A common symptom of facial paralysis is a difficulty in being able to close the eye. This doesn’t just affect the symmetry of the face, it can also damage the cornea and cause the eyes to either dry out or become overly watery. Eyelid surgery can help correct the eye, enabling it to close properly and, in turn, protecting its cornea.
Eyelid surgery for facial palsy should not be confused with a blepharoplasty or eyelid lift. Most eyelid corrective procedures focus on eliminating sagging skin that occurs as you age. Eyelid surgery for facial palsy focuses on helping the eye to close with help from a gold weight.
What does eyelid surgery entail?
There are actually a few different procedures that can be carried out on the eyelid. One of the most popular is gold weight insertion. This is inserted inside the upper eyelid and is a long-term treatment option, helping to literally weight the eyelid downwards. If the facial palsy is only temporary, then a non-surgical flesh-coloured weight can be placed onto the upper eyelid. This technique is sometimes also used to prepare a patient for the gold weight insertion method.
It’s important to note that while gold weight inserts can help close the eyes, it will not help with reflex blink.
There are also a number of procedures that Mr Paul Tulley can perform to improve function of the lower eyelid, such as a tarsorrhaphy. This involves sewing the upper and lower eyelids partially together. This would limit your ability to wear contact lenses however so it is something you’d need to think about. Sewing part of the lids together also helps the eye to naturally lubricate itself, helping to resolve dry eyes.
Recovery times will vary depending upon which type of eyelid surgery you undergo. This will be discussed, along with the risks and potential alternatives during your consultation with Mr Tulley.
Facial Palsy: Introduction
Bell’s Palsy and Treatment
Facial Palsy: Dynamic Muscle Transfer
Adjunctive Procedures – Brow and Facelift