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The term oculo-plastic surgery refers to any surgical treatment of changes and diseases of the eyelids, the external surface (conjunctiva), the orbital cavity (orbit) and the tear duct as connection between nose and eye. Changes and diseases of the eyelids can be observed at any age starting from infanthood to high age and require specific diagnostics and appropriate therapies.
The most common congenital eyelid malformation is ptosis (hanging upper eyelid), which occurs unilaterally in 70% of cases. Malformations such as undeveloped eyelids (e. g. eyelid coloboma) or entropions (inward tilting of the eyelid) are considerably less common.
Regarding acquired lid diseases, the majority occurs at higher ages. Such senile, involutional eyelid malpositions are ptosis, entropion or ectropion (inwards/outwards tilting of the eyelids) and dermatochalasis. A clear increase of malignant tumors has been observed, probably due to the climate and ozone layer problems within the last decades.
During the last 20 years the cosmetic aspect of eyelids has been recognized and the attention of eyelid surgery as well as the number of eyelid operations has significantly increased. Changes such as “droopy eyelid” (skin excess likely of the upper eyelids), the "eye bags" (fat tissue deposits of the lower eyelid) and the ptosis of the brows have been addressed by cosmetic commercials. Although looking simple, the complex architecture of the eyelids requires profound knowledge of the functional anatomy of the eye and face.
Lately, a relatively high number of patients with non-successfully performed lid surgeries have been referred to IROC ophthalmologists and lid specialists. This emphasizes the importance of adequate diagnostics and further the exact planning and execution of the operation. Before a possible eyelid surgery, however, the patient must be seriously advised and educated in detail about possible risks and complications and postoperative behavior within the first weeks.
Eyelid surgery usually takes between 1 and 1,5 hours. After the eyelid operation, the patient needs to be monitored at the IROC eye clinic for another 2 hours, in case of possible early postoperative hemorrhages and consequently the immediate and appropriate treatment to obtain the optimal postoperative outcome. Pain after the lid surgery is rare, but if necessary, IROC ophthalmologists administer pain killers to minimize the discomfort. It is important to mention that patient should avoid any blood thinning medications before the eyelid operation, such as Aspirin, Xarelto etc. Also, during the recovery process, patient’s vision will be reduced for the first 2-3 days, since ointment is applied onto the eye during an eyelid surgery to protect the cornea. Depending on the kind of surgery, the recovery time is between 2-7 days.
At IROC eye clinic in Zurich, every patient receives an individual examination and treatment to achieve the best-possible outcome for the eyelid surgery. If you have any problems or changes in your eyelids, you are very welcome to contact our lid specialists for further information or for an initial consultation regarding a possible eyelid surgery.
Get additional information about eyelid surgery in our Q/A section.