Your eyelids play a vital role in your overall eye health. Every time you blink, your eyelids act like windshield wipers, keeping dirt and dust out of your eye. They also spread moisture over your eye, keeping the eye clean and healthy.
Some people’s eyelids aren’t doing their job properly. They roll out and sag away from the eye, which is known as ectropion. This can lead to eye irritation, redness, and pain because the inner part of the eyelid is left exposed. If left untreated, this can even cause an individual to lose their 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 correctly for years to come.
If you’re suffering from a lower eyelid that is sagging away from your eye, we encourage you to consider a consultation with Dr. Cohen. He can assess your situation and determine if you are a candidate for ectropion correction.
Ectropion is the medical term for a turned-out lower eyelid. It causes the eyelid to sag away from the eye. If they function correctly, your eyelids should 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 unable to spread out evenly over the eye
Dirt and dust not wiped away from the eye’s surface
Eye being constantly exposed to the environment, meaning 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, which is a protective layer 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 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.
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 from 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 there are better fitting ones 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.
Typically, patients will experience some swelling or bruising for about 1-3 weeks after surgery, but will most likely be able to go in public and back to work within two weeks. The eye continues to get better and reaches its full potential within 3 months.
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.
If you think you may be suffering from ectropion or another eye-related issue, don’t wait to contact Dr. Cohen. A consultation will allow you to understand all of your options and give you peace of mind that you’re in the right hands. For eyelid surgery in Lakeview, give us a call.
If you are interested in learning more about cheek implants, contact Dr. Cohen today to schedule a consultation. He will listen to your goals and concerns and help you decide if this procedure is right for you. Call (847) 834-0390 to get started!