Lagophthalmos is the inability to close, or poor closure of, the upper eyelid. It's a form of facial paralysis which affects the orbicularis muscle in the eyelid, and is usually (but not always) limited to one side of the face.
The eyelid plays a critical role in protecting the eye. When blinking and eyelid closure are impeded, there is an increased risk of they eye being injured. Inability to close the eye can cause dry and uncomfortable eyes, corneal ulceration, and loss of vision.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is usually done by an ophthalmologist
. If the paralysis is expected to last less than six months, eye drops
s are usually prescribed to help lubricate and protect the eye.
If the paralysis persists without improvement, surgery is an option. The most common procedure involves placing a small weight into the eyelid. The weight is usually made of pure gold, which is heavy and fairly inert. The weight allows gravity to pull the eye closed when the patient's muscles are relaxed, but does not affect his or her ability to open the eye. This procedure is usually done under local anaesthesia on an out-patient basis. Patients are usually asked to wear a patch to protect the eye for about a week after the operation.