Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a treatment that removes excess tissue from the eyelids to give a patient's eyes a rejuvenated look. In recent years, studies have found that the procedure may also have benefits for patients who suffer from dry eye.
Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which tear production in the eyes is low or the tears evaporate at a faster than usual rate. This can cause discomfort, irritation, and even vision problems. While there are various treatments available to address dry eye, such as eye drops and prescription medications, some patients find no relief from them. As a result, these individuals turn to eyelid surgery as a potential solution to their dry eyes.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye syndrome is defined as a lack of tear production in the eyes, leading to irritation and other issues. Tears are essential for good eye health, as they keep the surface of the eyes moist and lubricated, protect against infection, and help to clear away debris. When the surface of the eye is devoid of moisture, it can lead to discomfort, irritation, and even damage to the eye.
Dry eye syndrome is separated into two categories: evaporative dry eye and aqueous tear-deficient dry eye. Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye is defined as insufficient tear production, while evaporative dry eye is when the tears evaporate at a fast rate, which is the result of issues within the oil glands of the eyelids.
Some common causes of dry eye include aging, hormonal changes, medications, environmental factors, and certain medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, and diabetes. Symptoms of dry eye can include dryness, itching, burning, redness, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.
Treatment for dry eye typically involves using artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops, as well as addressing any underlying causes. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to help improve the production or quality of tears.
Causes of Dry Eye
There are various causes of dry eye, and some of the most common ones are discussed below.
The aging process
As we get older, our eyes produce fewer tears, which can lead to dry eye syndrome for some individuals. This is simply due to the fact that the glands responsible for tear production become less efficient over time. It should be noted that women are more likely to develop dry eye as a result of hormonal changes that happen during menopause.
Environmental factors can also cause the tears to evaporate faster than normal, leading to dry eye. Some of these environmental factors include wind, smoke, and dry air. Individuals who use computer/digital screens excessively may also develop the condition, as they blink less frequently.
Certain medical conditions can cause dry eye, including rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, and thyroid disorders. Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants can sometimes cause dry eye as a side effect.
LASIK and other types of eye surgery can result in temporary cases of dry eye. The surgery can affect the nerves that control tear production, leading to reduced tear production.
Wearing contact lenses
Wearing contact lenses can also cause the condition, particularly when they are worn for long stretches of time. This is because the lenses cause tears to evaporate more quickly, resulting in dry eye.
Understanding the underlying cause of one's dry eye condition is essential in determining the appropriate treatment.
Eyelid Surgery for Dry Eye Relief
During eyelid surgery, excess tissue is removed and sagging skin is tightened. This is done to improve tear duct function, restoring moisture to the eyes. The surgery can also majorly reduce inflammation around the eyes, reversing effects such as dryness and discomfort. It is an effective option for those who have tried other treatments and seen little to no improvement.
What is the Takeaway?
While eyelid surgery can address dry eye syndrome, it is not suitable for everyone. Patients who are dealing with more severe forms of dry eye syndrome may not be considered good candidates for the procedure. Patients with certain medical conditions will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Individuals considering eyelid surgery are recommended to consult with an experienced practitioner, such as Dr. Victoria Givens, prior to going forward with the treatment. At Givens Facial Plastic Surgery, your initial consultation plays a crucial role in assessing your candidacy for eyelid surgery and determining the feasibility of achieving your desired aesthetic goals. We invite you to contact us today and schedule a consultation dedicated to exploring the possibilities of eyelid surgery.