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The eyelids play an important part in protecting the eyes. They may be prone to various types of disease, congenital problems or age-related changes, which may lead to functional and/or cosmetic issues.
Certain conditions are common:
Cysts and chalazions are benign growths on the eyelid that may cause significant cosmetic and functional issues (preventing the eye from opening, causing swelling, etc.) that require treatment by an ophthalmologist.
Eyelid tumours are lesions found on the skin. They are caused by an abnormal increase in eyelid skin-cells. They may be either malignant or benign, and for this reason it is necessary to carry out biopsies on some tumours in order to determine their nature.
Ptosis is described as a more or less marked drooping of the upper eyelid. It may be unilateral, if it affects only one eye, or bilateral if both eyes are affected. It is generally due to damage to the levator muscle in the upper eyelid.
Dermatochalasis is the term for an excess of loose skin that droops over the eyelids (most commonly the upper eyelids) as a result of a weakening of the tissues linked to age. The eyelids become partially or completely covered by this excess skin. In some cases, the skin may contain fatty tissue. If the drooping skin occurs on the lower lid, it forms pouches under the eyes (under-eye bags).
Ectropion is a condition that is generally linked to age, in which the eyelid turns outwards. In other words, the lower eyelid gradually sags away from the surface of the eyeball and hangs forward. This leaves the cornea exposed to the air.
Entropion is the opposite of ectropion: it is when the edge of the eyelid turns inwards. As with ectropion, it generally affects the lower eyelid. In the case of entropion, the eyelashes begin to rub against the surface of the eye, causing discomfort, irritation, redness or abrasion of the cornea.
The most common symptoms include irritation, itching, dryness of the eye, impaired vision, watery eyes and varying degrees of eye pain. Eyelid disorders are most often caused by weakening or sagging of the eyelid tissues, but there are other issues such as localized injury, tumours or congenital malformation, that can also cause this type of condition.
For the most part, the treatments available for eyelid disorders have a dual goal: on the one hand they are intended to restore normal functioning to the eyelid, and on the other they aim to improve the cosmetic appearance of the face.
Ptosis: Treatment for ptosis is usually surgical and relies on two main techniques. The first technique involves shortening the levator muscle and reattaching the upper eyelid to this muscle. The second technique entails suspending the lid from the brow muscles in order to raise it.
Dermatochalasis: The surgical procedure used to treat this condition is upper-eyelid blepharoplasty. This involves removing the excess skin, as well as excess fat in some cases if necessary.
Ectropion: This is also treated surgically. The surgery is intended to bring the eyelid back into contact with the surface of the eye. In order to achieve this, the lid is carefully shortened and then reattached to the bone near the eye.
Entropion: An operation is generally recommended in order to tighten the muscles surrounding the eyelid.
Lesions: Treatment mainly depends on the type of tumour. An operation carried out in one or two stages may be advised. The aim of the operation is to first completely remove the lesion, and subsequently to reconstruct the eyelid so as to retain the harmony of the face.
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