Focusing on eyelid conditions

Eye unit

You might be aware of the term Oculoplastics but if not, you may well be thinking it sounds more like a group of characters from outer space, in a Dr Who script.

But fear not, no green-eyed monster is about to jump out of your laptop screen. Oculoplastics is simply the collective term for the range of treatments undertaken to correct several eyelid conditions, and it’s a service that’s available at our hospital.

Your GP can refer you as a private patient to one of Benenden Hospital’s leading Consultant Oculoplastic Surgeons for further assessment or treatment of the conditions discussed in this article.

Ectropion and entropion

These are two different eye conditions, which are often associated with ageing. They tend to show up when the muscles and tissues of the eyelids become weaker and, while you might only experience one of these conditions, they can affect one or both of your eyelids.

Ectropion is a lower eyelid condition, where the eyelid droops away from the eye and tends to turn outward.

While it’s not usually a serious condition, it can be quite uncomfortable and when your tear duct is constantly leaking fluid from the eye, this can in turn lead to “dry eye”. If ectropion isn’t treated it can also, in rare occurrences, cause a corneal ulcer to develop on the eye’s surface and that could affect your vision.

Like ectropion, entropion can occur in one or both eyes and often it’s also age-related. This condition causes the eyelids to turn inward instead, with the risk of your eyelashes irritating or even damaging the surface of your eye.

Additionally, the Eye Unit at our hospital can treat dry eye syndrome, and patients who have been referred by their GP to have a cyst or lump in the eye area dealt with.

Dry eye syndrome

It’s something many people experience and, like so many eye conditions, it often becomes more of an issue as people get older.

Dry eye occurs when the fluid created by our tear ducts doesn’t maintain adequate lubrication of the eye’s surface. This may be due to the tear ducts not creating enough fluid, or it may happen when the fluid that the eye is producing is lost from the eye, due to an abnormality in the eyelid. In some cases, surgery is required to treat dry eye syndrome.

The oculoplastics service at Benenden Hospital also takes care of cysts or lumps around the area of your eyes, including on the eyelids themselves. While the majority of these are in the main quite harmless, if you do have a cyst or lump, get it checked by your GP who may recommend removal.

It’s worth bearing in mind that while they’re rare, cysts or lumps can signal a more serious, underlying condition, so it’s certainly worth having them checked out if only for peace of mind.

Oculoplastic Surgery webinar

Blepharoplasty, which is a type of surgery that repairs droopy eyelids and may involve removing excess skin, muscle and fat is just one of the topics that will be covered in our live Oculoplastic Surgery webinar on 6 April at 7pm. The webinar will be led by Benenden Hospital’s Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon, Ms Elizabeth Hawkes and our Eye Unit Sister, Jane Styche.

Following the presentation on the treatments available, the event will conclude with a live question and answer session that you’re welcome to take part in, if you wish.

If you have a question about an eyelid condition or any aspect of oculoplastic surgery, please send your questions into webinars@benenden.org.uk. This will help inform the webinar content.

You can book a place now to watch the webinar.

Published on 11 March 2021