Lagophthalmos Treatment in Houston
If you have trouble blinking or closing your eyes, you may have a medical condition called lagophthalmos. If the problem only happens when you sleep, it’s called nocturnal lagophthalmos. The condition can affect one or both eyelids. It usually isn’t a dangerous condition, but it can lead to eye and eyelid problems such as increased tear production, dry eyes, redness, pain and irritation if left untreated.
In most instances of extreme lagophthalmos, oculoplastic surgery is the most effective treatment option. Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Aida Bounama and the Berkeley Eye Center of Houston provide patients with advanced cosmetic and reconstructive procedures to correct lagophthalmos and a wide range of other conditions affecting the eyelid, eyebrows and other structures surrounding the eye.
Causes of Lagophthalmos
Blinking is essential to maintaining the health of your eyes. Each time you blink, you cover your eye with a thin layer of fluid. This fluid keeps the eye moist and flushes out foreign bodies that can cause irritation. A condition such as lagophthalmos makes it difficult for the eye to remain moist.
Dryness, redness and irritation of the eyes are the most common symptoms of lagophthalmos. The body may try to compensate for the dryness by producing excessive tears. In extreme cases, lagophthalmos can lead to eye abrasion, infections, corneal drying and corneal ulceration.
Lagophthalmos can develop for a variety of reasons. Damage to the seventh cranial nerve, the nerve that controls the muscles in the eyelid, is one of the more common causes of lagophthalmos. The nerve can become damaged through injury, stroke, Bell’s palsy, tumors and certain autoimmune conditions. Scarring, floppy eye syndrome and protruding or sunken eyes can also result in lagophthalmos.
Lagophthalmos Treatment Options
Non-surgical treatments, such as artificial tears, alleviate the symptoms of lagophthalmos but don’t correct the condition itself.
There are a number of oculoplastic surgical procedures that are effective in treating lagophthalmos. This can include changing the position of the top or bottom eyelid, or implanting miniature gold weights into the lids. In milder cases, a surgical procedure called a tarsorrhaphy may be used, in which the eyelids are sown together while the patient recovers. More extensive procedures may be needed for lagophthalmos resulting from a damaged facial nerve.
After a thorough exam to determine the extent of the problem, Dr. Bounama will devise a treatment plan to correct the damage to restore the eyelid to its normal functionality. Most oculoplastic procedures are performed as out-patient surgery and require only mild anesthesia. Recovery time from the swelling and bruising is usually takes between one to two weeks.
Schedule an Appointment at with a Houston Oculoplastics Surgeon
Many times, factors such as genetics, injury, age and disease not only affect the eyes but the structures supporting the eye as well. Oculoplastics is the field of medicine dedicated to correcting problems that impair the appearance and function of the eyelids, eye socket, tear duct system and bones surrounding the eye through surgical and non-surgical cosmetic reconstructive procedures.
Berkeley Eye Center delivers outstanding surgical and non-surgical oculoplastic treatment options to patients in Houston and surrounding communities. Dr. Bounama’s advanced oculoplastic techniques and patient-focused treatments allow her to achieve spectacular results for her patients. If you’re experiencing difficulty seeing due to a condition of the eyelids or just want to take a few years off the look of your eyes, contact Berkeley Eye Center to schedule an appointment.