After Eyelid Surgery I Can’t Close My Eyes – Help!
Eyelid plastic surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is typically a very safe and rewarding procedure that will leave you looking and feeling great. It is extremely important that you choose a surgeon who specializes in cosmetic eyelid surgery to ensure that you receive the best possible treatment. However, there is always the small chance that something will go wrong in any surgery, and you need to know what to do if you experience complications.
This is a rare problem, but very serious if you really have it. Temporary swelling is a normal response to surgery, and this may mean that closing your eyes requires extra effort and your eyes are drier than usual. If you have dry eye after eyelid surgery, be sure to use eye drops as directed by your doctor to improve irritation in your eyes. Since the swelling is temporary, this problem should resolve soon and your eyelid will quickly return to normal function.
After about six weeks, the postoperative swelling should have subsided and the dry eye symptoms should disappear. However, sometimes overly aggressive surgery can cause long-term damage that can even make existing dry eye symptoms worse. This can happen when too much skin and / or muscle is removed from the upper eyelid, which means that your eyes may not close completely at night when you are relaxed and not thinking about them. Fortunately, this is a concern that can be addressed as long as you are sure to see a doctor about this problem. If you are unable to fully close your eyelids, either awake or asleep, it is recommended that you be evaluated by a fellowship-trained ophthalmologist or plastic eyelid surgeon, who is a board-certified ophthalmologist specially trained in eyelid plastic surgery.
What type of treatment do I need?
This depends on the exact nature of your problem and the unique individual circumstances. Surgery may damage the same nerves that supply the muscle you use to close your eye, thereby weakening your blink reflex. This can occur when skin and muscles are removed at the time of eyelid surgery. The result is that you may not be blinking fast enough or forcefully to close your eye completely. This means that your eyelids will not be able to properly move tears around the surface of the eye to keep it moist.
The first method of treatment here is to increase the frequency of the eye drops and perhaps use an ophthalmic ointment based on what your doctor prescribes. Your surgeon may recommend the temporary use of a plug to close your tear drains to help keep your eyes moist. When these measures are not adequate to restore comfort to the eyes, it is time to consider reconstructive eyelid surgery. Your original surgeon will likely be eager to resolve your concerns. When possible, we recommend that you seek the help of your original surgeon. However, if you are no longer comfortable with your eye plastic surgeon or are concerned that your need exceeds your skill set, it is a good idea to seek multiple opinions.
This is especially important when your surgeon is not an eye plastic surgeon, but is trained in some other surgical specialty. The first task of the second opinion consultation is to determine what the basis of the problem is and if all the appropriate medical measures have been taken to improve the comfort of the vision. You likely have a variety of options depending on the severity of your problem. In some cases, you may need an eyelid reconstruction to help you repair the eyelid surgery. The goal of any solution is to make the lids close together easily and to allow enough closing force to help spread the tears over the surface of the cornea.
You need an experienced oculofacial plastic surgeon
Your surgeon should always work carefully and operate conservatively to minimize the risks of surgical complications and ensure natural results. It is true that prevention is the best treatment, but if you are already suffering from the effects of overly aggressive eyelid surgery, then you need a solution to reverse the damage you have already suffered. Now is the time to find a doctor with specialty, training, education, and experience in eyelid surgery repair.
If your relationship with your surgeon has deteriorated for any reason or if you are concerned about your physician’s abilities in this particular area of expertise, we urge you to exercise your best judgment and seek a second or third opinion. This is a good idea even if you have been told in the past that there is nothing wrong or that nothing can be done. There are times when it makes sense to switch to a doctor who dedicates a large part of his or her practice to reconstructive eyelid surgery to correct previous treatment.