Permanent dry eyes possible from Lagophthalmos?

Hi, I had revision double eyelid surgery and ptosis correction 1.5 years ago and since then my eyes cannot close completely. I have had terrible dry eye symptoms. I spoke with a surgeon and he told me that permanent dry eye is possible with chronic incomplete eye closure because the cells that are responsible for lubricating the eye "desiccate". Is this true? This is so distressing because I do not have the funds to get it treated right away. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 3

Dry Eyes after Eyelid Surgery

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Dry eyes following surgery have a number of reasons for occurring - inadequate tear production and evaporative loss are the main reasons. In your case it may be from evaporative loss from increased exposure from not closing completely. Speak with your oculoplastic surgeon about options - surgical release, plugging your lacrimal duct (so tears stay around longer) in addition to topical and other options.

Dry eye after ptosis surgery

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unfortunately after ptosis surgery lagophthalmos can occur.  If you have significant dry eye symptoms from this and there is desiccation of some of the mucosal lining of the lid that he may need to do a minor levator release and reverse some of the ptosis repair.  However, before proceeding it is essential that you meet with oculoplastic surgeons before considering any other surgical treatment.  Also, this condition made qualify for insurance coverage.

Chase Lay, MD
Eyelid surgery specialist
Asian eyelid surgery specialist
Double board-certified facial plastic surgeon

Chase Lay, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Dry eyes from eyelid surgery

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Thank you for your question.

Inability to completely close your eyes (lagophthalmos) is common after ptosis correction. Most people will not have significant problems with this, however there are some patients who's eyes don't roll back when the eyes are closed. This can cause dryness and can lead to significant problems. In these patients often the ptosis surgery needs to be "reversed".

It is very important to keep your eyes moist when you sleep. You may want to try lacrilube ointment in the eye before you go to sleep and frequent eye drops during the day.

I recommend you be evaluated by your surgeon, or another board certified plastic surgeon / oculoplastic surgeon in your area for an in person evaluation.

Best Regards,

Dr. Stutman

Ross Stutman, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.