Is Eyetight safe?

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Article by
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon

Recently I answered a RealSelf post regarding a procedure called “EyeTight” a patent pending procedure which according to LaserTight, LLC , the company promoting this service, is a non-surgical laser blepharoplasty performed with the company's proprietary 980 nm laser. While the procedure is arguably less invasive than traditional lower blepharoplasty, it is still a surgical procedure. An incision is made into the eyelid and a laser fiber is inserted with the goal of shrinking eyelid fat and skin. A July 2008 Cosmetic Surgery Times article quoted Dr. Mark Solomn, a Philadelphia surgeon and the medical director of LaserTight, LLC, to say that the procedure can be performed in 15 minutes in the office with minimal downtime. The before and after photos are impressive.

The questions regarding this procedure are:

Is it effective?
Is it safe?
Who is a candidate?

In answering these questions, I have searched the medical literature to look for any peer reviewed scientific papers on this procedure. There appear to be none. In comparison, the National Library of Medicine indexes 3651 articles on Lasik eye surgery, 2055 articles on facelifts, 1808 articles on blepharoplasty, and 879 articles on laser resurfacing. This basically leaves only the Internet as a source of information on this procedure. So this procedure must be considered a new technology.

It is essential to understand that when the FDA approves a medical device, the safety standards are very different that what is required to bring a new drug to market. The Internet descriptions of this procedure make it sound very attractive especially if you believe that it is actually non-surgical. First be aware that it is a surgical procedure.

As a new technology, until a track record has been established and the safety of the procedure has been fully defined, having the procedure now makes you what is called an early adopter. Will the procedure work for you? Will it be safe? These are unknowns. One can be sure that a company and its medical director are unlikely to market such a procedure if they thought their device would cause harm. However, without a track record of thousands of procedures, it is hard to know if the service will prove to be safe and effective.

If you are considering this procedure, or really any new procedure, it is important to ask yourself a few questions:

What do I really know about this procedure?
What do well-known and respected authorities say about the service?
What do I risk if there is a problem?
If there is a problem, will my doctor be available to help me?
Does my doctor have a financial conflict of interest in offering this service?
How will I feel if there is a complication from a new procedure?

Some of us are risk takers. These are the souls who try new things. Ask yourself if your past impulsive decisions have worked out or not. This might tell you something about how good your decision making process is. Study the credentials of your potential doctor. As EyeTightTM is a surgical eyelid procedure, your doctor should have local hospital privileges for eyelid surgery, they should be board certified in one of the following fields: General plastic surgery, Otolaryngology and Facial plastic surgery, or Ophthalmology. Have you had a consultation with your surgeon prior to the day of surgery? Does your doctor live locally, or is the doctor traveling from a distance and won’t be available if there is a problem after surgery? Who will you be seeing to follow your progress as you heal? Is any follow up care provided? Does your doctor have malpractice insurance for the procedure you are considering?

Finally, because this is an intriguing new procedure, consider sharing your experience with the RealSelf.com community, good or bad. This will help others in making their own decisions regarding this new procedure. Remember that standard eyelid surgery with a well-qualified eyelid surgeon is a safe, proven method of improving one’s appearance. Approximately 300,000 eyelid surgeries are performed annually in the United States. To be worthwhile, a new competing service needs to be as safe and reliable.