The Importance Of Eyelids
Eyelids have the tough task of protecting the eyes and keeping out foreign objects. The moveable tissue also spreads moisture so the surface of the eye remains moist. Disorders can impair the eyelid’s ability to perform these tasks, leading to short or long-term complications. Although there are many eyelid conditions, those listed below tend to be the most common.
Blepharitis is a swelling and inflammation of the eyelid margin. The disorder is typically caused by issues with the oil glands or a bacterial infection. Besides swelling, patients often experience itching, burning, redness, and a foreign body sensation. To treat blepharitis, doctors may recommend warm compresses, cleaning the eyelid, or antibiotics.
A chalazion is a lump under the eyelid, typically forming due to a blocked oil duct. A blocked duct prevents oil from protecting the ocular surface and can lead to dry eye. The area may become tender after formation and, in rare cases, grow large enough to affect vision. Chalazia can heal without treatment, but a warm compress can speed up the process.
A stye, also known as hordeolum, is a bacterial infection in one of the glands near the eyelashes. The result is a red, painful bump on the eyelid. Like chalazia, styes usually disappear without treatment over the course of a few days. Warm compresses or cleaning the area with mild soapy water can expedite healing.
Dermatochalasis describes excess skin or fat in the eyelid area that can block vision in the affected eye. Patients often have to strain to open eyes wide enough to see clearly. As the condition matures, surgery may be required to remove material and restore a clear line of sight.
Also known as droopy eyelids, ptosis can encroach on the pupil, blocking some of all vision in the eye. Common causes include stretching of the eyelid muscle or paralysis of the nerve. Eye injuries can also result in ptosis. If enough vision is blocked, an ophthalmologist can perform surgery to raise the eyelid.
Ectropion occurs when the lower eyelid turns outward, exposing the sensitive inner eyelid to the air. The inner eyelid can become irritated, dry, or red, often requiring eye drops to moisten and prevent swelling. Patients may need surgery to correct the condition.
Entropion is the inward turning of the lower eyelid. The disorder causes the eyelashes to rub against the eye, causing irritation, infection, and damage to the cornea. Artificial tear drops can help lessen the impact of entropion on the eye until surgery can correct the issue.
Trichiasis is when the eyelashes grow in the wrong direction and contact the cornea. In addition to irritation, trichiasis can cause redness, excess tears, and pain. Usually, removing the eyelashes will clear up the problem. In chronic cases, a physician can surgically remove eyelashes to prevent regrowth.
Protect the eyelids that protect you
Keeping the eyelid area clean with warm water and baby shampoo can help immensely in preventing eyelid disorders. If possible, avoid touching your eyes or eyelid area to keep oils and contaminants from entering the area. Avoid products with allergens that can irritate the eye and cause disorders to develop. When an eyelid condition does appear, see an eye doctor to prevent the problem from getting worse.