What is Lagophthalmos?

If you have trouble blinking or closing your eyes, you may have a medical condition called lagophthalmos. This condition can affect one or both eyes.

This can further escalate to another eye-related discomfort like increased tear production, dry eyes, redness, pain and irritation, if left untreated.

If your eyes remain open while sleeping, they can dry out. Without enough lubrication, the eyes are more susceptible to infections and can become scratched and damaged.

What are the symptoms of Lagophthalmos?

While suffering Lagophthalmos you may experience the following in your eyes:

  • Redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritation or a burning sensation
  • Scratchiness in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Feeling as if something is in the eye or rubbing against it
  • Poor sleep quality


What causes Lagophthalmos?

Problems with the facial muscles, nerves, or skin around the eyelids, can all cause Lagophthalmos.

Conditions that can lead to muscle weakness or paralysis of the facial nerves include:

  • Bell's palsy
  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome
  • Trauma, Injury, or Surgery can also result in damage and paralysis of facial muscles and nerves.

How is Lagophthalmos treated?

The treatment of Lagophthalmos has 2 primary goals

  • 1. Measures to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications
  • 2. Treat the underlying cause, whenever possible

To prevent complications:

Conservative measures include

  • Regular use of topical lubricants to keep the eye moist and comfortable
  • Taping the eye closed
  • Botulinum toxin injection to induce Ptosis/ drooping of the upper eyelid
  • Punctual plugs
  • Temporary tarsorrhaphy (stitching the eyelids together

Surgical Treatment options include

If the defects are permanent, surgery may be required to protect the eye by correcting the lagophthalmos, reduce the watering, and improve the symmetry of the eyelids and face. Dr.Sneha will choose one or a combination of procedures best suited to you.

  • Permanent tarsorrhaphy- is a simple procedure to partially close the eye, allowing the eye to see while improving eye closure.
  • Ectropion correction- to reposition the outturned lower eyelid, hence reducing discomfort and watering and improving eye closure.
  • Gold weight implant- to the upper eyelid. It weighs the lid down, assisting in lid closure
  • Browpexy- to support and lift the eyebrow, to improve facial symmetry and prevent hooding of brow tissue over the eyeild

What does surgery entail?

The surgeries are usually performed as a day-case procedure, under local anesthesia. Stiches, if any, come out in a weeks time. Most patients are able to return to their daily activities within a few days, althought full healing may take upto 6 weeks.