close up of human eye

Oculoplastic surgery is a specialized area of ophthalmology that focuses on the health of the eyelids, tear ducts, orbit, and structures around the eye. It is used to treat a number of different conditions, such as tumors, blocked tear ducts, orbital fractures, and drooping eyelids. While this type of surgery is often necessary, some people do choose to have this surgery for cosmetic reasons. Oculoplastic surgery can help improve both the appearance and function of the eyes, depending on the procedure.

Conditions Treated with Oculoplastic Surgery

Oculoplastic surgery can be used to treat a variety of conditions for patients of all ages. Procedures can be done on the tear ducts, eyebrows, eye sockets, eyelids, forehead, face, and cheeks. The conditions treated include drooping eyelids, eye problems caused by thyroid disease, skin cancers or growths around or in the eyelids, weakness around the eyelids or eyes, injuries to the eye area, tear duct problems, birth defects of the eye, eyelids that turn outward or inward, and cosmetic issues, such as bulging lower lids or excess upper lid skin.

Before Your Oculoplastic Surgery

You may be given instructions before your surgery. should have a visit with your regular health care provider to get some routine tests done to make sure it’s safe that you have the surgery. In order to improve your healing, you should stop smoking two to three weeks before and after the surgery. Make sure you have someone to drive you home after your procedure.

What to Expect during Surgery

For most of the procedures, you will be able to go home after surgery. The procedure can take place at the provider’s office or an outpatient facility. Depending on what type of surgery you are having, you may have general anesthesia or local anesthesia administered. General anesthesia will put you to sleep during your procedure, while a local anesthetic will numb that area so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. During surgery, your surgeon may use special contact lenses on the eyes. These lenses shield the eyes from bright lights needed during surgery and protect the eyes.

Self-Care at Home after Your Surgery

Your recovery will depend on the type of surgery you have and your condition. Your surgeon will give you instructions on what to do. There are some general tips to keep in mind.

You could have some swelling, bruising, or pain after surgery. Use cold packs over the area to reduce bruising and swelling and be sure to wrap the pack in a towel before using it, in order to protect the skin and eyes. You should avoid activities that can raise your blood pressure. These include lifting heavy objects and exercise. Don’t drink alcohol for a week after surgery and you may need to stop some medications. Your provider will give you instructions on cleaning and bathing around the incision area. Use pillows to prop your head up when you sleep for a week after surgery, in order to prevent swelling. You will have a follow-up appointment a week after surgery. If your procedure requires stitches then you should have them removed after your visit. Most people can return to work and activities two weeks after surgery. This will depend on the type of surgery you had.

When to Seek Medical Care after Oculoplastic Surgery

Recovery should be minimal but there are some issues where you will need to call your provider right away. If you have pain that doesn’t go away after pain relievers, signs of an infection, vision that gets worse, or an incision that isn’t healing, speak with your provider as soon as possible.

Different Types of Oculoplastic Surgery

There are different oculoplastic surgeries to address different cosmetic and medical conditions.

Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

Your eyes are one of the first things that people notice so they are an important part of your appearance. As you age, the shape and tone of your eyelids can sag and loosen. Sun exposure may make the problem worse. The lax skin and extra puffiness can make you appear older and more tired than you are. Eyelid surgery can give the eyes a more youthful look by removing bulging fat, lax muscles, and excess skin from either the lower or upper eyelids. If you have sagging upper eyelids that obstruct your vision then this surgery can help expand your visual field and eliminate the obstruction. This surgery is one of the top five cosmetic procedures performed. For an upper blepharoplasty, the procedure removes excess fat and skin from the upper eyelid to help with your vision. For lower blepharoplasty, the procedure removes fat, muscle, and skin from the lower eyelids. The lower eyelids can become droopy and give you the appearance of bags.

Ptosis Repair

Ptosis is a medical term for drooping eyelids. The drooping upper eyelids can cause issues with vision and people have trouble keeping their eyes open. To compensate, people will arch eyebrows to raise drooping eyelids and patients may need to lift their eyelids to see. Surgery is designed to shorten the stretched tendon or muscle to restore vision.

Ectropion Repair

Ectropion is a condition where the lower eyelid is rolled out from or sagging away from your eye. The sagging lower eyelid makes the eye dry and exposed. If it’s not treated, the condition can lead to redness, eye irritation, pain, or chronic tearing.

Entropion Repair

This condition is when the eyelids are rolled inward toward the eye. This condition is similar to ectropion and can mean acute sensitivity to light and lead to corneal abrasions or eye infections.

Eyelid Growth

The eyelids have the most sensitive and thinnest skin on the body and it can be one of the first places to show changes from aging and sun damage. Not only does the sun cause your skin to age, but it can also cause damage. Skin cancer on the eyelids is common and there are several types that can exist. Any suspicious areas on the eyelids should require a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis. Treatment can involve removal of the tumor and reconstruction of your eyelids. Complete removal is necessary in order to prevent spread or recurrence.

Tearing Disorders

The eye needs to stay moist in order to keep its function and health. The lacrimal gland is a gland that helps the eye produce tears. When you blink, the eyelids spread tears over the surface or your eye. There is a delicate balance so you don’t have too much or too little fluid in your eye. The most common cause of tearing is reflux. While there are medications to help you produce tears and keep your eyes comfortable, sometimes you need to have surgery in order to fix the issue. The existing tear drainage system needs to be corrected or the system needs to be bypassed completely in order to create a new drainage path for tears.

Orbital Surgery

Orbital surgery is done to manage eye disorders, thyroid disorders, trauma, and tumors.

Cosmetic Procedures

Cosmetic procedures can include dermal fillers or Botox around the eyes.

Contact Florida Eye Specialist and Cataract Institute

If you have any conditions that can benefit from oculoplastic surgery, get a consultation with the surgeons at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute. Our team is dedicated to our patients and uses the most advanced technologies with convenient locations. A consultation with a surgeon can help you determine if your condition can be made better with surgery and they can explain the benefits and risks of the procedure. Contact us today for care from an eye doctor in South Tampa, eye doctor in St. Petersburg, or our other locations.