Tear Ducts and Eyelids – Surgery at Sydney Eye Hospital

Part of the About your eyes series – this film contains information about your eye condition and what happens if you need surgery.

Produced by Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation to help you and your family to better understand the experience.

Narrated by Noni Hazlehurst

Why does my eye water?
Can you fix a droopy eyelid?
Will I be awake during surgery?
When can I go home?
Will I have a permanent scar?

These questions and more are answered in a short film about eye surgery at the Sydney Eye Hospital. Featuring animation explaining how the eye works and actors modelling patients as they step through the process of having surgery.


We all like our eyes to look good as well as to be good at looking.

As we get older our eyes change, most noticeably in the eyelids and skin that surrounds the eye.

Our eyelids are essential in keeping our eyes healthy but sometimes changes to the eyelids may require surgery.

For example if lids turn in eyelashes will rub against the front of the eye and irritate the cornea.

If they turn out the eye can be exposed to damage and may water so surgery may be needed
to position eyelids properly against the eyeball.

A droopy eyelid which can occur at any age can interfere with your vision.

Surgery may be required to lift the lid to improve vision or in the case of children to allow their vision to develop normally.
As we age excess tears or watery eyes are often a result of a blocked tear duct that prevents our tears from draining normally.
Surgery to build a new drainage channel is often the best solution.

Surgery to the eyelids and area around the eye is a specialist field called Oculoplastics.

Oculoplastic surgeons also remove skin cancers near the eye and use plastic surgery techniques
to reconstruct the eye tissue so that it heals well with minimal scarring.

All surgeries carry some risk.

Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of the surgery as it specifically relates to you.

Most eye surgery is done in one day so it’s important to have someone that can take you home afterwards.

So, what happens on the day of your surgery?

A great deal of care is taken to make sure that the information about you is accurate and up-to-date.

You may be asked more than once about your medical history and what medications you’re
currently taking.

Your eye will be marked to alert medical staff when preparing for your surgery.

You will need an anaesthetic.

Most eye surgery is done under local anaesthetic, that is an injection or drops are used to
numb the area around the eye but first a sedative is given to help you relax.

You may feel drowsy, but you will remain conscious, however you should not see or feel anything during the operation and may not remember it either.

Tearduct surgery will take about one hour.

Eyelid surgery may take less than this.

Afterwards you’ll be taken to a recovery area where you can recover from the sedative.

Your eyelid may be swollen at first, but this should heal naturally over the coming weeks.

An eye shield will protect the eye from accidental injury.

Stitches can be removed about a week after surgery. This can be done at an eye clinic.

Eyedrops or ointment are given to prevent infection and, in some cases, to control the healing process.
Information sheets cover some do’s and don’ts while your eye recovers.

The Sydney Eye Hospital performs thousands of sight saving surgeries each year.

The hospital is supported through the fundraising initiatives of the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation in the interests of providing quality eye care for all.

Give the gift of sight through your generosity today