Dermatochalasis is a medical condition that is characterized by an excess of slack, droopy skin on either the upper or lower eyelid, although it more often affects the upper. Although they often occur together, it is not the same as blepharitis, which is a drooping of the eyelid itself. Dermatochalasis is more prevalent in those older than 40, but can occur at any age. It is typically caused by the loss of elasticity and gradual weakening of connective tissues in the skin that come with aging. Although it tends to run in families, it can be a secondary effect of certain systemic diseases, trauma or prior surgery.
Effects of Dermatochalasis
In some cases, dermatochalasis affects eye function. The excess skin can block a portion of the visual field, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. To increase the field of vision, sufferers may continually raise their eyebrows, which can lead to chronic headaches. Dermatochalasis can also result in the eyes' becoming dry or irritated; an inward turning of the upper eyelid; an outward turning of the lower eyelid; and dermatitis. Even in cases in which it does not result in medical problems, sufferers are often unhappy with the puffiness and bags it causes.
Treatment of Dermatochalasis
The standard treatment for dermatochalasis is blepharoplasty, which tightens eyelid muscles and tissue, and removes excess fat and skin. If dermatochalasis is not causing vision problems, surgery is usually unnecessary, unless it is requested for cosmetic reasons.