Facial paralysis sometimes puts a person’s eyes in danger. If a person is dealing with facial paralysis, he or she may struggle to open and close the eye on the paralyzed side of the face. In this instance, facial paralysis exposes the cornea, the eye’s clear, outermost layer.
The cornea protects the eye against dirt, germs and other debris. It also safeguards the eye against ultraviolet light.
Corneal exposure, also referred to as exposure keratopathy, usually causes eye redness and irritation and decreased tearing. If corneal exposure goes untreated, an individual may suffer scarring and ulcers. In severe cases, exposure keratopathy may cause blindness.
At The Facial Paralysis Institute, our team takes a multidisciplinary team approach to treat corneal exposure. Led by globally recognized facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Babak Azizzadeh, our team helps patients safely address corneal exposure and other facial paralysis symptoms.
How to Treat Corneal Exposure
Exposure keratopathy is commonly treated with lubrication and eye protection. Eye drops, ointment and other lubrication help keep a facial paralysis patient’s eye moist throughout the day. Meanwhile, wearing an eye patch or other eye protection helps safeguard a patient’s eye against debris.
Facial paralysis patients sometimes find that lubrication and eye protection correct corneal exposure. However, surgery may be required for facial paralysis patients who cannot achieve their desired results with lubrication and eye protection.
Gold eyelid weights offer a safe, effective treatment for facial paralysis patients who cannot fully open or close their eyes. They help facial paralysis patients simultaneously restore the eyelid function and prevent further eye damage.
Dr. Azizzadeh performs gold eyelid weight procedures in conjunction with Dr. Guy Massry, an oculoplastic surgeon and eyelid reconstruction expert. Together, Dr. Azizzadeh and Dr. Massry craft a custom gold eyelid weight treatment plan for a facial paralysis patient. Dr. Azizzadeh and Dr. Massry then work diligently to perform a gold eyelid weight procedure. That way, Dr. Azizzadeh and Dr. Massry can help their patient resolve his or her corneal exposure and other facial paralysis symptoms.
How Is a Gold Eyelid Weight Procedure Performed?
A gold eyelid weight procedure begins with the selection of an eyelid weight for a facial paralysis patient. To determine the proper gold eyelid weight, Dr. Azizzadeh temporarily attaches weights of various sizes to a patient’s eyelid.
Dr. Azizzadeh’s goal is to find a gold eyelid weight that ensures a facial paralysis patient can naturally open and close his or her eyes. Once Dr. Azizzadeh discovers the ideal gold eyelid weight for his patient, he, Dr. Massry and other oculoplastic surgery experts implant the weight into a patient’s upper eyelid.
During gold eyelid weight implantation, an incision is made into a facial paralysis patient’s upper eyelid. This exposes the area where a gold eyelid weight is anchored into place with sutures.
Ultimately, gold eyelid weight implantation ensures a facial paralysis patient can naturally open and close his or her eyes once again. Gold eyelid weights often help facial paralysis patients improve blinking and eye closure and relieve eye dryness. They also help facial paralysis patients protect their eyes against corneal exposure.
Platinum Chains for Corneal Exposure
In addition to gold eyelid weights, platinum eyelid chains are available to treat corneal exposure associated with facial paralysis. Platinum chains have a higher density than gold eyelid weights and consist of small platinum pieces that are linked together. They also deliver similar results in comparison to gold eyelid weights.
A platinum chain procedure is nearly identical to gold eyelid weight surgery. Dr. Azizzadeh first determines the appropriate size and weight of a platinum chain for his facial paralysis patient. To do so, Dr. Azizzadeh temporarily attaches platinum chains of varying sizes to a patient’s eyelid. Dr. Azizzadeh then finds a platinum chain that allows a patient to blink naturally. He next works with Dr. Massry and other oculoplastic surgeons to implant a platinum chain into a patient’s upper eyelid.
Which Is a Better Corneal Exposure Treatment: Gold Eyelid Weights or Platinum Chains?
Dr. Azizzadeh requests a patient consultation before he and his team perform a facial paralysis procedure. This consultation allows Dr. Azizzadeh to review a patient’s facial paralysis symptoms and medical history. It also enables Dr. Azizzadeh to determine the best course of action to treat a patient’s corneal exposure and other facial paralysis symptoms.
Dr. Azizzadeh tailors each facial paralysis treatment to his patient, too. If Dr. Azizzadeh believes gold eyelid weights or platinum chains can address corneal exposure, he recommends the appropriate procedure for his patient.
Additionally, a gold eyelid weight or platinum chain procedure alone is sometimes insufficient to treat corneal exposure and other facial paralysis symptoms. In these cases, lower eyelid reconstruction may be required following gold eyelid weight or platinum chain surgery.
Schedule a Facial Paralysis Treatment Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh
Dr. Azizzadeh is a Harvard-trained facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is happy to teach individuals about gold eyelid weights, platinum chains and other facial paralysis treatments. To schedule a facial paralysis treatment consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please contact us today at (310) 657-2203.