What treatment would you recommend for chemosis?

I recently got diagnosed with chemosis of the conjunctivita and was wondering how I can treat it at home to sleep and got about my day with minimal problems

Doctor Answers 10

The Management Of Chemosis

Chemosis is a severe form of swelling that occasionally occurs following blepharoplasty surgery. This swelling typically involves the conjunctiva and sclera. It has the appearance of blistering with associated pinkish discoloration.

In most cases, it resolves in one to two weeks following surgery. It tends to respond nicely to iced compresses and steroid drops. In some cases, procedures designed to drain and decompress the conjunctiva may be necessary. It's essential to avoid drying of the conjunctiva and sclera. For this reason, tarsorrhaphy procedures and eye patches are occasionally utilized as well.

When this situation arises, it's important to contact your plastic surgeon as soon as possible. Your surgeon should be able to outline a treatment plan that results in resolution of this problem.

Treatment for Chemosis

Thank you for the question. Chemosis is the swelling of the conjunctiva (the mucous covering of the eye.) It occurs on occasion with lower eyelid surgery. Treatments often tried are cold compresses, chilled artificial tears and steroid eye drops. If those treatments are not effective then a small incision into the conjunctiva might be helpful. It usually resolves within a few months. 

What to do for chemosis ?

The answer depends on the cause of chemosis and how long you had it.  See my link on chemosis. Discuss with your surgeon or ophthalmologist.

Mehryar (Ray) Taban, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Chemosis treatment

There are many ways to treat chemosis. The simplest way is topical steroid drops for short duration of time. Another effective ways to ask "drain the chemosis" by making a little incision into the conjunctiva to help reduce the swelling. Another way that is a little bit more daunting, it would be to actually suture the outer edge of the upper and lower eyelids together to cover the chemosis to allow it to resolve. Speak with your surgeon concerning the best ways to your chemosis.


Chemosis is swelling of the conjunctiva often related to surgery. If it was very recent, treatment is often eyedrops, ointment, anti-inflammatories like a steroid, and even patching the eye. It really depends.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Treatment of Chemosis

Chemosis is edema (swelling) under the conjunctiva (the clear covering of the eye) over the white sclera. It looks yellow because of the protein within the fluid. It is most common after surgery on the eye or eyelids but can occur following any injury or be an allergic response. It is usually treated initially with a steroid which is always prescriptive. If this is following surgery, you nneed to see your surgeon, the sooner the better. If it is not related to surgery, you need to see an ophthalmologist to determine why you have it and to then to treat it. Either way, you do not want to let it go untreated as it can become chronic requiting surgical treatment.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

OK the advice for chemosis is mostly right.

Chemosis is swelling of the conjunctiva, the white covering that protects the eye.  This tissue lines the eyelids and covers the eye to the cornea.  Like other tissue in the body, inflammation caused it to swell and this swelling is called chemosis.  Two factors seem to influence chemosis: 1) the disruption of lymphatics associated with eyelid surgery and 2) conjunctival drying.  It is possible to get into a cycle where the chemosis is exposed between the eyelids and this drying causes the chemosis to persist.  Very aggressive canthal tightening and upper and lower eyelid surgery incisions that are set close together also contribute to conjunctival swelling.  However, the number one factor that can benefit from treatment is conjunctival drying.  I recommend avoiding the steroid antibiotic combination medications because the antibiotic portion of these products can be very irritating and rather than helping they actually worsen conjunctival swelling.

Rather than seeing a general ophthalmologist, I would recommend consulting a fellowship trained oculoplastic surgeon.  This is a board certified ophthalmologist who has completed a fellowship approved by the American Society for Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS).  These surgeons are among the most extensive trained in eyelid surgery and have a great deal of direct experiencing managing chemosis.  They have the training, equipment, and experience needed to diagnosis and manage this complication.  ASOPRS maintains a directory on their website that will help you find a well qualified oculoplastic surgeon in your area who can help you (ASOPRS dot org).

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews


Kennethbevis101, should it be prolonged after surgery I would suggest you see an ophthalmologist and get treatment options reviewed. Make sure you keep your surgeon in the loop. Good luck!

M. Sean Freeman, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 44 reviews


Yes, you should see an opthalmologist for cause and treatment options.If it is following a blepharoplasty,consult your treating surgeon.For mild to medium cases post bleph I find something like Tobradex effective,which is prescription only.

Robert Savage, MD (retired)
Wellesley Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Treatment for chemosis

If you have not already, you should be examined by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) to determine if you have chemosis and what might be the cause.  If you do have chemosis, there are medications that can be prescribed to help with this problem.  

Michael I. Echavez, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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.