When you think of eyelid surgery, you might think of the cosmetic procedures used to correct eyelids that are droopy, saggy, or wrinkled. More than 200,000 people have eyelid surgery each year in the United States to help their eyes look younger.
But eyelid surgery is used to correct other problems, too, including problems that can affect your vision and eye health.
As a top-ranked ophthalmic plastic surgeon with practices on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and in New Rochelle and Great Neck, New York, Rand Rodgers, MD, offers advanced surgical treatments for eyelid problems to improve eyelid health, function, and aesthetics.
Here are three noncosmetic eyelid problems that can be corrected with surgery.
Ectropion and entropion
Your eyelashes perform an important function, helping to keep dust and other fine particles out of your eye. Normally, lashes grow in relatively straight lines along the rims of your upper and lower lids. But sometimes, your eyelid turns too far in or out, creating problems that can affect your eye health.
These problems are called ectropion and entropion. Ectropion is when the edge or rim of your lid turns farther outward than normal. Entropion is when the lid turns or “rolls” inward, toward the surface of your eye. With either condition, you may have trouble closing your eyelids completely.
Both conditions can cause symptoms like eye discomfort, excessive tearing, and sensitivity to light, but entropion has another potential complication. Because the lid turns inward, your eyelashes tend to rub against the surface of your eye. Over time, that can lead to sores or ulcers, along with serious eye infections.
Initially, Dr. Rodgers may prescribe special, soothing eye drops to lubricate the eye and prevent irritation. Some patients with entropion may benefit from soft, protective contact lenses.
Often, though, eyelid surgery is the best solution to correct the lid position so it functions normally and doesn’t harm your eye.
Severe eyelid drooping (ptosis)
Minor lid drooping is a relatively common consequence of aging. But sometimes, lid drooping is so severe, it interferes with your vision. This is a condition called ptosis, and in most cases, the best and only way to correct it is with surgery.
Injuries, neurological conditions, prior eyelid surgery, and other causes of muscle damage can all cause ptosis. Severe lid drooping can also be present at birth (congenital ptosis).
Depending on the severity of the condition, the upper lid can droop so far that it covers a large portion of the eye, making it difficult or impossible to see.
Ptosis surgery uses special techniques to elevate and tighten the muscles that control the eyelids so they function the way they’re supposed to. The surgery can be performed right in the office using a local anesthetic.
Skin cancer tends to be more common on areas of the skin that get the most sun exposure. Not surprisingly, the eyelids are a relatively common place for skin cancer to grow.
Most eyelid cancers are either basal cell carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas, both of which can be successfully treated with surgery. Other cancers can also occur, including melanoma and cancers that affect the oil-producing glands of the lids.
Eyelid cancer surgery uses special techniques to remove all the cancerous cells while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. In addition to surgery, Dr. Rodgers might recommend chemotherapy, cryotherapy, or other approaches, depending on your needs.
Once the eyelid cancer is completely gone, Dr. Rodgers determines if your lid needs to be reconstructed. Eyelid reconstruction surgery can restore the normal lid function, along with the aesthetics of the eyelid.
Don’t ignore eyelid problems
Any unusual symptom involving your eyelids or your eyes requires prompt medical attention. Left untreated, even a seemingly minor issue can wind up causing devastating problems for your eye health and your vision.
To find out what’s causing your eyelid symptoms (and how to relieve them), call the office nearest you today.