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Eyelid Disorders

Your eyelids play a key role in protecting your eye. When you blink, your eyelids sweep away debris and help spread moisture over the surface of your eye. Some eyelid disorders are common and have only cosmetic significance, while others can be more serious. If you suspect that you have any of the following eyelid disorders, consult with University Eye Specialists, P.C. to determine what treatment is best for you.

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In ectropion, the lower eyelid grows lax, droops and turns outward. Because the lower eyelid can no longer distribute tears across the eye, tears fall onto the face instead. The lower eyelid may also not be able to close all the way, exposing the eye to air. The eye may become dry, red and irritated. While artificial tears and ointments may be used to ease irritation, surgery is often required for long-lasting relief.


In this case the lower lid margin turns in towards the surface of the eye. The eyelashes will then rub against the surface, causing tearing, irritation, infection, ulceration of the cornea and scarring. The most common treatment of entropion is corrected with surgery.

Ptosis (Eyelid Droop)

Ptosis can have several causes. In patients with diabetes the droop may be caused by the paralysis of the nerve that supplies the muscles of the upper eyelid. Separation or stretching of the eyelid muscle where it connects to the eyelid, or an eye injury, can also result in eyelid droop. Some people may experience obstruction of vision as well as headache and fatigue from overexerting brow muscles. Persons experiencing such symptoms may need surgery for relief.


Blepharitis is an inflammation of the edges of the lid margin. This disorder is sometimes associated with staphylococcal infection; however, people diagnosed with rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis are more likely to develop it. People without these disorders may also develop blepharitis. Symptoms of blepharitis may include the sensation that something is in the eye, itching, burning, swelling, redness of the eyelid edges, watery eyes, sensitivity to bright lights and loss of eyelashes. Dried secretions may also make the eyelids sticky after sleep.


Blepharospasm is a spasm of the muscles around the eye, causing involuntary blinking and closing of the eye. In severe cases, patients may not be able to open their eyes. Spasms often worsen with fatigue, bright light and anxiety. Blepharospasm can also be caused by other eye diseases. However, its cause is often unknown. Women and those with thyroid disease are more susceptible to blepharospasm. Treatments may include injecting botulinum toxin into the muscles, anti-anxiety medication or surgery.


This is a swelling of oil glands in the eyelid, usually due to a blocked duct. Symptoms of a chalazion occur when the eyelid becomes swollen, irritated or red, or when a painless swelling develops on or under the eyelid. A chalazion that is large enough can rub against the eyeball, causing irritation or, rarely, vision changes. Chalazions occur for unknown reasons, but are most common in people with rosacea and blepharitis. Treatment may involve applying a warm compress to the eyelid several times a day. Even without treatment, a chalazion usually disappears after several months. If it persists, a doctor may inject a corticosteroid or incise and drain the module surgically.


A stye is an infection of one of the three types of eyelid glands located at the base of the lashes. Usually caused by bacterial staphylococcal infections, the symptoms of a stye include pain and inflammation of one or more regions near the eyelid margin. Applying warm compresses for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three to four times a day, can be effective. Sometimes topical antibiotics may be prescribed. If the stye persists, your ophthalmologist may choose to drain the stye through a small incision.

Eyelid Edema

Eyelid edema is a condition of excessive fluid in the eyelid. Most often, eyelid edema is caused by allergic reactions to products such as eye makeup or eye drops, or allergens such as pollen. While most causes of eyelid edema are not dangerous, this condition can also be a symptom of trichinosis, a disease caused by eating undercooked meat, and other serious infections. Symptoms of eyelid edema include swelling, itching, redness and pain.

If you suspect you have eyelid edema, you should contact University Eye Specialists, P.C. as soon as possible. Swelling of the eyelid can press on the eye and increase intraocular pressure. Infections, if untreated, can lead to orbital cellulitis which can threaten vision. Treatment of eyelid edema is often dependent on the initial cause. Your ophthalmologist will work to rule out any infection that may be causing your eyelid edema. Often if the edema is caused by an allergic reaction, removal of the item will ease symptoms. When this is not possible, such as with edema due to pollen, cold compresses and immunosuppressive drugs may be helpful.