Are you experiencing saggy or drooping eyelids? If so you might want to consider eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). Our Long Island eyelid surgery experts are here to help you understand the benefits of blepharoplasty and to help you determine if your insurance will cover this procedure. Things such as age, gravity, genetics, overexposure to the sun, stress, and smoking cigarettes, can affect the appearance of our eyes. Start relieving your sagging eyelid symptoms today by calling us for a consultation.
What can I do about my droopy eyelids?
Ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive eye surgery (oculoplastic surgery) covers a wide range of problems around the eyes and face. It includes disorders of the eyelids, the tear system of the eyes, and the eyeball and eye socket. Also included are procedures to rejuvenate or bring back a more youthful appearance to the eyes and face.
If you are suffering from drooping eyelids, you might be a candidate for oculoplastic surgery treatment. Find out more information below and see if it might be the right fit for you.
The eyelids are specialized structures that provide protection to the eyeballs in two ways. First, the eyelids provide a cover for the eyeball. Second, the eyelids help keep the eyeballs moist by rebuilding the eyeball’s tear film with each blink. Many eyelid problems may be corrected with oculoplastic eye surgery. Droopy eyelids, or Ptosis, may occur in small children or adults. Retracted eyelids, causing a staring or wide-eyed appearance may occur in thyroid related diseases. Baggy eyelids usually occur in adults. Many people may be bothered by eyelids that turn in towards the eye, or away from the eye. Skin cancers occurring on or around the eyelids may require oculoplastic surgery to remove the cancers and repair the lids. For complete eye health, your eyelids need to be as healthy as your eyes. Eyelid position is also important to your appearance. Excess eyelid skin, droopy eyelids or eyelids that turn inward or outward are common problems. They can cause eye discomfort, and even limit vision. Fortunately, such eyelid conditions are correctable by surgery.
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 peripheral field of vision, and may produce a feeling of heaviness and tired appearance. In the lower eyelid, “bags” form.
The excess skin in the upper eyelids can be removed surgically by a procedure called a blepharoplasty to improve the peripheral 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 ulcerous infection may develop on the clear surface of the eye called the cornea. With surgery, the eyelid can be turned outward to its normal position, protecting the eye and improving these symptoms.
The Eye’s Tear System
The tear film that constantly covers the eye is actually a complex structure composed of three different layers. A deficiency of any one of the three layers may cause a disruption of the tear film resulting in uncomfortable eyes.
The main component of the tear film is an aqueous, or water, layer. This layer is produced by several sites around the eye, including the main tear gland and the accessory tear glands. The tears are distributed over the eyes by blinking. The blink also helps drain the old tears into the tear drainage apparatus. Tears are first pumped by the blink into little drain holes in the inside corner of each of the four eyelids. The tears then travel down little drain pipes to the tear sac, and then drain into the tear ducts. The tears then empty into the nose. That is why one gets a runny nose when crying.
Watering or tearing eyes may be due to a wide variety of causes. Tearing may occur in children or adults and may be due to abnormalities in the tear drainage apparatus, irritations of the eye, or an overproduction of tears. Some causes of tearing can be treated with surgery while others may be treated with less invasive means.
Blepharitis Treatment – BlephEx®
BlephEx BlephEx® is a painless procedure performed by our professionals here at Stahl Eyecare Experts. This procedure is revolutionary in how it can precisely exfoliate, remove and clear along the eyelid and eyelash line. Using the patented BlephEx® handpiece and micro-sponges, your eyecare professional can relieve you of chronic symptoms of Blepharitis.
The patented micro-sponge is disposable and a clean one is used for each individual eyelid so bacteria is not spread between the lids. Then the eyelids are thoroughly rinsed.
In total the procedure lasts about 6 -8 minutes and is well tolerated. The most commonly reported sensation from patients is a tickling sensation. A numbing drop is usually placed in each eye prior to treatment, this increases comfort for the patient.
After the procedure, patients are instructed on how to maintain their clean eyelids with regular nightly lid hygiene. Since home treatments are only so effective, the procedure is typically repeated at 4-6 month intervals.
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. Adult-onset ptosis is a gradual drooping of the upper eyelid or eyelids that occurs as we age. This can be caused by aging and can also be seen in some patients after eye surgery, such as cataract operations. The upper eyelid acts like a curtain which obscures the upper part of your vision.
Many patients with ptosis will report that when they lift or elevate their eyelid they can see better. In our office we perform visual field tests which document the amount of vison that your eyelid is blocking and we take digital photographs to highlight the ptosis for insurance coverage. Because this is a functional procedure, most insurance companies and Medicare, will cover the cost of these procedures. After eye surgery, the upper eyelid is restored to its normal position.
A child with congenital ptosis may tilt his or her head backward in order to see, so it does not always lead to poor vision. However, children with ptosis should be examined by an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) because they can have other associated eye problems.
Eyelid Plastic Surgery
Eye surgery is almost always performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. Before surgery, your ophthalmologist will perform an eye examination and make recommendations. Photographs and visual field testing are often required by insurance companies before blepharoplasty and ptosis surgery. If you are planning to have eye surgery, be sure to tell 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:
- The ophthalmic surgeon will attempt to make both eyes look similar, but differences in healing between the eyes may cause some unevenness in the appearance following surgery.
- A “black eye” is common, but will go away quickly.
- The eye may feel dry after surgery, because it may be more difficult to close your eyes completely. This irritation generally disappears as the surgery heals.
Eye surgery can be done safely in an outpatient setting by your ophthalmologist. The improvement in vision, comfort and appearance can be very gratifying. Oculoplastic surgery also addresses the tissues and bones around the eyeball (the eye socket). The eye socket is designed to hold and protect the eyeball. The bones of the eye socket are strong, but may be fractured by a wide range of injuries. A common fracture occurs when the eye is struck with a blunt object such as a baseball or elbow. The floor or inside wall of the eye socket may be fractured outward, causing a “blowout” fracture, which may entrap tissue causing movement problems with the eyes. Such fractures may also cause a sunken appearance to the eyeball. These fractures may be repaired with specially designed equipment.
People who have lost their eye may have a new type of implant placed into the socket to give a more natural motion to their glass eye.