Ophthalmic plastic surgery refers to a wide range of procedures that involve the eye and related structures, like the brow, socket, and tear ducts.
Dozens of procedures from ptosis repair surgery that corrects drooping eyelids to evisceration, one of three eye removal procedures, fall under the umbrella of oculoplasty.
What Conditions does Oculoplasty Treat
Oculoplastic surgery can be used to reconstruct, rejuvenate, or both. It can be used to treat a variety of eye conditions or it can be purely cosmetic.
Most oculoplastic procedures are geared toward specific eye-related conditions. The following list contains both common and uncommon conditions that can be treated with oculoplasty. Keep in mind that oculoplasty treats a very wide variety of ailments, some of which may not appear in this list.
- Ptosis – This refers to one or both upper eyelids drooping over the eye. Ptosis can be mild or complete, obscuring vision from that eye completely. It can be brought on by certain diseases, drugs, or injury.
- Entropion – This refers to when the eyelid folds inward toward the eye. When this happens, the constant rubbing of epidermis (outer skin) and eyelash against the surface of the eye can cause irritation. It often results from the weakening of the eyelid, which itself can come from aging or injury.
- Ectropion – This is the opposite of entropion, referring instead to when the eyelid folds outward from the eye. This leaves the under skin of the lid exposed and can lead to irritation of the lid itself. Like entropion, ectropion can result from weakening of the lid due to aging or injury.
- Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) – Thyroid conditions, such as Grave’s Disease, can often affect the eye. When this happens the tissue behind the eye becomes seriously inflamed, pushing the eye outward and giving it a “bulging” appearance. Oculoplasty can treat the inflammation, but it will not resolve the underlying thyroid disease.
- Cancer and Growths – Tumors or lesions on or around the eye can be removed via oculoplasty, whether they or cancerous or benign. If they are cancerous, additional treatment may be required.
- Blocked tear ducts – Although most common in infants, adults can also get blocked tear ducts as they age or from trauma, infection, and tumors. When tear ducts become blocked, they may produce excessive tears. There may also be crusting, discharge, and swelling. Tear duct surgery, also called lacrimal surgery, can correct this.
- Injuries – Trauma can cause many of the aforementioned conditions or simply damage the eye or eye socket. Oculoplasty repairs and reconstructs damaged sockets.
Preparation for Surgery
Your surgeon will discuss the specific ways in which you should prepare yourself for surgery. However, most oculoplastic surgeries require similar preparation.
- Avoid blood thinners for a week prior to surgery. In other words, no aspirin and no alcohol.
- If you’re a smoker, stop smoking 2-3 weeks prior to surgery. Smoke can easily get in the eyes and will interfere with the healing process.
- Make sure to get routine tests done with your surgeon or primary physician to make sure surgery is a safe option for you. Typically, this means going for blood tests and an EKG.
- Schedule someone to drive you home after surgery. It will not be safe to drive yourself.
What Can I Expect from Surgery?
Again, the process may slightly differ depending on the procedure. Arrive 1 or 2 hours early to be prepped for the surgery. When it’s time, you’ll be given either general anesthesia or local anesthesia and a sedative. You might also be supplied with special lenses to protect your eyes during the surgery.
Recovery can also be mildly painful. The surgical area will likely bruise and swell at first, making you uncomfortable. However, normal recovery pain should be manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers.
You might also these common, temporary side effects:
- Increased tear production
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to wind
- Double vision