Swelling and bruisingEyelid cleaningSutures (stitches)Other instructions
How to put in eyedropsAll instructions

Post-operative instructions for eyelid surgery

Reducing swelling and bruising

These instructions are for adult patients to help reduce eyelid swelling:

1. Eyepad

You may leave the operating theatre with an eye pad on. Please do not remove the eye pad before the time instructed to by the surgeon.

2. Reduce eyelid swelling by sitting up

Sit up as much as possible during the day and sleep with your head propped up on 2 to 3 pillows at night the first few days after your surgery.

3. Cool eye masks / ice packs

Once you have removed the eyepad, or if you do not have one, you should begin cool eye mask or ice pack treatment as soon as possible.

Ice Pack Treatment:

  1. Specially designed masks are available from chemists - you would need to purchase several so that there is always one cooled.
  2. Alternatively, a small bag of frozen peas or similar wrapped in a clean cotton cloth will make a good icepack. If ice cubes are used they need to be in a non-leaking clean clear plastic bag.
  3. Sitting upright, put some clean gauze over the eyelids then apply the icepack. This can be cold and you need to hold a cloth in your hand or wrapped around your head in order to secure the icepack.
  4. Try icepack application for 45 minutes every hour during waking hours if possible, but if you cannot manage this, anything longer than 15 minutes every hour is satisfactory.
  5. Continue icepack applications for 3 days after surgery.


  1. After cleaning the eyelids, place clean gauze gently over them, then apply the ice pack for a minimum of 15 minutes every hour for 48 hours. Then reduce for the next two days to 15 minutes every 3 hours.
  2. 4 days after surgery switch to warm flannel applications for 15 minutes every 3 hours for 3 days.

For further instructions re eyelid cleaning, sutures (stitches) and how to put in eyedrops, please enquire at the Harley Street Oculoplastic Clinic.

Eyelid cleaning

Wash your hands first!

  1. The first eyelid clean is done when the eye pad is removed (first dressing) or approximately 8 hours after the surgery.
  2. Use sterile gauze squares and saline solution. Either purchase Normasol ® sachets of saline or make up a simple solution with one teaspoon salt in a half pint water which has been boiled. Leave to cool before use and make up new before each use.
  3. Soak the gauze swabs in the saline and place on the eyelids to remove superficial debris.
  4. Dab the eyelids, moving the gauze horizontally across the eyelid and avoiding the eye. Go from the nose end (medial) to the outside corner (lateral). Clean the eyelashes from their base to tips.
  5. After the first clean, continue twice daily cleans for 1 week then once daily for the second week.

NB The sutures (stitches) used are quite secure but still be gentle!

Sutures (stitches)

  1. If "absorbable sutures" have been used these may not require removing.
  2. Sometimes, even when "absorbable sutures" were used, the Doctor will decide to remove these between 4 and 21 days after surgery.
  3. If "permanent" or "non-absorbable" sutures are used, these are removed between 4 and usually 10 days after surgery. Rarely, if a graft has been taken from the ear or scalp, the sutures are left in 2 weeks. Scalp staples may be left in 2 weeks.

N.B If a stitch breaks and the wound opens, or the vision blurs, or there is bleeding, discharge or excessive pain, please contact your Doctor.

How to put in your eyedrops

Before putting in your eyedrops, please wash your hands.

After upper eyelid surgery, it is easy to put in your eyedrops, if you gently pull down your lower lid and look up, then instill the drop into the gap between the lower lid and the eye. Do not touch the eye with the eyedropper.
After lower eyelid surgery, it is best to put in your eyedrops by gently pulling the upper lid up and looking down. Then instill the drop onto the eye taking great care not to put any pressure on the lower lid with your fingers.

Other instructions

  1. Avoid aspirin for at least 10 days after surgery - take paracetamol or codeine based tablets for mild discomfort or ache.
  2. Avoid exercise and especially swimming for 2 weeks after surgery.
  3. Do not apply makeup for the first 2 weeks after surgery.
  4. You may fly from 3 days after surgery.
  5. Avoid homeopathic medicines which promote fast healing.
  6. Light camouflage creams containing "green" colour applied on the cheeks hides bruising. Bruising takes between 10 - 21 days to disappear and first drops down into the cheek and even the neck