Problems with Ectropion Surgery?

I am 2 months post op after my surgeon performed cantaplexy and both of my lower eyelids. My left eye is fine, however, the right eye is a gelatinous mess. The eyeball itself looks to be bulging. I have been on Lotemax steroid eyedrops and ointment as well as lubricant eyedrops. I have been told it can take months to heal from this surgery, but I am starting to get really concerned as this is starting to ruin my life. Can you provide me with an answer? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 4

Chomsis (swelling of the conjuctiva)

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Swelling of the conjunctiva can happen after having surgery to the eyelids.  This can take weeks to months to resolve, because everyone heals at a different rate.  It is best to take your medications as directed by your surgeon and continue with regular follow-ups.  If your surgeon feels it is necessary, they may refer you to an ophthalmologist for evaluation.

Chemosis (conjunctiva swelling)

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It sounds like you have chemosis, which is swelling/edema of the conjunctiva, which covers the eyeball.  It can happen if something is irritating the eyeball, such as dryness or poor blinking. It can also happen if there is pre-existing loose conjunctiva.  If the underlying problem is addressed, it usually goes away. However, if it stays for a while (weeks to months), then more aggressive treatment may be necessary, such conjunctivaplasty. Please see my website link for more information on this condition.


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The "gelatinous" swelling on the surface of the eye, called chemosis, is a  common side effect of eyelid surgery and is a result of poor lymphatic drainage. This is much more common in older individuals, since the laxity of the tissue is a setup for poor fluid drainage.

This can sometimes, in a few unfortunate patients, take weeks/months to resolve, which can force our hands to do more aggressive treatments such as excising [removing] part of the excess tissue.

Often conservative treatment with steroid drops and patching the eye, along with the passage of time, is enough to do the trick.

A.J. Amadi, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

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Eye Swelling After Eyelid Surgery

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Swelling in the white part of the eye (the conjunctiva) is sometimes seen after eyelid surgery.  Patients sometimes describe it as "jelly like".  It usually goes away in time, and steroid drops can help.  Other options include oral steroids, patching the eye for a short time or else snipping the conjunctiva in the office.  I think you should ask your surgeon about other options.  If your surgeon can't help you, find an oculoplastic surgeon.  You can go to the website for the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (asoprs(dot)com).

Michael McCracken, MD
Lone Tree Oculoplastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.