Fix Turned Out Eyelids
Your eyelids play a vital role in your overall eye health. Every time you blink, they act like a windshield wiper, keeping dirt and dust out of your eye. They spread moisture over your eye keeping the eye clean and healthy.
But, for some people, their eyelids aren’t doing their job properly. They roll out, and sag away from the eye. This can lead to eye irritation, redness and pain. If left untreated, you can start to lose vision in the affected eye.
The good news is that ectropion can be repaired with surgery. And once the surgery is done, you’re left with healthy beautiful eyelids that will do their job for years to come.
If you’re suffering with a lower eyelid that is sagging away from your eye, you may want to consider a consultation with Dr. Cohen. Dr. Cohen can assess your situation, and see if you are a candidate for ectropion correction.
Ectropion is the medical term for a turned out lower eyelid. In turn, this causes the eyelid to sag away from the eye.
Your eyelids will normally shut tightly with each blink, which protects them from damage and tear evaporation. But when one of your eyelids turns outward, the two eyelids cannot meet properly, which causes problems such as:
- Tears can’t spread out evenly over the eye
- Dirt and dust are not wiped away from the eye’s surface
- The eye is constantly exposed to the environment, so tears evaporate too quickly.
This ultimately leads to more symptoms, such as chronic tearing, eye irritation, redness, pain and even a breakdown of the cornea – a protective layer just over your pupil.
There are many causes of ectropion, including muscle weakness, facial paralysis, tumors, trauma, and aging. But the root cause is the same – the tissue associated with keeping the eyelids turned in changes.
Ectropion can be corrected surgically. The exact surgical technique used will depend on your unique situation. Dr. Cohen will need to assess your eye, and decide on the best course of action. In practice, Dr. Cohen normally chooses one of the two following techniques.
- A small part of the eyelid is cut and sutured back together, while also tightening the muscles and tendons so that the lid rests properly on the eye. This is ideal if your ectropion is caused by muscle weakness or tissue changes from aging.
- A skin graft is taken from the upper eyelid or behind the ear to help support the lower lid. This technique is used more commonly when your ectropion is caused by an accident, trauma or previous surgery.
Dr. Cohen may employ other techniques if they are a better fit for your unique situation. The best way to understand which technique is best for you is to have a consultation directly with Dr. Cohen.
Your eyelids will need some time to heal, but once healed, they will be protected from scarring, infection and vision loss.
Depending on your situation, you may be prescribed an antibiotic or steroid ointment for your eyes.
Most patients report very little post-op discomfort after an ectropion correction. At first your eyelid may feel tight, but as you heal, it will get more comfortable, and eventually feel completely natural.
Ectropion may be covered by your health insurance if you have a severe case. If your eyelid gaps away from the eye and puts you at risk for vision loss or pain you are more likely to be covered by your provider.
Dr. Cohen will be able to perform tests during your consultation to assess your condition and to see if insurance will cover the surgery.