Eyelid retraction is a condition characterized by the upward displacement of the upper eyelid or downward displacement of the lower eyelid thereby exposing the sclera (white part of the eye). Lower eyelid retraction may be a result of shallow orbits (deepened bony eye sockets), hereditary condtions or certain characteristics of the eyelid.
Eyelid retraction can lead to a wider than normal opening of the eyelids producing a wide eyed stare and causing drying of the eyes. This condition may irritate the ocular structure, cause vision discomfort and harmful effects on the cornea.
The most common cause of lower eyelid retraction is thyroid eye disease (TED). TED leads to inflammation and fibrosis (excessively formed tissue) of the retractor muscles of the eyelid thereby causing retraction. Other causes include:
- Too much tissue removal and damage to the lower eyelid during cosmetic repair of the lower eyelid (blepharoplasty)
- Trauma to the eye
Lid retraction repair
Eyelid retraction repair will depend on its cause and severity. Your doctor will stretch the tendon (loosen the tissue) which pulls the eyelid downwards and will place a spacer graft (from ear cartilage or hard palate of mouth) to raise the eyelid upwards. Once the distance between the two eyelids is narrowed, your eye will appear normal and function better.
Following lower lid retraction repair, you may have to keep your head elevated and apply ice packs every 30 minutes for 48 hours to reduce the swelling. The tightness of the eyelid will resolve after a few weeks. You may have a follow-up appointment after a week for your doctor to monitor the healing.
Eyelid retraction repair surgery is a safe and effective procedure that reduces excessive eye exposure and protects the eye. It also helps you view more of your visual field and provides a youthful appearance.