depending on the type of incision, she may be feeling the healing edge of the incision (wound). This is normal even in perfect surgery and can take a few weeks to go away. You did say she had surgery 3 months ago, and I suspect she now is feeling symptoms of dry eye or perhaps a low grade lid infection we call blepharitis. This is a common cause of morning irritation because it is thought that the debris on the lashes is rubbed into the surface of the eye during sleep (pillow may play a role). As a result, eyes are irritated upon awakening. In contrast, people with dry eyes feel great in the morning and bad at the end of the day.
Blepharitis is an infection of the lids and lashes. Common findings in someone with blepharitis can range from subtle collections of yellow colored debris or flakes on the lashes to not so subtle crusting, clumping on lashes, red eyelid borders with thickening of the lids and oil gland orifices.
The treatment consists of 3 things and must be done consistently for effective control and cure.
First, you take a warm wash cloth or warm compress and lay it across your lids for 5 minutes (heat must be applied for 5 mins). This helps the oil glands get moving again and helps losen up the debris on the lashes.
Next you take some baby shampoo and mix it with water (50/50) and use a wash cloth to rub across and cleanse the skin and lashes. This helps remove the debris.
Last, you apply antibiotic ointment, like erythromycin ophthalmic ointment to the base of the lashes.
This regimen helps get rid of or control the infection in about 2 weeks. She may try this without the antibiotic ointment first, but may need to talk to her doctor for a prescription for the erythromycin ophthalmic ointment if your symptoms do not resolve fully.
I hope this helps, this condition is a nuisance for many people and until the diagnosis is made, it can lead to lots of irritation and discomfort.
I wish your mom well, Dr. Stevens