Eyelid Disorders

Eyelid Disorders



Your eyelids help protect your eyes. When you blink, your eyelids spread moisture over your eyes. Blinking also helps move dirt or other particles off the surface of the eye. Closing your eyelids when something is coming towards your eyes can protect them from injuries. Like most other parts of your body, your eyelids can get infected, inflamed or even develop cancer. There are also specific eyelid problems, including:

• Eyelids that turn in or out.
• Eyelids that droop.
• Abnormal blinking or twitching.

Treatment of eyelid problems depends on the cause.



INTRODUCTION


Your eyelids help protect your eyes. There are many disorders that can affect the eyelids. Like most other parts of your body, your eyelids can get infected, inflamed or even develop cancer. Eyelid disorders can affect your vision and your daily life. This health information explains eyelid disorders. It also discusses the importance of the eyelids, symptoms of common eyelid disorders and treatment options.



THE EYELIDS


Your eyelids help protect your eyes. When you blink, your eyelids spread moisture over your eyes. Blinking also helps move dirt or other particles off the surface of the eye. Tears, made by a gland in the eye, are needed for clear vision and overall eye health. Tears keep the eyes moist when you blink your eyelids. Tears also protect the eye from bacteria and other germs. They wash away dust and debris to prevent irritation and infections. Closing your eyelids when something is coming towards your eyes can protect them from injuries. Certain muscles are responsible for closing and opening the eyelids. They are also used for facial expressions. These muscles are the:

• Orbital part, which surrounds the eye.
• Palpebral part, which is found under the skin of the eyelids.



GENERAL SYMPTOMS


Disorders that affect your eyelids can lead to poor vision. It can also make it difficult for you to do daily activities, such as looking at a computer screen or reading. Conditions that affect the eyelids can cause:

• Abnormal blinking or twitching.
• Eyelids that droop.
• Eyelids that turn in or out.

Common symptoms of disorders that affect the eyelids include:

• Burning or stinging.
• Eye dryness or itching.
• Eye redness.
• Pain or inflammation.
• Crusts that form on the eyelashes.
• Inability to move the eye or blurred vision.
• Sensitivity to light.
• Tearing.

Sometimes, eyelid disorders are a symptom of another condition. For example, eyelid drooping may be the result of:

• Brain tumor or cancer.
• Diabetes.
• Injury.
• Stroke.

Contact your health care provider if you have eyelid problems that do not get better after a week, or if you experience:

• An unusual freckle, bump or growth on your eyelid that may change shape or color.
• Discharge.
• Eyelid drooping.
• The swelling and complete closing of the eyelid.



BLEPHAROSPASM


Blepharospasm is one common eyelid disorder. It causes the eyelid to have blinking spasms. The spasms often happen during the day and not while a person is sleeping. Blepharospasm is a form of dystonia, a movement disorder. It causes muscle contractions which result in sustained eyelid closure, twitching or repetitive movements. This can affect a person’s ability to see. The symptoms of blepharospasm begin slowly. The frequency of eye blinking often increases over time, especially when the eye is irritated. Eventually the eyelids may remain closed for long periods of time. Daily life can be greatly affected. Blepharospasm happens in both men and women. It is most common in middle-aged or elderly women. Treatment for blepharospasm may include:

• Botulinum toxin injections which relax the muscles and stop the spasms.
• Medicines.
• Surgery, either of the eye muscles or deep brain stimulation surgery.

Blepharospasm may worsen or expand to surrounding muscles. It may remain the same for many years. Rarely, the condition may improve suddenly on its own.



BLEPHARITIS


Blepharitis is the inflammation of the outer edges of the eyelids near the eyelashes. It happens when too much oil is made by the glands near the eyelids. Other possible causes of blepharitis include:

• Bacterial eye infections.
• Certain types of skin conditions, such as acne rosacea.
• Dry eyes.

