Excessive Tearing after Eyelid Surgery
In many ways, our eyes are the most important feature on our face. They are certainly the most expressive, as they reflect what we are really thinking. Furthermore, other people often make certain judgments about us, based on the appearance of our eyes. If our eyes look worn or droopy, they may assume we are tired, old, or unhappy, even if those character traits are not true reflections of our personalities.
Given all of this, is it any wonder that eyelid surgery to rejuvenate the appearance of the eyes is one of the most consistently popular cosmetic procedures, year after year? According to the American Society for Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS) annual survey, 209,000 eyelid procedures were performed in 2016 by its member surgeons. This made it the fourth most popular cosmetic surgical procedure for that year.
Our surgeons at Jefferson Plastic Surgery have seen this same trend within our practice. Our patients who are considering eyelid surgery often have questions about what to expect in the way of potential side effects from this procedure. One of the most common side effects can be excessive tearing. Although this may be frustrating, it generally will resolve within a few weeks after surgery. What can cause this tearing, and how can it best be treated?
Eyelid Surgical Procedure
To understand how excessive tearing may occur after eyelid surgery, it is important to understand the actual procedure itself. Eyelid surgery is designed to remove excess loose skin and pockets of fat from around the upper and lower eyelids to correct for sagging, drooping, and bagginess.
For the upper lids, your surgeon will start by making an incision following the crease of your upper lid, and then gently lift up the skin. Next, any pockets of fat will be removed, and excess skin will be removed. Finally, the remaining eyelid skin will be re-draped and then sutured back into place. For the lower eyelid, your surgeon will make the incision just below your lash line.
Tearing Following Surgery
It is important to remember that eyelid skin is very thin and delicate. This becomes more difficult as we age because the skin naturally thins out and loses firmness. As a result, you can expect your eyelids to be swollen as a normal part of the healing process, which can block the opening to the tear ducts on the inside corner of your lower lids. This disrupts the lower lids’ normal ability to channel tears into the ducts and drain into the nasal cavities. The result is excessive tearing because the tears cannot properly drain out of the tear ducts.
Our surgeons recommend applying cold compresses or gel packs to the eyelids once the sutures have healed over. This will reduce the amount and duration of swelling, which will allow the tear ducts to begin function normally again. If you find that your eyes are still watery after three to four weeks, we encourage you to make a follow-up appointment.
Your eyes say so much about you. Eyelid surgery can help them project the best possible image of you to the rest of the world.