Age management of eyelids

Droopy upper eyelids may block your vision when you look upward or even straight ahead.

Droopy eyelids

With age, the upper eyelids have the tendency to droop and obstruct one’s vision. The eyes will then "look older" as these aging processes leave the eyes appearing tired, wrinkled or puffy. To compensate for the drooping of these eyelids, patients either wrinkle their forehead and use the forehead muscles to lift the eyebrow to help raise the upper eyelids or put their chin up with the nose up in the air to see better. This, in turn, may cause forehead tension headaches and neckache.

 

There are many causes of droopy lid, some of them include:

  • Excess skin
  • Stretching of the tissue that lifts the lid
  • A problem with the nerve that innervates the muscle that lifts the eyelid
  • A problem with the muscle that opens the eye

Patients with droopy eyelids may have trouble reading because the eyelids may droop even more when looking downwards. Moreover, patients with perfect vision will not have the opportunity to enjoy the quality of life that they should have if the droopy eyelids block the vision. Therefore, an eyelid surgery is not necessarily a cosmetic surgery as it helps with the vision but with the bonus of looking younger.

The type of surgery that Dr Cheryl Lee will recommend depends on the cause of the droopy eyelid. The whole procedure may take about one to two hours depending on the cause of the problem and patients will be allowed to go home after surgery. It is performed under local anaesthesia and patients may choose to be fully awake or be sedated. The bruising and swelling is minimal immediately after surgery and no bandage is needed postoperatively. Oral medications can be given to patients to alleviate discomfort if at all. In order to create a prettier wound, the stitches will be removed painlessly five days after surgery. Prior to this procedure, a comprehensive eye examination is compulsory for Dr Lee to understand your best corrected vision and the health status of your eye.

Ectropion

The term ectropion is used to describe the outward turning of the eyelids. It occurs when the eyelids tissue loses its elasticity due to ageing, hence pulling the eyelids away from the eyeball. As the eyelid is no longer well opposed to the eyeball, patients with ectropion may experience the following symptoms:

  • Red eye
  • Uncomfortable, gritty eye
  • Tearing
  • Risk of sight threatening eye infections

This condition can be treated with a surgical procedure to tighten the eyelid tissue and oppose it back to the eyeball. The procedure takes less than 1 hour and does not require a hospital stay.

Entropion

Entropion occurs when the eyelid turns inwards towards the eyeball as a result of ageing process. This in-turning of eyelid along with its eyelashes may scratch and damage the cornea, leading to sight-threatening eye infections.

This is treated by a procedure that tightens the eyelid tissues and pulls the eyelid (along with its eyelashes) away from the eyeball. The procedure takes less than 1 hour and does not require a hospital stay.