Blepharitis can cause the following symptoms:

• A burning sensation.
• Blurred vision.
• Crusting.
• Frothy tears.
• Red and swollen eyelids.

It can be difficult to manage. This is because the condition often comes back after it is treated. Treatment for blepharitis focuses on home care, including:

• A special diet and nutritional supplements.
• Good hygiene.
• Scrubbing around the eyes with a clean washcloth or cotton swab.
• Warm compresses to loosen crusting.

Antibiotic ointment may also be prescribed. This can help get rid of the bacteria causing the blepharitis. Steroid eye drops or artificial tears can also be used. These help control inflammation and relieve dry eyes.

Eyelid Disorders

CANCER


Problems that affect the eyelid or the eyelid skin may be caused by cancer. Cancer begins in your cells, the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong and a tumor forms. If a tumor is cancer, cells from the tumor can invade other tissues throughout the body. Cancer cells can spread to different parts of the body through blood vessels and lymph channels. Types of cancer that may affect the eyelid include:

• Basal cell carcinoma.
• Squamous cell carcinoma.
• Sebaceous gland carcinoma.
• Malignant melanoma.

Malignant, or cancerous, eyelid tumors can damage the structure of the eyelid. They can also cause you to lose your eyelashes. Treatment for cancers that affect the eyelids may include:

• Surgery.
• Chemotherapy.
• Radiation therapy.
• Photodynamic therapy.
• Biological therapy.



OTHER EYELID DISORDERS


There are many other conditions that can affect the eyelids. This section discusses additional common eyelid disorders. Dry eye happens when the eye does not make tears correctly. Untreated, dry eye can cause inflammation, eye pain or scars on the cornea. It may also cause loss of vision. But this is not usually permanent. Dry eye can be a side effect of some medicines. It can also be caused by skin diseases on or around the eyelids and diseases that affect the glands in the eyelids. Artificial tears, gels and ointments are available over-the-counter to treat eyes that are dry or inflamed.

Use an indoor air cleaner to filter dust and other particles to help prevent dry eyes. A humidifier may also help by adding moisture to the air. Bacterial infections can affect the eye. For example, styes are red, tender bumps that happen on the eyelid. They are caused by a bacterial infection of the eyelid’s oil glands. Hordeola are swellings that happen under the eyelid. They are common and are caused by a staphylococcal infection. If an eyelid infection takes longer than 2 weeks to get better, antibiotics usually can treat it. Anti-inflammatory medicines can treat eyelid swelling. Medicines can also increase tear production and prevent damage to the cornea. As you age, your eyelids stretch. The tissue structures and muscles that support your eyelids weaken. The skin may start to sag. This may cause drooping eyelids. Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a procedure to repair droopy eyelids. It removes excess skin, muscle and fat. You might consider it if drooping or sagging eyelids:

• Keep your eyes from opening completely.
• Impair your vision.
• Pull your lower eyelids down.



SUMMARY


Your eyelids help protect your eyes. There are many disorders that can affect the eyelids. Disorders that affect your eyelid can lead to poor vision. They can also make it difficult for you to do daily activities, such as looking at a computer screen or reading. Common symptoms of disorders that affect the eyelids include:

• Burning or stinging.
• Eye dryness or itching.
• Eye redness.
• Pain or inflammation.

Blepharospasm is one common eyelid disorder. It causes the eyelid to have blinking spasms. Blepharitis is the inflammation of the outer edges of the eyelids near the eyelashes. It happens when too much oil is made by glands near the eyelids. Sometimes, eyelid disorders are a symptom of another condition. For example, eyelid drooping may be the result of:

• Brain tumor or cancer.
• Diabetes.
• Injury.
• Stroke.

Eyelid Disorders

Contact your health care provider if you have eyelid problems that do not get better after a week, or if you experience:

• An unusual freckle, bump or growth on your eyelid that may change shape or color.
• Discharge.
• Eyelid drooping.
• The swelling and complete closing of the eyelid.


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