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Eyelid Surgery Options

Complete eye health depends on the health of your eyelids, too.

 Healthy Lids for Healthy Eyes

Total eye health depends on the health of the eyelid, too. Eyelid position, excess eyelid skin, droopy eyelids, or eyelid-surgeryeyelids that turn inward or outward are common problems that can affect appearance, cause discomfort, or limit vision. Eyelid surgery can correct such conditions.

Ptosis: Upper eyelid drooping

Ptosis ("toe-sis") is apparent at birth (congenital) or develops with age (involutional).

Ptosis is a condition where the upper eyelid droops over the eye.

After surgery, the upper eyelid is restored to its normal position.

While congenital ptosis may not lead to poor vision, a child may be forced to manage it by tilting the head back in order to see. Children with congenital ptosis should be examined by an ophthalmologist to evaluate if there are associated eye problems.

To make it easier for children to see, and to improve appearance, surgery to correct congential ptosis may be recommended in the preschool years. The type of surgery depends on how much the eyelids droop.

Involutional ptosis, which develops with age, may worsen after other eye surgery or eyelid swelling and may limit peripheral vision and impact appearance. Surgery shortens the muscle that opens the lid, correcting the problem.

Excess eyelid skin

Eyelid skin, the thinnest of the body, stretches easily. Consequently, as we age, we may develop excess eyelid skin. Stretched skin in the upper eyelid may limit peripheral vision and produce a feeling of heaviness and a tired appearance. In the lower eyelid, "bags" may form.

Excess eyelid skin or fatty tissue may be removed by blepharoplasty, a surgical procedure that can improve peripheral vision and other symptoms while improving appearance at the same time.

Ectropion: Outward turning of the lower lid

The lower eyelid may stretch with age, allowing the eyelid to droop downward and turn outward, a problem which may also be caused by eyelid burns or skin disease. Ectropion can cause dryness of the eyes, excessive tearing, redness and sensitivity to light and wind. The goal of eyelid surgery in this case is to improve such symptoms by restoring the normal position of the eyelid.

Entropion: Inward turning of the lower eyelid.

Another condition that occurs with age is entropion, the inward turning of the lower eyelid, which may also be caused by inner lid scarring and Infection. With entropion, eyelashes and skin can rub against the eye, making it red, irritated and sensitive to light and wind.

Left untreated, entropion can cause an infection and ulcer to develop on the cornea. With surgery, the eyelid is turned outward toward its normal position, protecting the eye and improving such symptoms.

Plastic Surgery for Eyelids

Eyelid plastic surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. Before such surgery, your ophthalmologist will perform an eye examination and make recommendations. Insurance companies often require photographs and visual field testing before blepharoplasty and ptosis surgery.

If you are a candidate for eyelid surgery, inform your ophthalmologist if you are taking aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs, blood thinners, or have a bleeding problem.

This surgery is generally safe; however, as with any surgery, there are certain risks:

  • While your ophthalmic surgeon will attempt to make both lids look similar, differences in healing each eye may cause some unevenness in appearance.
  • A "black eye" following surgery is common but will quickly disappear.
  • As it may be difficult to close the eyes completely after surgery, the eyes may feel dry. As the surgery heals, such irritation generally disappears.
  • Serious complications are rare. The risk of losing vision is less than one in 500 surgeries, and infections and excessive scarring occur infrequently.
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