This information can help you decide what to do if you need eyelid repair. Talk to your eye care professional so you can make the choice that is right for you.
For total eye health, your eyelids need to be as healthy as your eyes. Common eyelid problems include excess eyelid skin, droopy eyelids, or eyelids that turn inward or outward. These problems not only affect eye health, but also your appearance. They can cause eye discomfort, and even limit vision. Fortunately, these conditions are correctable by surgery.
Types of eyelid problems include (but are not limited to): Ptosis, Excess Eyelid Skin, Ectropion and Entropion.
Ptosis: Upper Eyelid Drooping
Ptosis (“toe-sis”) is a condition where the upper eyelid droops over the eye. Congenital Ptosis is present at birth, and comprises a group of diseases in which the Ptosis is due to a developmental dystrophy of the levator muscle. Acquired Ptosis develops with age in adults. The Ptosis may be mild in which the lid partially covers the pupil, or severe in which the lid completely covers the pupil. Ptosis can interfere with reading, and can lead to head and brow ache from straining to elevate your eyelids. Surgery to correct ptosis is commonly recommended in the preschool years to make it easier for children to see and to improve appearance. The type of surgery varies, depending upon how much the eyelids droop. Involutional ptosis develops with aging. It may worsen after other types of eye surgery or eyelid swelling. Ptosis may limit the field of peripheral vision and produce an uneven appearance. Surgery corrects the problem by shortening the muscle that opens the eyelid.
- Poor levator function
- Higher position of the ptotic eyelid on downgaze
- Children with significant Ptosis may need to tilt their head back into a chin-up position, lift their eyelid with a finger, or raise their eyebrows in an effort to see from under their drooping eyelid(s).
- While the cause of congenital Ptosis is often unclear, the most common reason is improper development of the levator muscle. The levator muscle is the major muscle responsible for elevating the upper eyelid.
- Children with congenital ptosis may also develop amblyopia (“lazy eye”), strabismus (eyes that are not aligned and appear to wander), refractive errors, astigmatism or blurred vision.
- Cosmetically, ptosis may result in an undesirable facial appearance.
Excess Eyelid Skin
Over time, many people develop excess eyelid skin. Eyelid skin is the thinnest skin of the body, so it tends to stretch. In the upper eyelid, this stretched skin may limit the field of vision, and may produce a feeling of heaviness and a tired appearance. In the lower eyelid, “bags” form. The excess skin in the upper eyelids can be removed surgically to improve the field of vision and other symptoms. Removal of the excess skin in either the upper or lower eyelids may improve appearance. If excess fatty tissue is present, it may be removed at the same time.
Ectropion: Outward Turning of the Lower Eyelid
Stretching of the lower eyelid with age allows the eyelid to droop downward and turn outward. Eyelid burns or skin disease may also cause this problem. Ectropion can cause dryness of the eyes, excessive tearing, redness, and sensitivity to light and wind. Surgery may restore the normal position of the eyelid, improving these symptoms.
Entropion: Inward Turning of the Lower Eyelid
Entropion also occurs most commonly as a result of aging. Infection and scarring inside the eyelid are other causes of entropion. When the eyelid turns inward, the eyelashes and skin rub against the eye, making it red, irritated and sensitive to light and wind. If entropion is not treated, an ulcer on the surface of the eye may develop. With surgery, the eyelid can be turned outward to its normal position, protecting the eye and improving these symptoms.
Eyelid Plastic Surgery
A Potential Correction for Ptosis, Excess Eyelid Skin, Ectropion and Entropion
Eyelid plastic surgery is almost always performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. Before surgery, your ophthalmologist will perform an eye examination and make recommendations.
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