What Is Lagophthalmos

WHAT IS LAGOPHTHALMOS?

The word “lagophthalmos” is a Greek term that means “incomplete sight”. It’s also used as an adjective to describe something lagophtalmic (lacking vision). This disorder affects about one in every ten thousand people worldwide and has no known cure at present. 

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF LAGOPHTHALMOS?

The causes can be quite diverse. Lagophthalmos and facial paralysis are typically diagnosed due to:

  • Bell’s Palsy

  • Trauma

  • Neurosurgery

  • Bacterial infection

  • Cerebral vascular accidents (strokes)

It’s important to notice that this condition might only affect half of your face (and not all of it).

HOW CAN THIS CONDITION AFFECT THE HEALTH OF MY EYE?

Eyelids are very important for the health of your eyes. Without your eyelid’s normal shape, your eyes health might be going lower overtime.

Many experts have noted several complications associated with lagophthalmos:

  • Severe dry eye and discomfort

  • Corneal ulceration (damage to the cornea-the clear tissue covering the front of your eye)

  • Decrease or loss of vision

  • Unsatisfactory appearance

HOW CAN LAGOPHTHALMOS BE TREATED?

Surgery to reattach both lids back into position with sutures and stitches. There are two types of surgeries done – transconjunctival procedure where incisions made under the conjunctiva are hidden behind the white part of the eyeball, and external approach where incisions are placed outside the eyelid skin. 

Both procedures involve cutting down the tarsus bone near the outer corner of each eye (the medial rectus muscle) and placing sutures underneath the inner surface of the eyelids.

Other surgical options include use of synthetic mesh grafts, soft tissue flaps, fat implants, free-tissue transfers, enucleation, and keratoplasties. These treatments are reserved mainly for patients who experience complications from prolonged exposure to moisture after injury or trauma. However these methods cannot provide any significant improvement in vision.

How can Surgery help me to treat my lagophthalmos? 

Transconjunctival Procedure – involves creating small cuts around the edges of the eyelids using scissors. Afterward, the surgeon inserts tiny stitches along the cut edge so that the top layer of the eyelids will cover the bottom ones. Once healed, the upper eyelids should move up over the lower ones thus giving you improved vision.

External Approach — involves inserting a metal plate between the eyelids, allowing the front portion of the eyelids to lift up. A wire attached to the ends of the plates passes beneath the eyelids, lifting them upwards. Suturing is performed to fix the eyelids to their new positions.

Surgical correction is recommended for those suffering from lagophthalmos. When talking about treating lagophthalmos surgically, we mean correcting the problem permanently. 

What Is The Best Solution?

When discussing solutions, let’s talk about non-medical alternatives. Here are three things you can try to remedy your problems. First off, use artificial tears to keep the eyes moist. Also, wear sunglasses whenever possible since UV radiation can cause serious harm to the eyes. Finally, get plenty of sleep and exercise to improve overall health. All of these measures can be helpful in slowing progression of the condition.

If none of the above works well for you, here are four steps you can follow to aid you in dealing with lagophthalmos effectively. They’re important steps to take as early detection is vital in order to prevent permanent damage to the cornea.

Conclusion

Although lagophthalmos isn’t life threatening, it can lead to potentially irreversible blindness. Therefore, it’s necessary to seek prompt medical assistance. Early detection and treatment can prevent further damage to the cornea. By taking simple precautions, you can minimize risk factors associated with lagophthalmos. Remember, prevention is better than cure.