The eyelids have two functions:
- protection of the eye from all the direct aggressions
- essential role on the uniform lubrication of the surface of the eye and drainage of the superficial tears.
To these functions we can also add the facial expression. The eyes, and therefore the eyelids, are at the centre of the expression of the human face.
Several conditions can be related to the eyelids, some of which need a surgical intervention:
- cysts or “papillomas”, removed under local anaesthesia;
- Tumours: exposure to sunlight can cause different types of cancers of the eyelids. The vast majority of these tumours are slow growing and do not develop metastases. However, they can progressively infiltrate the surrounding tissues. A total excision is, therefore, imperative.
- Tissue relaxation
If the skin of the superior eyelids loses its elasticity, this will result in an increased amount of extra skin called dermatochalasis.
The relaxation of the deep palpebral structures has as a consequence the instability of the free margin of the lower eyelid. It can turn either outwards (ectropion) or inwards (entropion). In the first case, this leads to the redness of the eye and tearing, and in the second case, it causes ocular irritation by the eyelashes with each blink.
In the case of inability of the levator muscle to lift the upper eyelid or when it lifts it but only partially, the eyelid “drops”, causing what is called a ptosis.
The doctors at the CNO can perform these surgeries as day cases and under local anaesthesia (sometimes associated with a light sedation).
The eyelids are highly vascularised structures and consequently they can be swollen on the first days of post-op, but the recovery is often quick. The scars can be visible and the infections associated with this procedure are rare.
- single eyelashes poorly positioned or lipid deposits called xantelasmas: a laser treatment can be proposed to eliminate them.
- excessive tearing can also represent a problem. Paradoxically, an ocular dryness is often the cause. A stenosis of the lacrimal ducts or even a blepharitis, chronic inflammation of the edges of the eyelids, can also be the origin of excessive tearing.
The treatment consists of:
- increasing the quantity of tears by instilling artificial tears (eye drops or gel) or
- improving the quantity of tears by treating an underlying blepharitis or even
- performing a surgery on the lacrimal ducts to re-establish the good drainage of the tears