What are the risks associated with eye surgery?

Complications from upper and lower eyelid surgery are rare. When they do arise, they are usually minor and treatable. However, all surgical procedures have certains risks involved, such as bleeding and infection. Fat deposits sometimes develop and form small white bumpson the skin shortly after stitching. You can greatly reduce the risk of complications by following the surgeon’s recommendations. A rare but unfortunate risk in upper and lower eyelid surgery is swelling in the eye socket with double vision for a few days. In very rare occurances, an individual may have very difficult time closing their eyes during sleep. These problems are understood amongst plastic surgeons as are the methods used to treat them.


What do I need to have in mind before deciding on eye surgery?

Before you consider having upper or lower eyelid surgery, it is important to consider carefully the expectations you have regarding the outcomes of the surgery. You should discuss these expectations with your surgeon and keep in mind that eye surgery can improve your appearance and therefore your self-esteem, but it will not alter your appearance dramatically. The surgery can be particularly useful when the eyelids are limiting your vision.


How do I prepare for eye surgery?

During the initial interview, it is important to provide the surgeon with a basic medical history. Inform the surgeon of any allergies you may have, and what if any prescriptions and health supplements you take. If you are a smoker, let the surgeon know. It is also beneficial to talk about what you want to achieve with the surgery, and if you want the procedure on your upper or lower lids, or both. It is important to ask the surgeon any questions you may have.


Where is the surgery performed?

The surgery is performed at in an operating theatre at Domus Medica Medical Centre in Reykjavík. Dr. Stefánsson and Dr. Einarsson‘s offices are on the 4th floor and operating rooms on the 6th floor.


Will I require anaesthesia?

Upper and lower eyelid surgery is usually performed using local anaesthesia with or without a sedative. On rare occasion, the surgery is performed under general anaesthesia.


What happens during the surgery?

An incision is made along the natural crease in the upper eyelid or along the lower eyelash line for lower lid surgery. The incisions sometimes extend slightly out to the sides of the lids. Through the incisions, the surgeon removes the skin from underlying fat and muscle. Excess skin and fatty tissue is removed and the skin is smoothed out and in some cases, the muscle is tightened as well. The incision is then closed with very fine sutures.


How long does the surgery take?

Cosmetic eye surgery can take anywhere from one to three hours, depending on the scope of the surgery. If both upper and lower eyelid surgery is being performed, usually the surgeon treats the upper eyelid first, then the lower lid.


How will I feel immediately following the surgery?

Immediately after the surgery, your lids may feel tight and sensitive. Cooling the lids in the first hours upon coming home with either a cold compress or a clean washcloth wet with cold water or covered in crushed ice will reduce swelling and bruising and provide some relief. It is best to hold the head up as much as possible in the days following the surgery. Bruising can vary between patients, but usually reaches its peak in the first two or three days after the surgery. Bruising and swelling can remain for up to four weeks after the surgery. The surgeon will show you how to clean your eyes, which can be sticky for more than a week. In the first week after surgery, some itchiness may occur. This can also be reduced with a cold compress. Sutures are removed after five to seven days, after which, discomfort and itching will subside and you will feel much better overall.


How long will it take to fully recover?

You should be able to read and watch television after one to twoo days. Contact lenses cannot be used until two weeks after surgery and will probably not be very comfortable until even later than that. Most patients can return to work and go out in public in a week to ten days and make-up can usually be used around that time. For a few weeks after the surgery, wind and sun sensitivity is elevated, making it important to have sunglasses at hand. Sports and other physical activities where the eyes could be jarred should be avoided in the first couple of weeks. Alcohol should be avoided after the first couple of days and used sparingly during the recovery period.


What expectations can I have regarding the change to my appearance?

Recovering from eye surgery takes some time and the scars surrounding the eyes are often red in the first weeks, but then fade away over the next few weeks and months. Usually the scars disappear completely. The large majority of people are satisfied with the surgery and feel they look younger. The effects are usually present for years.