Oculoplastic Surgery: Medically Necessary or Cosmetic?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 24-Nov-2014

Oculoplastic surgery is the corrective and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids; tear ducts and orbit of the eye. This type of eye surgery is performed on patients when there are cosmetic issues that may be affecting the eye or even vision itself.

Oculoplastic surgery is not always considered medically necessary, though there are many conditions for which treatment by oculoplastic surgery is necessary and not simply cosmetic.

Conditions in which oculoplastic surgery is considered medically necessary

Ptosis:Drooping of the upper eyelid caused by aging, contact lens wear, injury and sometimes cataract or other eye surgeries. If the condition interferes with vision, oculoplastic surgery to correct the drooping eyelid is considered medically necessary.

Entropion:A condition in which the upper or lower eyelid turns inward, causing the skin and eyelashes to rub against the eye. May result in redness, irritation, excess tearing, crusting of the eyelid, mucous discharge, foreign bodies in the eye and decreased vision.

Ectropion: A condition in which the lower eyelid sags and turns out, resulting in exposure of the eyeball. This condition may be caused by aging, injury, eyelid growths or facial paralysis. It may cause tearing, redness, crusting of the eyelid, mucous discharge, irritation, decreased vision and scarring of the cornea.

Eyelid growths: Growths on the eyelid or face may be benign, but they can also be malignant. Your doctor will determine if it is medically necessary to remove a growth on the eyelid.

Blockage of the tear duct: This condition may appear at birth or as a result of injury, disease or infection. Symptoms of tear duct problems include pain, chronic tearing, crusting and watering or discharge. If surgery is required, a new “bypass” route may be constructed to connect the upper tear ducts to the nose for drainage of tears.

Reconstructive surgery: Following injury, burns or birth defects, reconstructive surgery of the eyelid or repair of fractures in the orbital bone may be necessary.

Conditions in which oculoplastic surgery may not be considered medically necessary

Blepharoplasty:This procedure corrects excessive skin on the upper or lower eyelids and bags or extra fat above and below the eyes.

Brow ptosis: A drooping eyebrow may or may not interfere with vision. If it does, surgery to correct the condition would be considered medically necessary. Otherwise, correction of a drooping eyebrow is cosmetic.

Frown lines: Another cosmetic eyelid surgery available is Botox® Cosmetic surgery to treat frown lines between your eyebrows that can leave you looking tired or upset.

Eyelash growth: LATISSE® is not an eyelid surgery, but is another type of cosmetic eye treatment. It is the only prescription treatment approved by the FDA for treatment inadequate eyelash growth. Once-a-day treatment with LATISSE makes eyelashes grow fuller and darker over time.

Whether you are in need of oculoplastic surgery that has been determined to be medically necessary, or whether your surgery is cosmetic, trust your eyes to the care of an experienced oculoplastic surgeon at Key-Whitman. Your eyes are the most delicate part of your body. For any treatment involving your eyes, you want a doctor who is specially trained in caring for the eye and surrounding tissues.

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