Drooping, uneven, or “disappearing” eyelids aren’t just a cosmetic concern. They may also be uncomfortable and a serious threat to your vision. If your eyelids are rolling outward (ectropion) or inward (entropion), you probably need oculoplastic repair.
Ectropion usually affects the lower eyelid. An ectropic eyelid may appear saggy and look like it’s curling away from the face. You may also be able to see the inner skin, which is a slightly different color (more pink or red) than the outer skin. Symptoms may include excessive tearing or dryness; burning, redness and irritation; and sensitivity to light.
Entropion is when your eyelid curls inward, toward your eyes, so that your skin and eyelashes are rubbing against (and irritating!) the surface of your eye. This condition may only occur when you blink, squint, or shut your eyes, or it may be constant. It more commonly affects lower eyelids, but it may also affect your upper eyelid. If untreated, it can lead to cornea damage, eye infections, and vision loss.
Symptoms of entropion include redness and pain; irritation and feeling like there’s grit in your eye; watery or mucus discharge; and sensitivity to light and wind.
Outpatient oculoplastics surgery can repair both ectropion and entropion. These conditions usually affect aging adults, but they may affect anyone. Your risk of these conditions increases if you’ve had treatment for cancer around your eye area or other facial trauma.
The area around your eye and eyelid will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Your surgeon will make one or two tiny incisions and remove a small part of your eyelid, before stitching the lid back together, so that the tendons and muscles are tight. This new tension will keep your eyelid in its proper place.
Oculoplastics surgery takes under an hour. Afterwards, you may have blurry vision for a day or two and bruising and swelling around your eye for up to two weeks. Your eye area will feel tight at first, but everything will look and feel much better as the swelling subsides. It may take a few months for your eyelid to fully relax into its permanent position.
All surgeries carry risks for medical complications, which your surgeon will discuss with you. Let your surgeon know if you take aspirin or other blood thinners on a regular basis, since you may need to cut back on your dosage to lessen bruising.
Generally, ectropion and entropion repair are highly successful. Your eyelid will appear “normal” again, which means you’ll look more alert and have a more symmetrical face. Because your eyelashes will no longer fold in on your eye and your eyelids will no longer get in the way of your tear draining process, your eye will both appear and be clearer and less irritated. In other words, the final result is a healthier, more attractive eye!
A 3D Vectra Imaging consultation allows you to preview a photo realistic new you. Available at The Mid Florida Institute of Plastic Surgery in Altamonte Springs. Consultation fee applies.
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