What is an oculoplastic surgeon?
An oculoplastic surgeon is specially trained to perform procedures that involve the eyelid (including drooping eyelids and eyelids that are not in a normal position), the eye socket, and tear ducts. They also remove tumors that affect the eye.
At Ophthalmology LTD., Dr. Hammer performs a variety of oculoplastic procedures.
Drooping of the upper eyelids is often caused by problems with the muscles that lift the eyelid. This condition, called “ptosis,” can make a person look older, but can also cause vision problems. Surgery to correct drooping of upper eyelids is called “blepharoplasty.”
A blepharoplasty may be indicated when eyelids droop to the extent that a person must:
- Tip the head back to see better
- Raise the eyebrows to lift the eyelids
Using a laser or a scalpel, the surgeon makes an incision along the natural fold lines of the upper eyelids to remove excess fat and skin. Similarly, fat can be removed from the inside of the lower eyelids. Sutures close and retighten the lids, resulting in unobstructed vision and a more youthful, pleasant expression.
Surgery to correct entropion and ectropion
An oculoplastic surgeon can often bring lower eyelids that turn outward (“ectropion”) or inward (“entropion”) back to a normal position.
When a skin cancer develops on the eyelid, it must be removed, and this often entails the removal of some portion of the delicate eyelid structure. A skilled oculoplastic surgeon can often reconstruct the eyelid.
Excessive thyroid hormones associated with thyroid disease can damage the muscles and tissue around the eyelids and eye socket and cause the eyes to bulge. When the eyeball and the nerves that transmit images to the brain are affected, permanent vision damage can result.
An oculoplastic surgeon can make it possible for a bulging eye to move back into its proper place in the eye socket and relieve the blinding pressure on nerves.
This is NOT cosmetic surgery. Most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover reconstructive surgery of this type.
The removal of benign and cancerous tumors situated behind the eyeball can damage important structures. To minimize this injury, these tumors should be removed by an oculoplastic surgeon or specially-trained neurosurgeon or neck otolaryngologist.
Surgery to repair fractures of the eye socket
When the bottom (“floor”) of the eye socket is accidentally broken, this “blow out” fracture can result in permanent double vision and cause the affected eye to sink back into the socket, making it look smaller than the opposite eye. Some oculoplastic surgeons specialize in the repair of these fractures. The repair requires delicate surgery, but once healed, the eye socket is typically stronger than before the injury.
Tear drainage surgery
Tears keep the surface of the eye moist. Excess moisture flows away through pores in the inner corner of the eyelid and make their way into drains that empty into the nose. When these drains are blocked, tears run down the cheeks, sometimes all day long. An oculoplastic surgeon reduces or eliminates this nuisance tearing by finding the blockage and opening the drain. A procedure called “dacryocystorhinostomy”) accesses the blockage through the nostril only and involves fiberoptic lights that can open the blocked drains.