Eyelid Disorders

As suggested by the name, an eyelid disorder is a medical condition in which there is impairment, injury, or defect associated with the folds of skin covering the eye. While some of the eyelid disorders described below are genetic, others may be caused by injury, infection, or disease.

Blepharitis—Blepharitis is traditionally defined as the inflammation of either the upper or lower eyelid. In most cases, blepharitis is caused by a bacterial infection—and while there are a number of strains of bacteria that can lead to this condition, Staphylococcal infections are the most common. Traditionally, belpharitis is treated with the use of antibiotics, warm compacts, and the avoidance of make-up until the infection has healed.

Blepharospasm—Blepharospams are the scientific term for eyelid twitches, otherwise defined as the rapid movement of either the upper or lower eyelid. While blepharospasms can be caused by a variety of conditions, they are most often associated with stress, fatigue, and the consumption of high amounts of dietary caffeine. Following a healthy diet, getting adequate amounts of rest, and limiting stress can be effective methods at reducing bepharospasm frequency.

Chalazion—Chalazions are small, red bumps found on the surface of the eyelid. Chalazions are commonly caused by a blockage of the meibomian gland, which when left untreated can lead to severe swelling, tenderness, and light sensitivity. While chalazions can sometimes be treated with antibiotic drops, it is not uncommon for them to sporadically clear up without medical intervention. Individuals may also be able to achieve some relief from chalazion flare-ups from the use of cold packs and anti-inflammatory medications.

Ectropion—Ectropion occurs when the lower eyelid turns out, exposing the inner surface of the eyelid. Ectropion is often identified as having congenital origins, though it is also sometimes associated with aging and allergic reactions. Severe, on-going ectropion often requires surgical intervention for complete repair.

Entropion—In contrast to ectropion, entropion occurs when the lower eyelid turns out, causing the eyelashes of the lower eyelid to rub against the surface of the eye. Like ectropion, entropion has been identified as a congenital condition, and may also be associated with aging and certain types of infection. Surgery and the use of synthetic tears are the most common treatment for individuals diagnosed with entropion.

Eyelid Dermatitis—In basic terms, dermatitis is defined as the inflammation of the skin—then, eyelid dermatitis must be identified as the inflammation of the skin of the eyelid. In contrast to many of the conditions described above, which are often associated with bacteria or infection, eyelid dermatitis is more often linked to allergens, such as metals, hair dyes, fingernail polishes, or even shampoos. To treat eyelid dermatitis, avoiding the use of synthetic materials may be required.

Eyelid Edema—Defined as fluid retention in the eyelid, traditionally leading to mild-moderate swelling. Eyelid edema is traditionally associated with an allergic reaction, such as those caused by medications, certain foods, or even airborne pollens. In addition, eyelid edema commonly occurs in infants, especially immediately after birth. The use of cold compacts and immunosuppressant medications is most commonly recommended for individuals who suffer from eyelid edema.

Eyelid Tumors—An eyelid tumor is a growth that occurs on the outer skin, inside surface, or edge of the eyelid. While some eyelid tumors may be caused by cancerous growths, others may be benign—and simply associated with eyelash loss or eyelid structure erosion. Depending on the pathology of the eyelid tumor in question, treatment may range from surgery and radiation to simple medication use. Individuals who have been diagnosed with a malignant eyelid tumor should consider obtaining a second opinion before beginning invasive treatment.

Hordeolum—A hordeolum, or stye, occurs as the result of the infection and inflammation of the border between the eyelash and the eyelid. Hordeolums are most commonly associated with staphylococcus infections, though high amounts of stress and sleep deprivation can also trigger their development. Like many of the other bacterial-related infections described above, hordeolums are most often treated with the use of oral antibiotics, though medicated eye drops are also occasionally used. In the most severe cases of hordeolums, drainage of the infected area may be required.

Ptosis—Ptosis refers to the drooping of either the lower or upper eyelid. While the exact causes of ptosis are still relatively unknown, may researchers believe that the condition is congenital. When left untreated, ptosis can progress to a number of other, more serious conditions, such as astigmatism or amblyopia—which is commonly referred to as “lazy eye.” Currently, the only recognized form of treatment for ptosis involves relatively invasive surgeries to correct internal structural defects.

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