Patients who have dry eyes need to be especially cautious when considering eyelid surgery. Patients who have had a history of LASIK surgery can be prone to dry eyes after eyelid surgery. Eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty consists of removing excess skin from the upper eyelid and addressing lower eyelid bags with surgery and at times removing a pinch of skin from the lower eyelid.
The normal blink reflex occurs about 10,000 times a day. When we perform upper eyelid surgery, that blink reflex can be delayed and lead to dry irritated eyes. This is typically temporary and should resolve within the first 1-2 weeks. For this reason, saline drops and nightly lubrication is necessary to keep the cornea moistened.
Surgery for lower eyelid bags can also lead to temporary decreased tone in the lower eyelid which can also dry out the eye. There is less risk for this with the transconjunctival approach to blepharoplasty as the muscle is not damaged.
Patients with a history of dry eye should have a serious discussion with their plastic surgeon and ophthalmologist as to whether cosmetic eyelid surgery is right for them.
Dr. Funk is a facial plastic surgeon performing eyelid surgery in Houston.