What Is An Oculoplastic Surgeon?
Oculoplastic surgery (also known as ophthalmic plastic surgery) is a specialized dynamic field of medicine that combines the microsurgery of ophthalmology with the cosmetic principles of plastic surgery. This branch of ophthalmology focuses on plastic and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids, tear ducts, and orbit, along with cosmetic surgery of the eyelids and brows. Oculoplastic surgeons also perform aesthetic rejuvenation procedures on the face with Botox/Dysport, and facial fillers like Restylane, Restylane Lyft, and Restylane Refyne/Defyne.
Blepharoplasty and Ptosis:
Blepharoplasty and ptosis repair to correct droopy eyelids are among the most commonly performed by an oculoplastic surgeon. Blepharoplasty is a procedure to remove excess sagging skin and muscle from the eyelids to restore a more youthful look and improve peripheral vision. When excess fatty tissue and eyelid bags are trimmed away, the cosmetic benefits of the surgery are more apparent. Ptosis repair is an eyelid lifting procedure to restore the edge of the eyelid (from where the eyelashes emerge) to its normal state above the pupil. Recovery from blepharoplasty and ptosis repair is quick and usually not painful. The procedure is often performed in an ambulatory surgery center on an outpatient basis.
A brow lift is a procedure to lift the eyebrows back to their normal anatomic site. In men, the normal brows rest at or just above the frontal bone above the eyes. In women, the normal brows are usually higher and rest above the bone. Surgery can be performed to lift the brows if they are sagging below these areas. Sometimes combined with blepharoplasty and/or ptosis repair, brow lifting can also be done at an ambulatory surgery center in an outpatient setting.
Stye, Skin Tag, Chalazion and Skin Cancer:
Tumors around the eyelids and eye socket (orbit) sometimes appear and need to be treated. Whether a benign condition such as a stye or skin tag or a potentially malignant condition such as skin cancer or metastasis, an oculoplastic surgeon can diagnose and treat the condition after a biopsy is performed. In many cases, the biopsy can be performed in the office. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, sebaceous gland carcinoma, and melanoma are some of the more common eyelid skin cancers that can appear with sun damage to the area.
Ectropion and Entropion:
Ectropion and entropion are conditions that can affect the position of the eyelids. When the eyelid turns out away from the eye, an ectropion is present. This often results in tearing and constant irritation with discharge. When the eyelid turns towards the eye and causes the eyelashes to rub on the surface of the eye, an entropion is present. Outpatient or office surgery is usually necessary to correct this condition.
Certain conditions such as Graves disease can cause the pressure in the orbit (eye socket) to rise to dangerous levels as the muscles that move the eye enlarge. The increased pressure can cause the eyes to bulge forward giving the patient a “bug-eyed” appearance. By removing fat and/or bone from the eye socket, the soft tissues of the eye socket can relax back into the now enlarged orbit. Orbital decompression can help to relieve the pressure in the eye socket and allow the eye tissues to revert to a more normal position.
The tear ducts are the normal passageway for tears to drain from the eyes and down the nose and throat. A blockage in these tubes will result in tearing of the eyes, sort of like a sink that is clogged. Surgery can be performed to bypass or open the blockage and restore the normal flow of tears. This procedure is known as a dacryocystorhinostomy or DCR. Tiny plastic tubes are often placed in the new tear drain to allow for proper healing around the surgery site. These tubes usually stay in place for three to six months and can be removed in the office.