Eyelid Surgery and Dry Eye

Eyelid Surgery and Dry Eye

Many men and women who are unhappy with the appearance of drooping, sagging eyelids turn to eyelid surgery to improve their appearance. Eyelid surgery is extremely effective at lifting droopy eyelids for a refreshed, more youthful appearance. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, provides wonderful rejuvenating results, but like all plastic surgery procedures, it does come with some potential side effects. One of the most common side effects is dry eye. For answers to your questions about eyelid surgery and dry eye, schedule a consultation with San Antonio, TX plastic surgeon Constance Barone. In the meantime, learn more about eyelid surgery and dry eye in this overview.

What Causes Dry Eye after Eyelid Surgery?

Dry eye is one of the most common side effects following eyelid surgery. Fortunately, most patients find dry eye symptoms to be temporary, often resolving within a few days or weeks. Most dry eye after eyelid surgery is caused by post-operative swelling and will resolve as swelling decreases.

Dry eye that continues a few weeks following surgery may be caused by a pre-existing problem, which is why it is important to undergo a thorough examination and advise your surgeon of any eye problems or health issues prior to treatment. Some pre-existing issues that can increase the risk of dry eye after eyelid surgery include:

  • Bulging eyes
  • Thyroid issues
  • Previous history of dry eyes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Weak eyelid ligaments
  • Tear duct defect

The Symptoms of Dry Eye

Dry eye has many possible symptoms. Some dry eye sufferers may experience increased sensitivity to sunlight and bright light. Some may feel general eye discomfort, while others may feel like something is in the eyes. Most commonly, dry eye sufferers may experience watery, teary eyes.

The tears are produced by three different glands that work together to form different tear layers: a watery layer, a mucinous layer, and an oily layer. If the glands producing the oily layer are affected, as can occur with post-operative swelling, the tears may lack lubrication, become too watery, and cause dry eye.

Treating Dry Eye

In most cases, dry eye after blepharoplasty will subside on its own as post-operative swelling decreases. However, the symptoms of dry eye can be alleviated with doctor approved saline drops, eye lubricants, or ointments. Eye drops may even be prescribed for further relief. If eye drops, lubricants, or ointments don't provide sufficient relief, temporary contact lenses or temporary lachrymal duct plugs may be able to help. In extremely rare cases, dry eye may be permanent after eyelid surgery or may indicate an issue with the tear ducts. If dry eye persists for more than a few weeks after surgery and topical treatment does not provide relief, you should consult your surgeon to receive further treatment.

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