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What Is Lagophthalmos hero

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What Is Lagophthalmos?

Lagophthalmos refers to the incomplete closure of the eyelids and can produce symptoms similar to dry eye syndrome, such as dry, itchy, watery eyes. In extreme cases, it can cause corneal ulcers.

There are several types of lagophthalmos, ranging from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:

  • Increased tearing
  • Dryness
  • Irritation
  • The sensation that something is stuck in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain, especially in the morning

A visit with Dr. Dennis Smith can determine if lagophthalmos is causing or contributing to your dry eye symptoms.

Types of Lagophthalmos

grayscale photo of woman covering her face by her handBlink Lagophthalmos

When the eyelids don’t fully close during a blink, this is called “blink lagophthalmos.” Blinking keeps the eyes lubricated by spreading the tear film evenly along the eyes’ surface. An incomplete blink can lead to dry spots on the eye and other uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. Colliding eyelashes or tasks that require a high level of focus (such as working on a computer) can contribute to blink lagophthalmos.

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

Nocturnal lagophthalmos occurs during sleep, so people with this condition may be unaware they have it. One common cause of this type of lagophthalmos is a decrease in fatty tissue behind the eyeball. Less cushioning causes the eye to sink further into the socket, making it more difficult for the lids to completely close. The fatty tissue can deteriorate for several reasons, including the presence of an autoimmune disease.

Paralytic Lagophthalmos

Paralytic lagophthalmos results from a paralyzed cranial nerve, thus preventing the eyelids from complete closure. Paralysis of the seventh cranial nerve can be caused by Bell’s palsy, tumors, or trauma.

Iatrogenic lagophthalmos

This is when the eyes can’t fully close due to medical treatment. Medical procedures that can cause lagophthalmos include Botox injections and sutures near the eye.

How Your Eye Doctor Can Help

There are several ways to treat lagophthalmos, and sometimes surgery may be necessary. It’s best to first visit Dr. Dennis Smith to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and try the least invasive and safest treatments before resorting to surgery. If left untreated, lagophthalmos can result in corneal damage.

If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms of any kind, an eye exam at River Place Vision Center can help determine the underlying condition so that a tailor-made treatment plan can provide long-lasting relief. Dry eye relief extends far beyond the options available at your local drugstore. The friendly staff at River Place Vision Center make it their mission to provide the highest quality care for their patients. Get the relief you seek — book your appointment today.

Our practice serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.
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Dry Eye After LASIK

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Dry Eye After LASIK

Many individuals with refractive errors like nearsightedness choose LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery to correct their vision due to its safety and effectiveness. But dry eyes are a remarkably common after-effect of LASIK surgery, affecting up to 95% of patients who’ve undergone this procedure. In fact, dry eye symptoms are the primary reason for patient dissatisfaction after LASIK. Although symptoms of dry eye syndrome (DES) most commonly occur in the immediate postoperative phase and are generally only temporary in nature, some individuals develop chronic and severe DES that can negatively impact their quality of life.

twin femalesWhat Is DES?

Dry eye syndrome is a multifactorial condition that is characterized by a chronic lack of ocular lubrication, which can be caused by poor quality tears, insufficient tears, pollution, allergies, or irritants.

Some symptoms of DES include, but are not limited to:

  • Redness
  • A feeling of dryness or irritation
  • Grittiness – the sensation that something is stuck in the eye
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)

To learn more about DES, visit our main Dry Eye page.

How Can LASIK Lead To Dry Eye?

During the LASIK procedure, some of the cornea’s nerves are cut, leading to reduced corneal sensitivity. The eye may respond to the decreased sensitivity by not sensing the need for lubrication, thereby producing fewer tears. This reduction in tear production is usually the culprit in post-LASIK DES.

LASIK surgeons are now aware that healthy tears promote healing following surgery. For this reason they perform certain screening tests prior to the procedure to ensure that DES will not significantly interfere with the outcome of LASIK.

What Are Risk Factors For Post-LASIK Dry Eye?

The following conditions increase a person’s risk of developing DES after undergoing LASIK surgery:

  • Having a high degree of myopia
  • Being above the age of 50
  • Being a female, especially post-menopausal
  • Having an autoimmune disease, such as Sjorgen’s syndrome
  • Living in a dry climate

How We Can Help Manage Your Symptoms

If you’ve undergone LASIK or are considering it for the future, know that we are here to help treat your DES symptoms, should any arise? At River Place Vision Center, we provide dry eye relief to many patients who’ve had refractive surgeries and have helped make the healing process more comfortable. You don’t have to live with the discomfort of dry eye syndrome — speak with Dr. Dennis Smith about finding long-lasting relief.

Our practice serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.

Resources

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 512-343-2020
Learn More About Dry Eye
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Lagophthalmos and Dry Eye

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