What is 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
- 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
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.