What should I expect after undergoing surgery in terms of recovery and pain control?
Most surgeries are performed under sedation or light general anesthesia. Most people don’t remember their experience in the operating room because of the amnesia effects of the sedatives.
After your surgery, you will spend some time in the Recovery Room of the surgical facility. When you wake up, you will have cold compress gauze dressing over your eyes. Don’t be alarmed if your eyes are covered and you cannot see. There is always a nurse available to assist you.
Depending on the type of surgery procedure you undergo, you may be admitted overnight at a hospital or a nursing facility center. Alternatively, you may be stable to go home so long as you have someone to care for you. Your vision will also be blurry for several days after surgery because of the medications that were placed on your eyes, as well as, eyelid swelling. Wear your dark sunglasses or keep your eyes covered on the way home to avoid bright sun irritation. Have someone reliable, preferably a family member or close friend bring you to surgery and from surgery. This person should be available to stay and assist you the night after surgery. If you don’t have such a person, please let us know in advance so that we can recommend several available after-care facilities or caretakers to you.
The recovery from eye surgery is usually well tolerated by most patients. Most patients end up going home the same day of the surgery. Those that do go home can do if they are stable, have no evidence of active bleeding and pain, as long as they have someone to help care for them.
Pain is controlled well with pain medications that we prescribe to you. It is important to continue icing throughout the first few days after surgery since this not only helps control the pain but also improve the swelling.
ABOUT EYEDROPS: You will be given eye drops to place in the eye socket after your patch is removed, be EXTREMELY gentle in instilling them. If your lids are swollen shut, allow the drops to dribble in where your lids meet. Continue using the drops until several days after your first postoperative visit, or as per Dr. Zoumalan’s instructions.
ABOUT SLEEPING: Sleep on your back with your head elevated (on pillows, or in a recliner). DO NOT sleep face-down or on your side. Continue sleeping this way until a day or two after all of your sutures are removed. Note for parents: some parents find that it is easiest to have babies and small children sleep in a stroller.
ABOUT YOUR SURGICAL SITE: It is important that you keep the surgical site clean. To clean crusts from your eyelashes, dip a Q-tip in warm water and GENTLY remove the crusts by brushing with the Q-tip. When the crusts are gone, you should be able to open your eyes, but if your lids do not open, DO NOT force them open. DO NOT scrub at your sutures. You will have a clear conformer placed in the eye socket in order to keep the eye socket healthy during the healing process.
ABOUT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: No strenuous activity (exercise, sports, etc.) for two weeks following surgery. Do not bend at the waist or perform any lifting. Keep your head upright; do not let your head hang down.
ABOUT BATHING/SHOWERING: You may bathe immediately, but when showering, keep your head away from the water. You may wash your face and hair, but DO NOT get your stitches very wet! A little water or soap won’t hurt, but rubbing with a hand or towel should be avoided. To avoid possible eye irritation from shampoo, use a “no-tears” baby shampoo. If possible, have someone assist you in washing your hair while you lie back over a sink (as in a salon). It is extremely important that whoever washes your hair is VERY gentle in order to avoid pulling of the skin and/or sutures.
DIET: You may return to your regular diet the afternoon/night of surgery based on your level of comfort.