Get The Facts About Oculoplastic Surgery

Close up image of a woman's eyeWhen many people think of eye surgery, they think of LASIK, cataract surgery and other vision correction surgeries. In addition to these types of eye surgeries, there are many conditions in which cosmetic restoration surgery is needed. Eyelid surgery, called oculoplastic surgery is corrective and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids, tear ducts and orbit of the eye rather than corrective surgery to the cornea or lens of the eye itself.

Conditions such as drooping upper eyelids, eyelids that turn inward or outward, eyelid growths, tear duct blockage and disfigurement from injuries, burns and birth defects can affect not only appearance but are often conditions for which cosmetic surgery may be medically necessary. Surgery to treat conditions which cause the eyebrows to sag or cause excess skin on the upper or lower eyelids are sometimes considered purely cosmetic, but may also be considered medically necessary.

Conditions in which oculoplastic surgery is 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 noise 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 only be cosmetic

  • 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.

Another cosmetic eyelid surgery available is Botox® Cosmetic surgery to treat frown lines between your eyebrows that can leave you looking tired or upset. Botox may also be approved by some insurance companies for patients with persistent twitching of the eyelids or blepharospasms. If you’re looking for a non-surgical solution to smooth frown lines, turn to Key-Whitman for physician-administered procedure to reduce the appearance of frown lines between your eyebrows.

Why choose an eye surgeon rather than a plastic surgeon?

While many of these procedures can be performed by a plastic surgeon, Key-Whitman Dallas oculoplastic eye surgeons are board certified M.D.s who specialize in eye surgery and the tissues surround the eye, rather than general plastic surgery. Their limited focus on the eye means they are highly knowledgeable and skilled in dealing with the eye. Oculoplastic surgeons are experienced ophthalmologists who have also received training in plastic surgery of tissues around the eye, and understand the balance of performing cosmetic or reconstructive surgery while maintaining the function of the eyes.

Several doctors at the Key-Whitman eye center specialize in reconstructive and cosmetic eyelid surgery. Whether you’re looking at Botox® Cosmetic surgery, or reconstructive surgery to repair drooping eyelids, tear duct blockage or have suffered damage to the tissue surrounding your eyes, turn to the Arlington eyelid surgery expert at Key-Whitman, Dr. Barke.