Care for Wound(s) Near the Eye or Eyelid
You have had surgery near your eye or eyelid. Special care and good cleaning of the wound and eye helps your wound to heal and prevents problems such as infection. This handout tells you how to care for your wound once you are home. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the phone number at the end of this handout.
Supplies You May Need to Buy
- Clean cotton swabs (Q-tips®)
- 1 bottle of sterile saline for soft contact lens wearers (in a squirt type bottle).
- 1 tube Polysporin® sterile eye ointment (may be provided to you).
- Telfa® pads and tape
- Sterile eye ointment such as Tears Renewed® (may be provided to you)
If your eye is covered with an eye patch, the nurse will instruct you in any special care.
When to Do Wound Care
Start your wound care on ____________________________. Keep the dressing clean and dry until then. Clean your wound __________ times a day until it is healed.
Care of the Wound
1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
2. Take off the old dressing. If it sticks, wet the dressing with water from the sink or in the shower.
3. Shower with the bandage off. Allow a gentle spray of water to cleanse the eye and wound for about 20 seconds. If you cannot shower, use sterile normal saline for soft contact lens wearers and squirt saline gently over wound, rinsing it twice daily. Normal saline can be bought at most drug or discount stores.
Note: Surgicel® may have been put on your wound to stop bleeding. When it comes in contact with blood it turns black or brown. This is normal. The Surgicel® will slowly come off as the wound is cleaned. Do not force it off. If some remains, it will fall off when ready.
4. Wash your hands again with soap and water before touching your bandage supplies.
5. Apply Polysporin® or ointment in a thin layer using a clean Q-tip®.
6. Cover with a Band-Aid® or Telfa® pad to soak up any drainage and protect the wound. As the drainage lessens, the wound may be left open to air. Be careful when you put the Telfa® dressing on the wound. Do not let the Telfa® dressing rub your eye.
7. Use sterile eye lubricating ointment if you cannot close your eyelid all the way.
Most patients have little or no pain. If your wound does hurt, you can take Tylenol® (acetaminophen) as directed, but no more than 3000mg in a 24-hour period. Do not take medicines that contain aspirin or ibuprofen until the wound has healed. Call us if you have any sharp pain or gritty feeling on your eyeball (feels as if something is in your eye), or a lot of tearing or redness of the eye.
Do not do heavy activity such as raking, shoveling, or lawn mowing for the first 2 days or as instructed. Do not lift more than 15 pounds until your doctor says it is ok.
Do not drive if your eye is swollen, covered, or you have any problems with your vision.
No swimming or use of hot tubs until your wound is completely covered with skin.
Swelling and Bruising
You should expect swelling in the soft tissue around your eyes. There may be some bruising also. This is fairly common, but it goes away in 2-3 weeks. The eyes may be puffier in the morning and decrease through the day.
Since your wound is on your face, sleep with your head raised on 2 pillows to reduce swelling. Avoid bending with your head below heart level.
Apply ice or cold compress to prevent and reduce swelling if told to do so.
- Place ice in a plastic bag then wrap in a towel and apply to the area.
- Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
- Ice should be kept on for only 15 minutes at a time.
Do not use alcohol, aspirin, or medicines that contain aspirin while your wound is healing unless told to do so by your doctor. They may increase your risk of bleeding. If there is bleeding, you should follow these steps:
1. Press firmly over the site for 10 minutes (timed by the clock). If the bleeding has not stopped, use pressure for 10 more minutes (timed by the clock).
2. If the bleeding still has not stopped, call the clinic at (608) 263-6226 or go to your local emergency room. Have someone else drive you.
3. Keep your head elevated
4. Use ice or cool compresses to slow the bleeding.
Infection is not common. If you notice any signs of infection, please call the clinic.
- Fever greater than 101º F for two readings taken 4 hours apart.
- Increased pain or swelling of the wound.
- Pus or smelly wound drainage.
- Redness or spreading out from the wound.
An allergic reaction to the eye ointment is uncommon, but it can happen. If you notice itching, redness, or swelling that was not there before, you need to call the clinic.
There is always some scarring in any surgical site. Some people may have thickened scars, but these often flatten out in 3-6 months. Time improves most scars. Cover-up make-up may be used after the wound has healed.
Mohs Surgery Clinic, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm: (608) 263-6226.
After hours and weekends the clinic’s answering service will respond. If you have an urgent concern, please ask for the Mohs Surgery doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942 during regular clinic hours and ask for the Mohs Surgery Clinic.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 10/20/2011
Copyright © 10/20/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4901
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