We expect our eyelids to go through very little change throughout our lifetime. At most, we may understand when we notice that the upper or lower eyelids get puffy or saggy. This is a normal transition that occurs with age. However, most people do not anticipate the potential for eyelid damage, such as injury and scarring. We can’t anticipate such a thing! What is important is that, should an eyelid sustain an injury that results in scarring or retraction that interferes with blinking, the problem can be handled well. Eyelid surgeries are one of our specialties.
What Causes Eyelid Damage?
Eyelid damage may result from a traumatic injury like an auto accident or dog bite. Scarring and retraction could also be caused by medical conditions, eyelid or facial surgery, or skin cancer removal. Because the eyelid has unique anatomy, it can be challenging to repair damage. Dr. Fante and Dr. Goecks have years of additional training beyond medical school that enables them to address even complex cases of eyelid trauma, as well as revision after cosmetic or reconstructive eyelid surgery.
What Is Eyelid Scarring?
Scarring is the result of any kind of injury. Even surgical incisions are a type of injury to the skin. Scar tissue formation is usually mild but may, in some cases, diminish normal mobility or position. Scarring may inhibit a person from fully closing their eye or eyes. On the lower eyelid, scarring may reveal too much of the white of the eye. With too much exposure, the eye may develop dryness, excessive tearing, and persistent irritation. Eyelids that do not fully close also increase the risk of chronic infection.
What Is Eyelid Retraction?
Eyelid retraction is a condition in which the upper eyelids are abnormally high or the lower eyelids abnormally low. The eyelids, when opened, should rest just above or below the colored part of the eye. This condition may result from trauma and scarring, poor surgical healing, or thyroid eye disease.
Treating Eyelid Scarring or Retraction
It is necessary to treat conditions that affect the appearance or function of the eyelids. An oculofacial plastic surgeon has extensive training and familiarity with the anatomy of the eyes and eyelids to develop successful treatment plans based on each patient’s needs. Generally, upper eyelid correction focuses on adjusting the levator muscle that is responsible for lifting the eyelid. This adjustment can improve eyelid position and blinking function. Lower eyelid retraction is slightly more complicated depending on the severity of the problem. In this instance, a surgeon will perform canthoplasty to tighten the lower eyelid, if possible. If necessary, tissue grafting or a mid-face lift may be recommended.