Risks and complications
In the hands of an experienced oculoplastic surgeon the risk of a serious complication is very low.
I will explain potential eyelid surgery complications in detail to you. You will be asked to sign a consent form to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications which can include:
- Blurred or impaired vision, including loss of eyesight (extremely rare)
- Corneal abrasion - this is a scratch to the surface of the eyeball that causes persistent pain. This is rare but can occur with any surgery on or near the eye and is treated with antibiotic ointment. Sometimes a “bandage” contact lens needs to be used
- Bleeding (haematoma) - This can very rarely lead to a loss of vision, including blindness. A haematoma usually needs to be drained in the operating theatre
- Infection-this is rare but it is important to follow post-operative wound care instructions to help to prevent such a problem
- Numbness and other changes in skin sensation
- Undercorrection (so the eyelid still turns outwards)
- Overcorrection (so the eyelid now turns inwards)
- Tender orbital rim - the outer bony rim of the eye socket can be tender for a few weeks after an eyelid tightening procedure
- Misdirected eyelashes rubbing against the eyeball (trichiasis) - this can be a temporary problem if the eyelid has been out-turned for a long time (months / years). The lashes usually regrow in the correct direction after removal
- Skin graft problems - the graft can become thickened and requires regular massage as it heals. Sometimes a steroid injection is needed to help the thickening to improve. Rarely the graft can fail to take and wither away (graft necrosis). Scarring. Most eyelid wounds heal very well with scars that are barely perceptible after a few months. However occasionally wounds can become thickened and may require attention with additional treatment such as steroid injections or, rarely, surgical revision to improve the scar
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Asymmetry. Tightening of the lower eyelid on one side can give pulled up tight look to the operated eyelid but this usually settles over time. It is very unusual for further surgery to be required to address this
- Acute glaucoma - this is sudden raised pressure and pain within the eye, haloes around lights with blurring of vision, headache and vomiting. This can occur very rarely following eyelid surgery. Any such symptoms following surgery should be reported to your surgeon who can diagnose and treat this, should this occur
- Possibility of revision surgery if the outcome is not as expected
Be sure to ask questions:
It’s very important to ask any question you have about your proposed eyelid procedure. I’ll do my best to address any concern you may have.
When you go home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require admission to hospital and additional treatment.