The function of the eyelids
The function of the eyelids are to protect the globe, lubricate the cornea and allow tear drainage while maintaining the visual field, not to mention being a central and aesthetic component of the face.
What causes the problems?
Ageing, sun exposure, smoking and genetics impact on the facial tissues, and nowhere more so than the eyelids. Tumors in this region, facial nerve paralysis and other scarring can further impact the function of the eyelid.
Common eyelid problems
- Excess upper or lower skin, fat and orbicularis oculi muscle
- Ptosis or descent of the upper lid below the pupil, impacting vision and giving a tired or tepid appearance
- Ectropion (eversion of the eyelid away from the globe), with dry eyes, epiphora (tears overflow onto the cheek) and long-term changes to the eyelid structure and function
- Entropion or inversion of the eyelid against the globe causing discomfort, excoriation or discomfort from the lashes drawing up against the cornea
Eyelid surgery is delicate surgery requiring:
- Understanding and diagnosis of the cause of the problem
- An appreciation of the complex anatomy of the eyelid
- Technical skill and proficiency in repairing the pathology and returning the eyelid and eye to its premorbid state
Many of the techniques for both aesthetic rejuvenation, and functional reconstruction of the eyelids are similar to the technique of blepharoplasty:
- Maneuvers to advance or plicate the levator will manage a ptosis
- The repair, repositioning or reconstruction of the canthus can address an ectropion
- Resection of variable fat, muscle and skin are the key to rejuvenating the eyelids
- Grafts can repair an entopion or a cicatricial (scar causing) ectropion
Eyelid surgery can be performed as a day procedure, often under local anaesthetic with sedation. Recovery is rapid and pain minimal. Patients can be of advanced aged and tolerate this surgery easily with significant improvements of these complaints.
Are these procedures covered by Medicare/health insurance?
Purely cosmetic blepharoplasty is not covered by medical insurance. Window shading of the eyelids (upper lid skin redundancy, where upper lid skin rests on the eyelashes on straight gaze) will be covered by Medicare and medical insurance. Other functional problems such as ectropion, entropion and ptosis will be covered by both Medicare and medical insurance. A patient’s plastic surgeon will be able to motivate for this eligibility.
AUTHOR | Mr Richard Zinn
Mr Zinn is a plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon specialising in a broad range of plastic surgery procedures. These include cosmetic and functional eyelid surgery, facial cosmetics, reconstructive and aesthetic breast surgery, skin cancer, hand surgery and microsurgery.
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PH | 03 8658 6655 WEB | www.parksideplasticsurgery.com.au