Eyelid conditions

The primary function of the eyelids is to protect the eye and vision. Eyelid problems are relatively common and can usually be corrected surgically under local anaesthetic.

At Optegra, we offer a range of specialist eyelid treatments for both medical and cosmetic reasons.

Eyelid conditions that we treat

We also offer cosmetic eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty. Find out more

Ectropion (outward turning eyelids)

Ectropion describes the “rolling out” of the lower eyelid, from its normal position in contact with the eye.

Ectropion is usually a result of age-related stretching of the lower eyelid, but can also follow a facial nerve palsy or stroke, or result from excessive tightening of the lower lid skin following eczema or a facial trauma. It typically results in a tear overflow and watering due to disturbance of normal tear drainage. This may result in inflammation and soreness of the lower lid and a tightening of the lower lid skin which can further increase the degree of ectropion.

Ectropion can usually be corrected by tightening of the lower lid; insertion of a skin graft may be required in cases of skin ‘shortage’ of the lower lid.

Entropion (inward turning eyelids)

Entropion describes the “rolling in” of the lower eyelid (and occasionally upper eyelid), causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea, that usually results in a feeling of irritation or ‘foreign-body sensation’, and occasionally results in a corneal abrasion and a red painful eye.

Entropion usually occurs as a result of age-related stretching and subsequent instability of the eyelid, and can be readily corrected surgically.

Eyelid lumps, bumps and benign cysts

The eyelids, a specialised area of skin, can develop skin tags, moles, cysts and other benign lesions as elsewhere on the body. Styes and meibomian cysts (chalazion) are common inflammations of the sebaceous glands of the eyelids, the majority of which will resolve spontaneously in time. Cysts that are particularly symptomatic or which do not resolve sufficiently quickly can be easily incised and drained by an oculoplastic surgeon.

Eyelid tumours

The most common type of skin cancer of the eyelids (and elsewhere) is a basal cell carcinoma (BCC or “rodent ulcer”). This usually grows very slowly, over months and years, often without symptoms, and may be mistaken for a simple cyst or mole. This type of tumour does not spread elsewhere, but can gradually enlarge to distort and destroy the normal eyelid structure, affecting its protective function. Development of BCCs and other eyelid skin cancers is associated with a history of long-term exposure to sunlight and a pale skin type. Excision of an eyelid tumour, and any necessary eyelid reconstruction, may result in disturbance to eyelid structure and function. It is therefore ideally undertaken by a specialist oculoplastic surgeon who has the training and expertise in both ophthalmology and eyelid plastic surgery.

Ptosis (drooping eyelid)

The upper eyelid can gradually drop with age and gravity, eventually obscuring vision, in one or both upper lids. This may require the patient to continually raise their eyebrows or lift their chin in order to see clearly, which may result in headache and neck pain.

Eyelid ptosis is usually due to age-related stretching of the tendon of the muscle that elevates the upper eyelid, and can be corrected by surgical tightening of the muscle and tendon.

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