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Eyelid surgery (including blepharoplasty)

Eyelid surgery includes a range of procedures to treat a number of conditions of the eyelid. Types of surgery carried out include:

  • blepharoplasty to remove excess skin
  • entropion or ectropion repair to correct the eyelid turning in or out
  • correction of ptosis, where eyelids droop
  • reconstruction of the eyelid after trauma, cancer treatment or complicated surgery
  • surgery for watery eyes
  • excision of eyelid lesions.

Description of treatment

Blepharoplasty – excess skin is cut away and the skin wounds are then closed with stitches. The procedure may also involve strengthening the natural eyelid crease in the eye.

Entropion or ectropion repair – the eyelid is tightened, and lower eyelid muscles are repositioned.

Ptosis – the muscle in the upper eyelid is tightened to improve eyelid opening. This may be combined with an upper eyelid blepharoplasty.

Reconstruction of eyelid – this is required after surgery to remove eyelid cancers and can involve the use of flaps or grafts.

Surgery for watery eyes – this includes procedures to tighten the eyelid, open the entrance to the tear duct or form a new tear duct and can involve temporary placement of a plastic stent in the tear passageway.

Lesion excision – benign eyelid lesions such as cysts or skin tags are often removed in the treatment room. Suspicious lesions can be biopsied and more definitive surgery planned once the results are back from examination.

How does it work?

Depending on the type of surgery, benefits may include:

  • improved field of view and brightness of vision
  • reduced discomfort to the eye
  • reduced watering from the eyes
  • reduced brow ache or headache if caused by eyelid droop
  • confirmed diagnosis of a suspicious lesion before further treatment
  • restoring eyelid function after trauma or surgery to remove eyelid cancer
  • improved eye symmetry.

What can the patient expect?

Surgery is usually carried out as a day case procedure, usually under local anaesthetic. This means that you will be awake throughout the surgery but will not feel anything. Occasionally, some eyelid procedures such as tear duct surgery are performed under general anaesthetic or sedation.

Risks of eyelid surgery

Eyelid surgery is generally safe and successful but, as with any surgery, there are some risks associated with it. They include:

  • bruising and swelling of the eyelid
  • infection, bleeding and scarring
  • under or over correction – this may need re-evaluation and further surgery
  • ocular discomfort
  • watery or dry eyes
  • worsening of vision – this is extremely rare, and you should report any loss of vision to the hospital immediately.

Depending on the type of surgery, there may be other risks you need to be aware of. Your consultant will discuss these with you in detail.

Consultants linked to this treatment

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