The eyelids are thin folds of skin that cover and protect the eyes. They also help to keep the eyes moist. When functioning properly the orbicularis oculi muscles close the eyes. This can happen both voluntarily and involuntarily. When these muscles cease to work a condition called eyelid paralysis is the result. Eyelid paralysis refers to the loss of the blink reflex and an inability to close the eye, which leaves the eye vulnerable to a variety of potential dangers.
If you are suffering from eyelid paralysis, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Guy Massry, an ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon with expertise in eyelids.
Symptoms of Eyelid Paralysis
The primary symptom of eyelid paralysis is the inability to close the eyes completely. Patients may also experience drooping of the lower eyelids, dryness, and excessive tearing.
Causes of Eyelid Paralysis
Eyelid paralysis can come from a variety of sources. The most common of these include:
- Peripheral artery disease
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Peripheral nerve compression
- Cranial nerve paralysis
- Eyelid injury
- Impingement syndrome
- Pituitary tumor
- Cerebrovascular accident
Treatment for Eyelid Paralysis
There are a number of options for patients with eyelid paralysis. First, it is important that patients take measures to protect the cornea and minimize the risk of harm to the eye. These measures may include lubricating eye drops, artificial tears, eyeglasses, and antibiotic eye drops. In addition to these steps, a variety of surgical options offer more long-term results.
One of the primary results of eyelid paralysis is the inability to close the eyelid. Gold weights are one way to restore proper eyelid function. In this procedure, gold weights are surgically implanted in the upper eyelid. These gold weights leverage gravity to assist the eyelid in closing. The size and weight of the gold weights will vary with each patient.
Another option to assist the eyes in closing is the use of platinum chains. Similar to gold weights, platinum chains work by weighing the eyelid down and helping it close. The difference with platinum chains is that because they are a higher density metal, they can be smaller than gold. They are also linked together to form a small chain, which offers more flexibility than with a solid gold weight.
Tarsorrhaphy refers to a treatment that involves partially sewing the eyelids together to narrow the opening of the eye. This is done using stitches at the corners of the eyelids. Tarsorrhaphy is used to protect the eye from foreign objects and prevent excessive drying due to eyelid paralysis.
Finally, eyelid springs can be used to restore eyelid function using small metal springs. These springs allow patients to blink normally without conscious effort. Many find that eyelid springs provide a more natural eyelid movement than gold weights, platinum chains, or tarsorrhaphy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the dangers associated with eyelid paralysis?
A: Failure to address eyelid paralysis can affect the eyes in a variety of ways and lead to long-term damage such as corneal ulceration, keratitis, or irreversible vision loss.
Q: What is the difference between eyelid springs and eyelid weights?
A: Eyelid weights are simply weights that use gravity to help the eye close again. Eyelid springs, however, engage the nerves of the face to help return unconscious eyelid function.
Q: How long will it take to recover from my eyelid procedure?
A: Recovery time for eyelid paralysis depends both on the individual patient and the surgery. At La Peer, these surgeries are done on an outpatient basis, meaning you’ll most likely go home the same day. Dr. Massry will discuss the specifics of your surgery when you come in for a consultation.
Contact a Los Angeles Eyelid Paralysis Expert
Are your eyes in danger due to an inability to fully close? Don’t take chances or risk your sight. Contact Dr. Massry today at (888) 384-0981 to see what an ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon can do for you. And when you visit Dr. Massry you’ll also visit the newly renovated, state-of-the-art Eyelid Reconstruction Center of Excellence. Schedule your appointment today.
Next, read about revisional eyelid surgery.