelid can sometimes occur as a result of the pulling effects of scar tissue with changes of the shape and size of the eye. If this is very noticeable it can be a little distressing. We will instruct you on how to massage the eye area and ask that you undertake this very early on. Do not start local massage until instructed to do so.

For the first two weeks:

  • Avoid running water over the eye; showering and washing hair, consider having hair washed at the hairdressers. Consider holding shower head at neck height or having a bath / strip wash
  • Do not wear eye make-up
  • Avoid touching, rubbing or knocking your eye
  • Avoid dusty atmospheres or where tiny particles might irritate the eye

It is advised that you purchase a freezable eye mask or alternatively use something cold from the freezer (such as a bag of frozen peas) and apply this over closed eyes for as long as comfortable

Apply cold compresses / eye mask to the eyelid area 5 minutes every hour for the first 48 hours  

Never apply ice packs directly on the skin. Wrap them in a clean towel or linen before applying them.

You may drive after 72 hours if your vision is not altered through swelling. Unless advised to contact an optician / ophthalmologist before driving

Should you experience any pain, you may take one or two pain relieving tablets (such as paracetamol. Do not take Aspirin or any medication containing aspirin

Holiday Insurance:

Look at your holiday insurance policy about clauses on surgery before you travel.

It is a good idea to inform them of your surgery, especially if traveling abroad

Seek medical advice as soon as possible if you experience:

  • A severe pain in or around your eye not relieved by painkillers
  • Continuing pain for more than three days
  • Excessive swelling, particularly of the lower lids
  • Prolonged bleeding from the incision
  • A sudden deterioration or change in vision. Or the feeling of something sticking in your eye
  • A fever greater than 100 F or 38.5 C
  • Any discharge from the incision sites after 48 hours.

Remember to apply the antibiotic ointment (keep in fridge after opening) or take antibiotic tablets and administer eye drops as prescribed

Ref: 04/21/02
Review: 07/23