Dry Eye after Eyelid Surgery

By Brian Kobienia, MD, FACS on March 01, 2019


Woman pinching her eyelidOne of the most common effects of aging is diminished skin elasticity. This is most evident on the skin around the face, where sagging and creasing can take a toll on a person’s appearance. Since the skin around the eyes is especially delicate, many people notice a particular impact in this area. Loose skin on the upper lids and undereye bags are common complaints among older patients.

Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, smooths and tightens the skin on the upper and lower eyelids. As with any surgery, blepharoplasty will result in side effects, one of which may be dry eye syndrome.

Dr. Brian J. Kobienia discusses the likelihood of dry eye after eyelid surgery with our Minneapolis, MN patients prior to treatment so that they are well prepared for how to deal with this potential side effect.

How Common Is Dry Eye after Eyelid Surgery?

It is common for patients to deal with some degree of dry eye syndrome as they recover from eyelid surgery. There are a couple of things that can cause dry eye after eyelid surgery.

First, the eyelids will be inflamed in the days and weeks following eyelid surgery. Inflammation can inhibit eyelid functions, such as blinking. If a patient is blinking less, the eye will not get the adequate coating of tear film that it needs to stay moist.

The second likely cause of dry eye after eyelid surgery is a temporary change in the composition of the tears themselves. The tears may not contain the oils and nutrients needed to moisturize. So, while a patient may actually experience excessive tearing as they recover from eyelid surgery, the eyes could still feel dry and itchy.

Any patient can deal with dry eye as they recover from eyelid surgery, but those most at risk include patients who undergo both upper and lower eyelid surgery and those who have dealt with dry eye symptoms in the past. Dry, windy, or dusty conditions can also worsen dry eye symptoms.

How Long Will It Last?

While a small percent of patients may deal with long-term dry eye syndrome following eyelid surgery, it is much more likely to be a temporary condition.

For most patients, dry eye lasts no more than six to eight weeks. As inflammation subsides, other surgical side effects, including dry eye, should also resolve.

Relieving Dry Eye Symptoms

Even if dry eye is a temporary condition, it can be irritating and uncomfortable for the patient. Fortunately, there are steps a person can take to relieve symptoms of dry eye while the condition persists.

  • Apply lubricating eye drops frequently throughout the day
  • Use cold compresses to alleviate swelling around the eyelids
  • Avoid dry, windy, and dusty environments
  • Reduce time in front of bright screens, such as smart phones, computers, or television

Learn More

If you would like to lift droopy eyelids or eliminate saggy undereye bags, you may be an ideal candidate for blepharoplasty. To learn more about eyelid surgery and the recovery period that follows, contact us at your earliest convenience or call (952) 925-1111 to set up a personal consultation with Dr. Brian J. Kobienia.

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