What may work fine for Mr. Penn's new camera or iPhone does not work well for eyelid surgery. Following your doctor's instructions is crucial because winging it may get you far more than a few bad pictures.
Surprisingly, there are patients who don't follow their postoperative directions or follow only some of them and then wonder why their eyelids are not healing the way they should. The first few days after surgery are critical to both safety and cosmetic outcome.
While exact instructions will vary procedure to procedure and surgeon to surgeon, the pages that follow provide a comprehensive example.
• Once back at home, you should rest as much as possible, preferably in bed with your head propped up on a few pillows or in a recliner. A bandage over the eyes is not necessary.
• Avoid straining, bending over, reaching down, or coughing, all of which may generate a sudden spike in blood pressure and initiate dangerous bleeding. The surgical wound is especially vulnerable during the first six hours after surgery.
• Avoid rubbing your eyes or pulling on the incisions.
• Watching television or using a computer is acceptable.
• To help limit swelling, apply clean cold compresses to the eyelids as much as possible until you go to sleep. Gauze pads or a clean towel may be soaked in a basin of ice cubes and applied directly. Alternatively, a large Ziploc bag may be partially filled with ice cubes or a bag of frozen peas may be placed over a moist gauze or towel. Commercially-available gel-filled vinyl masks may also be used.
• Pain after surgery is usually mild and able to be controlled with Tylenol. If you were given a stronger narcotic to take home, use it sparingly and only if needed. Severe pain should be reported.
While local anesthesia medications wear off quickly, the effects from some drugs used in general or intravenous anesthesia may be slower to disappear.
Call your doctor immediately if you note new symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, or an irregular or rapid heart rate.
• If your stomach is . . .