Treatments are available to help facial paralysis patients dealing with lagophthalmos, i.e. incomplete eye closure. These treatments include:
1. Eyelid Springs
Eyelid springs, also referred to as palpebral springs, are used to restore normal eyelid function in facial paralysis patients. They help a facial paralysis patient blink normally without any conscious effort required.
Eyelid springs consist of small, metal springs that are surgically implanted into a facial paralysis patient’s eye. Best of all, eyelid springs often result in natural and dynamic eyelid movement and enable a facial paralysis patient to blink normally.
2. Gold Eyelid Weights
Gold eyelid weights have been shown to help facial paralysis patients improve eyelid closure, as well as enhance blinking and alleviate eye dryness. Each gold eyelid weight treatment is customized to a facial paralysis patient based on his or her etiology. To determine the optimal gold eyelid weight, gold weights of different sizes are attached to a facial paralysis patient’s eyelid. Once a gold eyelid weight is found that helps a facial paralysis patient naturally close his or her eyelid, the weight is implanted into the upper eyelid.
In most instances, implanting a gold eyelid weight involves incising a facial paralysis patient’s upper eyelid crease and cutting through the eyelid muscle. This exposes the area where the gold eyelid weight is anchored directly with sutures. Finally, the gold eyelid weight uses the power of gravity to close the eyelid, and this allows a facial paralysis patient to blink normally once again.
3. Platinum Eyelid Chains
Platinum eyelid chains are constructed from multiple small platinum pieces that are linked together and help enhance eyelid closure in facial paralysis patients. They offer greater flexibility in comparison to gold eyelid weights. Platinum eyelid chains tend to be less visible than gold eyelid weights, too.
Like gold eyelid weights, platinum eyelid chains come in different sizes and weights. Before a platinum eyelid chain procedure, sample chains are temporarily affixed to the outside of a facial paralysis patient’s eyelid until the right weight for restoring eyelid closure is found. A platinum eyelid chain next is implanted into a facial paralysis patient’s upper eyelid via a small incision in the eyelid crease. Then, the chain is attached to the upper eyelid muscle with sutures and uses gravity to enable a facial paralysis patient to close his or her eye.
Tarsorrhaphy is a surgical procedure that involves sewing the upper and lower eyelids together. It is sometimes used to treat corneal lesions. Also, tarsorrhaphy may be performed to safeguard the cornea against exposure due to insufficient eyelid coverage caused by Grave’s disease or Bell’s palsy.
5. Self-Treatment Options
Self-treatment options are available to help facial paralysis patients address a variety of lagophthalmos symptoms. For example, artificial tears enable a facial paralysis patient dealing with lagophthalmos to apply eyedrops throughout the day to minimize eye dryness and itching. Or, for facial paralysis patients dealing with nocturnal lagophthalmos, moisture goggles are available to help moisturize the eyes while sleeping.
What Is the Best Lagophthalmos Treatment?
There is no one-size-fits-all lagophthalmos treatment that works well for all facial paralysis patients, at all times. If a facial paralysis patient is dealing with incomplete eye closure, consulting with Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of The Facial Paralysis Institute is ideal. During a consultation, Dr. Azizzadeh will analyze a facial paralysis patient and his or her lagophthalmos symptoms. Dr. Azizzadeh then crafts a personalized treatment program designed to help a facial paralysis patient achieve long-term lagophthalmos symptom relief.
Dr. Azizzadeh is happy to meet with a facial paralysis patient to help him or her identify which lagophthalmos treatment will deliver the best-possible results. To schedule a lagophthalmos treatment consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please contact us today at (310) 657-2203.
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