Dermatachalasis, the medical term for excess upper eyelid skin, is a very common problem that will affect most of us as we age. The skin begins to thin and the excess can then hang over the eyelid margin and cover the eyelashes. If it becomes pronounced enough to interfere with vision, fixing it becomes a functional issue rather than a cosmetic one and is covered by most insurance companies, including Medicare.
Symptoms of dermatachalasis include fatigue (“heavy eyelids” where the skin hangs onto and over the lashes) and a loss of side (peripheral) vision. This can make us more uncomfortable while driving, feeling uncertain at intersections, and constantly second guessing ourselves on the road. Some people will go so far as to use their fingers to lift the eyelids and improve their vision.
An eye examination and some special tests are required to document and validate the “functional” component of this problem, and some insurance companies require prior authorization before proceeding with surgery. Correction for dermatachalasis is quite straight forward: surgery to remove the excess skin and to tighten the upper lids.
This out-patient procedure, called blepharoplasty, is usually done with local anesthesia and takes about an hour to complete. You can expect some swelling for several days and bruising that can last 1-2 weeks, but most people are back to normal activity within a few days. Dissolvable sutures make the post-operative care pretty simple, and the incision usually heals in a matter of weeks.
Vision is vital to all our daily activities and the eyelids are another vital component of the visual system.
Please contact us to discuss your options for Eyelid Surgery.