You have had surgery near your eye or eyelid. Special care and good cleaning of the wound and eye helps the wound heal and prevents infection. This handout tells you how to care for the wound once you are home. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the clinic.


  • 1 tube Vaseline (white petroleum)

  • Band-Aids

If your eye is covered with an eye patch, the nurse will let you know how to care for your eye.

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.

  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/wound for about 20 seconds. If you cannot shower, use sterile normal saline for soft contact lens and squirt it gently over wound, rinsing it daily.
    Note: You may have Gelfoam® on your wound to stop the bleeding. The Gelfoam® will slowly come off as the wound is cleaned. Do not force it off. If some remains, it will fall off over time.

  4. Wash hands again with soap and water before touching the bandage supplies.

  5. Apply Vaseline® (white petroleum) 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 rub your eye.

  7. Use sterile eye lubricating ointment if you cannot close your eyelid all the way.

Pain Control

Unless your doctor says otherwise, you may take both Tylenol or ibuprofen to help control your pain. We suggest:

  • Tylenol 1000mg every 6-8 hours

  • Ibuprofen 600mg every 6 hours

You may take them together every 6-8 hours, or alternate taking one type alone and then the other 3-4 hours later. Repeat this pattern every 3-4 hours.

If taking a narcotic pain medicine, do not drink or drive.

Limit use of over the counter Tylenol® (acetaminophen) if taking a prescription that contains acetaminophen. It is best to take narcotics with food to prevent nausea/vomiting. Narcotics may also cause constipation. You may use over the counter stool softeners as needed.


  • No heavy activity for the first 3 days or as told by your doctor.

  • Do not lift more than 8 pounds until your doctor says it is ok

  • You will need a driver

  • No swimming or use of hot tubs until the wound is healed.

  • Avoid bending over. Keep your head above the level of your waist.

Swelling and Bruising

This is normal but goes away in 2 to 3 weeks.

  • Sleep with your head raised on 2 pillows to reduce swelling.

  • Avoid bending with your head below heart level.

Swelling around the eyes and neck is normal. Swelling will be worse in the morning and improve during the day. Expect that swelling may continue for 3 days or longer.

If you were told to apply ice to reduce swelling:

  • Do not put ice right on the skin.

  • Ice should be placed in a plastic bag then wrapped in a towel and applied to the bandaged wound.

  • 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 your doctor tells you to. They may increase your risk of bleeding.

If you have bleeding:

  1. Press firmly over the site for 30 minutes (timed by the clock).

  2. If the bleeding has not stopped, use pressure for 30 more minutes (timed by the clock).

  3. If the bleeding still has not stopped, call the clinic where you were seen or go to your local emergency room. Someone will need to drive you.

  4. You can reinforce the soiled bandage, but do not remove it. You could disturb the clot.

  5. Keep your head elevated.

  6. Use ice or cool compresses to slow the bleeding.


Infection is not common when the wound is well cared for. If you notice any of these symptoms, 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.

  • Increased redness.

  • Warmth around the site.


Scarring is normal. They get better with time. You may use cover-up makeup after the wound has healed. Use sunscreen on scars after healing. Some people may have very thick scars, that may need extra medical care. Call the clinic if this occurs and we will schedule you a follow up visit.

When to Call

Call the clinic where you were seen if:

  • A sudden increase in pain that is not relieved by pain medicines and ice compress. You may have bleeding under your skin and need treatment.

  • Any sharp pain or gritty feeling on your eyeball (feels as if something is in your eye).

  • A lot of tearing or redness of the eye.

  • Any signs of infection.

Who to Call

Call the Dermatology/Mohs Clinic where you were seen.
8am - 4:30pm, Monday - Friday

UW Health East Terrace Dr Medical Center
Mohs Clinic
5249 E. Terrace Drive
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 265-1288, press option 2

UW Health Junction Rd Medical Center Mohs Clinic
451 Junction Road
Madison, WI 53717
(608) 263-6226

After hours and holidays, the clinic number will be answered by the paging operator. Ask for the Dermatology or Mohs Surgery doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.