What Is Floppy Eyelid Syndrome
Our eyes and their health are crucial to going about our day to day life, as vision is one of the 5 senses! However, there are many eye conditions that can affect the health of our eyes and can be uncomfortable, painful, or just simply a nuisance. One of these is floppy eyelid syndrome. If your upper lid tends to flip over, especially in sleep, you likely have this condition and should consult your eye doctor.
Below, we will go over floppy eyelid syndrome, as well as some of its causes and how it can be treated.
Floppy Eyelid Syndrome
As the name suggests, floppy eyelid syndrome occurs when the upper lids of a person’s eye turn inward or flip over. Often, this happens while you are sleeping. It is caused by the loss of elastin in the skin of the eyelid and in the tarsal plate causing a loose upper eyelid. Elastin can be lost through repeated manual stress, like rubbing your eyes. The usual person suffering from floppy eyelid syndrome is older and overweight, though this can occur in younger individuals—it is simply less common for them. The eyelid can easily become everted and turned upward throughout the day, due to the rubbery and loss of eyelid laxity.
Causes of Floppy Eyelid Syndrome
There are a few different things that can commonly lead to this eye condition, and they are not typically issues that can be helped—though there are ways to treat the eye condition if you develop it!
Read on to learn more about the various causes of floppy eyelid syndrome.
Decrease In Elastin
The first thing that can trigger floppy eyelid syndrome is a significant decrease in elastin, in either the tarsal plate or the skin of the eyelid—or both. Usually, this happens due to repeated mechanical stress. If you are sleeping face down, for example, the rubbing of the eyes against the pillow can induce mechanical stress. Often, the side of the face on which a person sleeps is the eye that is affected by floppy eye syndrome. It can affect both of the eyes as well.
Poor Contact With Eye Globe
Another potential cause of floppy eye syndrome is when there is not sufficient contact between the floppy or upper eyelid laxity with the globe of the eye. This, plus the abnormalities of tear films and meibomian glands, can contribute to floppy eye syndrome. The rapid evaporation or deterioration of tears is an example of a tear film abnormality that can affect the eye and contribute to this particular eye condition.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Last, but not least, is obstructive sleep apnea. This condition is often linked to floppy eyelid syndrome, as it can contribute to local eyelid ischaemia—which can then have to do with developing floppy upper eyelid syndrome. The hypoventilation of obstructive sleep apnea may exacerbate local eyelid ischaemia. Many of the patients who have obstructive sleep apnea syndrome also have floppy eyelid syndrome, or develop it if their sleep apnea is left untreated.
Floppy Eyelid Syndrome Treatment
Now that you are more knowledgeable about symptomatic floppy eyelid syndrome, you may be wondering how it is dealt with. It can be treated and reversed, but this is largely dependent upon the severity of each case—so it is important to consult your eye doctor when you begin seeing symptoms of this eye condition. Minor cases can often be treated with less extreme methods. Your eye doctor may suggest changes in diet and working on weight loss, or changing certain sleep habits. If your floppy eye syndrome is more severe, however, you will likely need to undergo surgical treatment to reverse it. This involves a surgical tightening of the eyelids.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get rid of floppy eye syndrome?
Floppy upper eyelid syndrome is something that can be treated, luckily. To get rid of this eye condition, eye shields and ointments can be implemented when sleeping. This will work for milder cases and will prevent overnight eversions. Changes in diet and weight loss can also help to get rid of floppy eye syndrome. However, if the patient is suffering from a more severe case of floppy eye syndrome, then they will likely need to have surgical tightening of the eyelid.
How do you get floppy eyelid syndrome?
Floppy eyelid syndrome, or floppy eyelid syndrome, as it is sometimes known, is an eye condition that is tied to the elasticity of one’s eyelid. The loss of elastin in the tarsal plate and eyelid skin is what can lead to a floppy eyelid. It is important to note that it is a significant amount of elastin lost that will lead to floppy eyelid syndrome—not just a little bit. Repeated mechanical stress can cause the loss of elastin. Some examples of this are rubbing your eyes or certain sleeping habits.
Is floppy eye syndrome reversible?
If you are dealing with floppy upper eyelids, you likely want to get rid of it. Luckily, this is not an eye condition that cannot be reversed! Floppy eye syndrome can be treated, and there are a few different methods of doing so. How it is treated is dependent upon the severity of your case. In severe cases, it will be necessary to have surgery to tighten the eye and address the problem. More minor cases, though, can be addressed by changing diet or sleep habits, such as the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea.
Why does sleep apnea cause floppy eyelid syndrome?
Interestingly, sleep apnea can be one of the causes of floppy upper eyelid syndrome. It may seem that these two conditions are not related at all. However, sleep apnea is linked to connective tissue weakness, and so is floppy eyelid syndrome. In floppy eye syndrome, the upper lids of the eye evert with upward traction, or do so spontaneously during sleep. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, comes about when a person’s neck thickness changes or there are changes to their connective tissue. Many people who already have sleep apnea also have—or will develop—floppy eyelid syndrome, too.
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