What is Oculoplastics?

Oculoplastic surgeons (also called ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeons, or oculo-facial surgeons) have an expert understanding of the function of the eyelids and structures around them. They are experts in the anatomy of these, and they are highly trained in correcting both functional and cosmetic problems in this area.

This specialist form of eye care deals with all of the structures around the eye, which includes the tear system (also known as the lacrimal system), the eyelids and the bone cavity around the eye (also known as the orbit).

The procedures used in oculoplastics range from simple processes such as correcting eyelid malpositions to more complex reconstructions involving the eyelids and the surrounding forehead and cheek areas.

Oculoplastics – Eyelid Ptosis (drooping upper eyelids)

Ptosis is the condition where the upper eyelid droops over the eye. This may only be to a minor degree, or it may be so pronounced as to cover the pupil of the eye a little, or to such an extent that it can limit or even completely block normal vision. This may also cause one’s brow to ache.

This condition can have a number of causes and therefore a number of remedies that the surgeon will assess on a case by case basis.

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Oculoplastics – Ectropion (outward turning) or Entropion (inward turning) Eyelids

Ectropion is a condition where the eyelid turns outwards. This leaves the inner surface of the eyelid exposed and therefore prone to irritation. This condition normally affects older adults, and it generally affects the lower eyelid alone.

Entropion is a condition where your eyelid turns inwards. This means that the eyelashes and skin rub against the surface of the eye which can be uncomfortable and can cause irritation. The eyelid may be turned in permanently or only when blinking hard or when  squeezing the eyelids shut.

These conditions commonly happen with ageing due to normal stretching of the tissues that support the lid. There may be other possible causes, though, so the oculoplastic surgeon will need to assess each case to recommend an appropriate way forward. Surgery is often required for ectropion and entropion, it can be done as a day case under local anaesthetic.

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Oculoplastics – Blepharoplasty (Cosmetic Surgery for Eyelids)

Blepharoplasty is a type of plastic surgery that can repair drooping eyelids. This may involve removing excess skin, muscle and fat from the upper or lower eyelids either for aesthetic reasons, or if the excess skin is having an effect on your peripheral vision.

Anybody who is considering having cosmetic eyelid surgery would be wise to seek the help of an oculoplastic surgeon. An oculoplastic surgeon can make a full assessment of not only the lids but also the surface health of the eyes, and the function of the eyelids, before advising the correct treatment.

Oculoplastics – Watery Eyes

Having constant watery eyes can be quite a distressing condition.

This can be caused by either an excessive amount of tears being produced, or by a problem with drainage of the tears.

An oculoplastic surgeon will assess the root cause of the watering and will devise an appropriate management plan to treat the problem. Often relatively simple treatments can have a very positive effect for those with a watery eye, however surgery may be helpful occasionally. At your consultation, your oculoplastic surgeon will be able to advise what type of surgery would be suitable.

Oculoplastics – What is Facial Palsy?

The term “facial palsy” generally refers to a weakness of the facial muscles which results from temporary or permanent damage to the facial nerve. This means that the facial muscles do not receive the necessary signals in order to function properly resulting in paralysis of the affected part of the face. This can affect movement of the eye(s) and/or the mouth, as well as other areas.

The help of an oculoplastic surgeon is often needed because the ability of the eyelids to close can be affected, which puts the eye at risk of exposure. The oculoplastic surgeon can make an assessment of the damage to the function of the eyelid and advise on appropriate management. This may mean simple measures like lubricant eyes drops, but surgery is also needed in some cases.

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Oculoplastics – Eyelid Tumours and Lumps

There are many types of lumps that can affect the eyelids. Many are benign but they can, in some cases, be cancerous.

If you have a lump that you are worried about on your eyelid, an oculoplastic surgeon can assess it for you, offer you a diagnosis and provide treatment for you if you need it. Removal of benign eyelid lumps is often a quick procedure that is carried out under local anaesthetic.

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