You probably take your eyelids for granted like most people, but a number of eyelid issues can obstruct your vision and even cause pain. Aging can affect the eyelids, as can trauma. You can even be born with certain conditions. However, ophthalmologists can solve many of these problems with eyelid surgery.
Eyelid surgery is one of the top five cosmetic procedures each year. While the signs of aging can add years to your face, sophisticated cosmetic procedures can make you naturally look younger.
What are the different types of eyelid surgeries? How are cosmetic eyelid surgeries different from functional procedures to correct health problems? This blog has answers that will help you understand the options you have if you’re having trouble with your eyelids.
What Eyelid Conditions Require Surgery?
Eyelid surgery is helpful in treating all kinds of health-related issues affecting the eye:
- Ectropion occurs when the eyelid turns outward to expose the inner part of the eyelid
- Entropion occurs when the eyelid turns inward so that the lashes rub against your eyeball
- Facial palsies can keep the eyelid from shutting properly
- Lacrimal duct clogging means that the natural tears of the eye can’t drain away
- Ptosis is a condition where the upper lid of the eye droops down and impairs your vision
- Trichiasis happens when your eyelashes grow in the wrong direction and rub against the eye
- Chalazion or Hordeolum are inflamed or infected oil glands in your eyelid that appear as a red, swollen bump, and can be painful or have discharge. These are often called eyelid “styes.” These can be treated medically, or surgically if severe or chronic.
- Growths (moles, skin tags, warts, cysts) can grow around your eyelids and sometimes start to touch your eye, cause irritation or block your vision.
- Skin cancers can grow anywhere on your body, including around the eyes.
Your eyelids play an important role in protecting the health of your eyes. They cover and protect the very delicate cornea of the eye. They also help distribute tears to keep the eye moist. When the eyelid malfunctions, your eye can become irritated, dry and inflamed. This can impact your vision and also change how you look and feel.
What Are the Types of Eyelid Surgeries?
Sarah Kim, D.O., M.P.H., is an oculoplastic surgeon at Ocala Eye, specializing in eyelid repair and reconstruction. The eyelid surgeries she performs, also called blepharoplasties, are divided into two types: cosmetic and functional.
Cosmetic eyelid surgeries concentrate on rejuvenating your appearance by reducing lines, bags, and other signs of aging. These procedures are typically not covered by insurance because they are not correcting a physical health issue.
Functional eyelid surgeries are medically necessary to improve your health. For example, if your eyes aren’t draining properly, tear duct surgery could help them work as they are designed to.
In terms of the benefits, there is some overlap between cosmetic eyelid surgery and functional. For example, you may have a health condition that requires eye surgery. So, while the doctor fixes the underlying health condition, there may also be cosmetic improvements performed as a secondary benefit of the procedure.