Can Pulling the Lower Eye Lid Cause Sagging?

I am a 37 year old male. I recently had an eye infection and the doctor pulled my eye lid down for perhaps a good 6-8 seconds to check the infection. Could this cause my lower eyelid skin to sag or stretch? I'm worried. I know the skin there is very delicate.

Doctor Answers 5

Delicate lower eyelid skin is OK after examination!

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The eyelids do indeed have thin and relatively delicate skin compared to other areas of the body, but the eyelid also includes muscle, fat, and cartilage, all of which comprise a surprisingly durable and stretchy structure. Otherwise, those of us who suffer from allergies and rub our eyes every morning and throughout the day would have the saggiest eyelids ever! This, obviously, does not occur!

Aging and innate laxity from genetic causes are what make us candidates for cosmetic eyelid surgery, not stretching the lids for several seconds. You need not be concerned, unless your eyelids had poor tone to begin with, and this just drew your attention to what already existed! If so, rest assured your doctor checking your eye infection had nothing whatsoever to do with your present situation, except to appropriately treat your infection.

Stretching eyelid skin

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The circumstances you describe should not lead to any permanent damage to your lower eyelid skin. It is true that the lower eyelid skin is very delicate, and as we age the eyelid can develop some laxity that could be aggravated be constantly pulling and dragging on the lower eyelid skin. Other factors such as lower eyelid surgery, sun damage, trauma, etc. could also contribute to situations causing lower eyelid laxity, also commonly called "ectropion"; if you have any concerns, you can check with a plastic surgeon or eye professional

Jerry Lugger, MD
Southlake Plastic Surgeon

No problem

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It sounds like you had an eye infection and your doctor performed a simple conjuctival exam to evaluate and treat your infection. You do not describe any problems and that 6-8 second examination would not cause any lower eyelid sagging or strech deformity. I would suggest you focus on resolving the infection and not the unlikely occurrence of lower lid sagging after a medically necessary exam.

Edwin Ishoo, MD
Cambridge Facial Plastic Surgeon

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What are you going to do.

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Just the inflammation from the eye infection could weaken the eyelid.  A single examination is unlikely to cause long term eyelid sagging.  However, it does not sound like there is much option here.  Treatment requires detailed examination.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Stretching eyelid skin permanent?

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You are correct in stating that the eyelid skin is very delicate and chronic stretching or rubbing of the eyes can lead to permanent damage of the tissue. Pulling the eyelid down for 6-8 seconds, however, should not cause any permanent damage to the tissue.

John H. Hunts MD, PhD
Eugene Oculoplastic 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.