How Do You Reduce Swelling After Eye Surgery?


Quick Answer

Apply iced gauze compresses to the eyes, and sleep with the head elevated to reduce swelling after eye surgery, advises Mary Lee Peters, M.D. Reducing salt intake also helps reduce swelling, according to Jerome Edelstein, M.D., writing for RealSelf.

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Full Answer

Dip small pieces of gauze in ice water, and apply them to the eyes for 20 minutes each hour for the first day or two following eye surgery, as Dr. Peters instructs. Although this practice is only necessary during waking hours, regular application of iced gauze to the eyes minimizes swelling and bruising. Using pillows to elevate the head while sleeping for the first couple days after surgery also reduces swelling.

Bruising and swelling are at their worst for about 48 hours after eye surgery, reports Dr. Peters. After that, the swelling and bruising gradually subside. It can take six to eight weeks for bruising to resolve fully, and it can take as long as six months for swelling to dissipate completely.

In addition to swelling and bruising following eye surgery, the eyes may be sensitive to light or feel irritated, notes Dr. Peters. Wearing tinted sunglasses for a couple weeks following eye surgery reduces the discomfort from light sensitivity while also hiding bruising. Artificial tears also help soothe irritated eyes.

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