What is Oculoplastics?
Oculoplastics is the treatment and surgery of the eyelids and other tissues around the eyes. Problems with these structures can cause multiple symptoms, ranging from dryness and foreign body sensation to pain, tearing, and even loss of vision.
Accurate and timely diagnosis of these conditions is key in achieving therapeutic success. Initial treatment is generally conservative, which may be something as easy as using artificial tears. Advanced treatment may include the use of stronger medications or corrective surgery.
If eyelid surgery is needed, is it usually done as an outpatient procedure. This allows you to resume most activities the following day. Restrictions are minimal; we may ask you to not lift more than 10-15 lbs for 1-2 weeks following your surgery and to avoid swimming, hot tub, and saunas for 2-4 weeks. We often ask our patients on blood thinners to discontinue their use for 1 week prior to surgery, providing your primary care doctor feels it is safe to do so.
In most cases, insurance covers oculoplastic procedures, such as eyelid lifts. Your Oculoplastic Surgeon will discuss this and other eyelid surgery costs with you before scheduling your surgery.
There are many problems that frequently need surgical intervention. The following describes the more common of these.
Dermatochalasis refers to excess stretching of the skin of the eyelids. Generally this occurs with age, although it is more common in certain populations. If severe, the excess skin can decrease your upper field of view and even cause the lid to droop. Droopy Eyelid Surgery corrects this condition by removing the excess skin. The incision is placed in the natural lid crease and is largely hidden from view.
Ptosis is more than just excess stretching of the skin. In ptosis, a weak muscle in the upper eyelid causes the lid to droop. This may cause loss of the upper field of vision, and in some, the eyelid will even close with reading. This commonly occurs with age, however, some are born with this condition. Eyelid Surgery for ptosis involves removing the excess skin as described above. In addition to this, the weak muscle in the upper lid is shortened and/or reattached, to better raise the lid.
Ectropion is the turning out of the eyelid, most commonly the lower lid. Symptoms include irritation, light sensitivity, tearing, and redness. Corneal scarring and loss of vision may result if left untreated. There are several causes for ectropion – the most common are age-related laxity of the lower lids and scarring. In oculoplastic surgery ectropion repair, we raise and tighten the eyelid by shortening it and reattaching it where it belongs. This causes the lid to hug the eye and protect the eye from the elements.
Entropion is the turning in of the eye. This causes the eyelashes to rub against the eye causing pain, redness, light sensitivity, and tearing. Permanent scarring with associated vision loss may result. Laxity of the eyelid and scarring are the most common causes of this problem. In this stance, the eyelid surgery involves tightening the eyelid and reattaching the weakened muscle.
Most tumors or growth of the eyelids are benign. Most are age-related, and likely related to sun exposure as well. Cancerous growths, however, are often difficult to differentiate from benign growths. It is always a good idea to have these examined. It is often necessary to biopsy these growths, to make a definitive diagnosis. If a lesion is growing, looks suspicious, or is shown to be malignant following biopsy, it is necessary to remove through oculoplastic surgery.
Blepharospasm/ Hemifacial Spasm
Blepharospasm is uncontrollable blinking and closure of the eyes. The cause is not known. Hemifacial spasm is similar, except it affects the entire side of the face. It is thought that a nerve near the ear is being irritated, causing the muscles to contract. Both conditions can be controlled for months at a time with injections of BOTOX® under the skin, in the area of the over-acting muscles.
Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss eyelid surgery or Oculoplastic procedures and other concerns.
Lids & Oculoplastic FAQ’s
Everybody is different, but generally we have our patients apply ice for 48-72 hours after surgery. You may have swelling and bruising of both the upper and lower eyelids. This may take a good 4 to 6 weeks to completely resolve after your eyelid surgery.
You may resume use of blood thinners the day after your Oculoplastic surgery unless instructed otherwise by your Oculoplastic Surgeon.
Yes. Every time an incision is made, a scar is formed. However, most incisions are made along natural skin fold lines which makes them nearly invisible.
In most cases, yes. The majority of the conditions described above are medical problems not simply cosmetic surgery, and as such, your medical insurance will cover their treatment. This coverage is subject to the usual deductibles and copays required by your insurance plan. We make every attempt to see if your insurance plan covers your Oculoplastic procedure ahead of time. We will alert you if we anticipate any issues regarding your coverage.