Extremely Red Eyes After Blepharoplasty and CO2 Laser

I had an upper and lower Blepharoplasty on Jan 15, 2009, performed with a CO2 Laser and the area below my eyes is still extremely red. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 15

This is one of the issues with lasers

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Most patients are surprised by how long it can take for the redness caused by the laser to go away. This is even true using the more modern lasers. Hopefully, your doctor mentioned that to you beforehand. It will improve but not as fast as you might like. For sure, blepharoplasties without lasers heal faster but probably don't do as much in wrinkle reduction in the lower lid.

Normal reaction to CO2 laser

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The lower eyelid skin after carbon dioxide laser will remain red and swollen for upwards of six months depending upon skin type. This is a normal reaction to the CO2 laser. Carbon dioxide laser is a thermal burn to the skin, and it takes six months to heal.

Redness after Blepharoplasty usually always resolves

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We have used laser skin rejuvenation with Blepharoplasty for over 15 years and almost always the redness goes away. Now with our fractional lasers it goes away in 7-10 days so this is a big advance over old laser techniques. Be patient and ask your doctor about the use of steroid creams, sun protection, and anything else you should be doing to recover from this temporary problem.

Redness after CO2 laser may last 6 months

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Although the CO2 laser is the gold standard for ablative skin resurfacing the problem with it is the redness. I've seen it last for 6 months. So hang in there and remember, your eyes will eventually look fantastic.

Give Blepharoplasty and CO2 laser results some time

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The laser causes different skin reactions in different patients. In some patients, the redness can go away in 2-3 weeks. These are usually fair skinned patients. In some people, it can take 4-5 months, and these are usually darker skinned patients. The redness always goes away and barring any final pigment abnormalities the final result should be nice. You can certainly wear makeup to cover up the redness in the meantime.

Most skin redness around the eyes is normal after Co2 lasers treatments

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Co2 laser targets water in the skin generating heat and destruction of the superficial layers. Due to transfer of heat and thermal damage to the deeper skin tissue an inflammatory process takes place which leads to redness of the skin. This redness usually takes about six months to clear dependinng on the amont of energy that was used. One needs to be patient as the majority resolves without any problems.

Amir Moradi, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Redness after laser resurfacing is expected

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Redness after laser resurfacing is expected. It will subside with time, but it may last awhile. It is okay to cover it with makeup the best you can. When it heals, you should have nice smooth skin.

Getting the red out

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CO2 laser resurfacing can redden your skin for up to several months after treatment.  Your surgeon may be able to give you some advice or treatment to decrease the redness.  I suggest returning to him/her for follow up.  Good luck!

Red skin after CO2 laser can last 6 months

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That's one reason I don't use CO2 laser.  (The other is possible skin bleaching).  Use camouflage make-up and be patient.  You will probably have a nice final result.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

6 weeks is prolonged redness after resurfacing

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Redness or erythema is normal following CO2 laser resurfacing. However, you are 6 weeks out and I would expect that you were only experiencing a light pinkness at this point, and I would want your skin to be in normal color by 8-10 weeks, certainly by 3 months.

Prolonged inflammation and erythema can be reduced by the application of topical steroids-I start this with 1 % Hydrocortisone Cream at 2 weeks after resurfacing. Redness at 6-8 weeks would push me to use a 10 day course of Temovate-a much more powerful steroid.

I urge you to see your doctor and get this addressed.

The longer the eyelids are red and inflamed the more likely it is that your skin will become hypopigmented or white after 6-12 months. Also, prolonged inflammation can tighten the lid skin and pull the lid down.

If action is taken soon, you should be fine.

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.