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Lagophthalmos


 

Lagophthalmos

What is lagophthalmos?

Lagophthalmos is the inability to close, or poor closure, of the upper eyelid. Lagophthalmos is a form of facial paralysis affecting the orbicularis muscle in the eyelid.

What are the causes of lagophthalmos?

The inability to provide function to the eyelid is typically secondary to a previous or ongoing condition, surgery, or event. This paralysis is usually isolated to just one side of the face. Lagophthalmos and facial paralysis are typically diagnosed due to:
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Trauma
  • Neurosurgery
  • Bacterial infection
  • Cerebral vascular accidents (strokes)

How can this condition affect the health of my eye?

Your eyelids play a crucial role in protecting and providing nourishment to your eyes. When blinking or eyelid closure function is lost, the health of your eyes can be at risk. Many experts have noted several complications associated with lagophthalmos:

  • Severe dry eye and discomfort
  • Corneal ulceration (damage to the cornea-the clear tissue covering the front of your eye)
  • Decrease or loss of vision
  • Unsatisfactory appearance



How can lagophthalmos be treated?

It all begins with your diagnosis of your condition by your ophthalmologist. Typically, if your paralysis is expected to last less than six months, your doctor will recommend the use of drops and ointments throughout the day to help maintain a well-nourished eye.

If your paralysis is deemed permanent or persists without improvement, your surgeon may want to perform surgery to control the paralysis and provide a more natural function to your eyelid. The most common surgical procedure involves the placement of a small, pure-gold eyelid weight into your eyelid. This procedure very simple and is typically performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.



How does the gold eyelid weight work?

It’s very simple. The appropriate implant ‘weight’ will be selected your physician. When implanted into your lid margin, the weight will essentially allow earth’s gravity to gently pull your eye closed when your muscles relax. However, this will not affect your ability to open your eye…. when you tense the muscle, your eyelid will open normally.



Is gold a safe material?

Each weight is made from 99.99% gold (pure gold). Pure gold is an excellent material because it is biologically stable and inert. Because the gold will never break down, your surgeon can always remove it if deemed necessary. Gold has been used for decades for the treatment of lagophthalmos and is recognized by experts as an extremely safe and effective device material. If you have a known sensitivity or allergy to gold, notify your physician before surgery.



What happens during surgery? How is the gold weight implanted?

Gold eyelid weight surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting. Previous to the day of the surgery, your physician will have selected the appropriate gold weight size for your specific needs.

During the procedure, your physician will first make a small incision in your eyelid, just above your eyelashes. This incision will allow your physician to create a small pocket inside your lid for the gold implant to rest. The weight will be secured to your lid with sutures. Each weight contains small channels or grooves to house the sutures below the surface of the implant. The incision is closed with sutures. A protective pad will be applied to cover your eyelid.



What happens after surgery? What should I expect regarding the function and appearance of my eyelid?

As always, your condition and progress will be closely monitored by your physician. Following the removal of your eye protection, you should be able to experience normal blinking and eyelid closure function.

Like any surgery, the incision will take time to heal. If you experience significant discomfort or swelling around the incision, contact your physician immediately.

Any questions or concerns you have about your surgery can best be answered by your surgeon. You can best insure the best outcome for your procedure by carefully following your surgeon’s instructions.





Lagophthalmos FAQs

What is lagophthalmos?

What are the causes of lagophthalmos?

How can this condition affect the health of my eye?

How can lagophthalmos be treated?

How does the gold eyelid weight work?

Is gold a safe material?


What happens during surgery? How is the gold weight implanted?

What happens after surgery? What should I expect regarding the function and appearance of my eyelid?