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After eye removal surgery


We know that this is a hard time for you and your family. It is important for you to understand that your child is OK. Your attitude toward your child during this time affects how they react to the loss of an eye. This handout will help you care for your child after eye removal surgery. 

Guidelines for care after eye removal surgery


The staff will give you medicine to help control any pain your child might have. The anesthesia from surgery or other pain medicines can cause nausea and vomiting. So the doctor might also prescribe a medicine for this.

The most common medicines after eye removal surgery include the following:

  • Hydrocodone/acetaminophen – For pain. Give this with your child’s nausea medicine. To learn more, see the Patient Medication sheet for hydrocodone/acetaminophen, also known as Lortab®, Vicodin®, Lorcet®.
  • Ondansetron – For nausea and vomiting caused by anesthesia or pain medicines. To learn more, see the Patient Medication sheet for ondansetron, also known as Zofran®.
  • Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid or clindamycin – Antibiotic to prevent infection. You need to give this to your child 2 times a day for 10 days after surgery. To learn more, see the Patient Medication sheet for amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, also known as Augmentin®, or for clindamycin, also known as Cleocin®.
  • Neomycin/polymyxin B/dexamethaxone eye ointment, also known as Maxitrol® – To decrease swelling and redness and prevent infection. Put this on the eye removal area 2 times a day after the bandage comes off. Use it until the stitches are out and your child has an artificial eye.

Give your child the pain and nausea medicines on the schedule the nurse gives you for at least 24 hours after surgery. After that, you can give fewer doses if your child is not in pain or feeling nauseated.

The nurses in recovery will let you know when it is OK to start giving your child the medicines you will use at home.


Your child will have a pressure bandage on the eye that had surgery. Please keep this on overnight. It can usually come off within 24 hours after surgery.

  • Some bruising and swelling are normal after surgery. They get better with time.
  • Some blood and wetness on the bandage are also normal after surgery. If you are worried about the amount of blood, please call the Surgery Clinic nurse at 901-595-5372.

Try to keep your child from taking the bandage off. We do understand that some children take it off before the doctor recommends. Please do not put it back on. Call the Eye/ENT Clinic nurse. 

Eye ointment

We will give you eye ointment to put on 2 times a day after the bandage comes off. If your child’s eyelid is sewn shut, put the ointment along the eyelashes. Your child’s body heat will melt the ointment into the eye. Your child can get the stitches out at their appointment in 6 to 8 weeks.

After your child’s eyelids open, put the ointment into the socket (opening) 2 times a day. Do this until your child is fitted with an artificial eye. 

Cleaning your child’s eye area

It is normal for some liquid to come from your child’s eye socket after surgery. The liquid includes normal tears and a thin, watery fluid from the surgery. It might look slightly bloody. Please keep the area around your child’s eyelids clean and dry because the tears can irritate the skin there. When you are at home, use a clean, warm washcloth to wipe the area. This can help your child feel better. You can use a small amount of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo if needed. Do not rub or scrub hard. Pat the area gently.

Please tell the Eye/ENT Clinic nurse practitioner right away if your child has:

  • A temperature higher than 101 degrees F,
  • More redness or swelling in the surgery area,
  • More pain in the surgery area, or
  • Pus coming from the eye.

Your child’s conformer (eye device)

The doctor will place a clear device called a conformer in the socket during surgery. It helps the eye socket keep its normal size and shape after the eye is removed. If this comes out of the socket, do not panic. Just follow the steps below to put it back.

  1. Clean the conformer with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (No Tears formula)®.
  2. Put eye ointment on the top part of the conformer.
  3. Lift the upper eyelid and put the conformer under it.
  4. Pull the lower eyelid out and the conformer will go into place.

Putting the conformer in the socket is hardest the first time. You will get more comfortable doing it after that.

Do not leave the conformer out for more than one (1) day. Please call the Surgery Clinic at 901-595-5372 if you cannot get it back in. Ask for the ophthalmology nurse practitioner.


The staff will give your child a prescription for new glasses. These glasses might be designed to correct your child’s vision, or they might not. But they have lenses made of a strong material called “polycarbonate.” Your child needs them to protect the remaining eye. Your child should wear the glasses all the time while awake, with no exceptions.

The glasses should not break with normal use. They can break with abuse, such as someone playing with them or trying to break them on purpose. 

Getting your child’s artificial eye

Six to 8 weeks after surgery, you and your child will go to Thomas Ocular Prosthetics to have your child’s artificial eye made. The St. Jude staff will make your child’s appointment for you. This visit lasts all day, from 8:30 a.m. to about 5 p.m. But you will have 2 breaks of about one (1) hour each.

Thomas Ocular Prosthetics is located at 1900 Kirby Parkway. Suite 102, Memphis, Tennessee, 38138. You can call them at 901-753-4724. If you need a ride, the Patient Services office can arrange it. Please call Patient Services at 901-595-4501. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), extension 4501.


If you have questions or problems, please call the Eye/ENT Clinic nurse practitioner at 901-595-5251 or 901-595-5372. Please call any time. If the office is closed, the voicemail message will tell you how to reach the nurse or one of the Eye/ENT Clinic doctors. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), extension 3255. 


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).