The quality of your vision can be affected by numerous factors, including the health of your eyelids. The wellness of your eyelids can be affected by excessive eyelid skin, droopy eyelids or eyelids that turn inward or outward. These problems can limit your vision, cause your eyes discomfort, and affect your appearance. Fortunately, these conditions are often easily treatable with surgery. Additionally, some clients may desire to alter aspects of their eyelids’ appearance with eyelid plastic surgery, an elective procedure typically performed on an outpatient basis.
Ptosis: Upper Eyelid Drooping
Affecting both children and adults, ptosis occurs when your upper eyelid hangs over your eye, potentially resulting in obscured vision for those with the condition. Ptosis (pronounced toe-sis) can be present at birth (congenital ptosis) or develop with age (involutional ptosis).
A child with congenital ptosis may tilt his or her head backward in order to see, so the condition does not always lead to poor vision. However, children with ptosis should be examined by an ophthalmologist (eye MD) because they may have other associated eye problems. In order to improve appearance and vision, ptosis surgery among preschoolers is commonly performed, with the surgery type varying with the level of eyelid drooping.
Involutional ptosis develops with aging and may worsen after other types of eye surgery or eyelid swelling. Ptosis may limit side or central vision and may also create an uneven appearance if it occurs in just one eye. The muscle that opens the eyelid can be shortened with surgery, which will often lead to better vision and improved appearance.
Excess Eyelid Skin
As the thinnest skin of the body, eyelid skin tends to stretch over time, causing many people develop excess skin in this area. This stretched skin may limit your side vision in the upper eyelid area or cause “bags” to form in your lower eyelids.
The excess skin can be removed surgically by a procedure called blepharoplasty, which in turn will generally address these vision and appearance issues in the upper and lower eyelids. If excess fatty tissue is present, it may also be removed at the same time.
Ectropion: Outward Turning of the Lower Eyelid
Age-related stretching of the lower eyelid, eyelid burns, or skin disease may cause the eyelid to droop downward and turn outward, a condition known as ectropion. Patients with ectropion can experience dry eyes, excessive tearing, redness, and light and wind sensitivity. Through surgery, the normal position of the eyelid and these symptoms can be addressed.
Entropion: Inward Turning of the Lower Eyelid
Entropion is a condition that occurs most commonly with aging, infection, and scarring inside the eyelid. When the eyelid turns inward, the eyelashes and skin run against the eye, making it red, irritated, watery, and sensitive to light and wind.
If entropion is not treated, the clear surface of the eye, called the cornea, may develop an infection. With surgery, the eyelid can be turned outward to its normal position, protecting the eye and improving these symptoms.
Eyelid Plastic Surgery
Eyelid plastic surgery is an outpatient procedure that is administered using local anesthesia. The pre-surgery process includes your ophthalmologist performing an eye examination and making recommendations and any insurance-mandated photographs and side-vision testing being completed. Prior to your surgery, inform your ophthalmologist if you are taking aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs or blood thinners or if you have a bleeding problem.
This type of surgery is generally safe; however, as with any surgery, there are some risks:
- Your surgeon will attempt to make both eyes look similar, but differences in healing between the eyes may cause some unevenness in appearance following surgery.
- A post-surgery “black eye” is common but will resolve quickly.
- The eye may feel dry after surgery because it may be more difficult to close your eyes completely. This irritation can be treated and generally disappears as the eyelids heal.
- Serious complications are rare. The risk of losing vision is estimated to be less than one in 5,000 surgeries, and infections and excessive scarring occur infrequently.
Eyelid plastic surgery procedures can be done safely in an outpatient setting by
your ophthalmologist and can help you experience improved vision, comfort and appearance.
Excessive eyelid skin, droop eyelids, or inward- or outward-turning eyelids can
impair your vision and affect your appearance. Additionally, eyelid plastic surgery can help patients address functional- or image-based concerns. To find out more about our eyelid surgery service offerings, please click here.