Dermatochalasis is a condition that affects a significant portion of the population. While it most commonly affects middle-aged adults and the elderly, it can sometimes develop as early as 20 years of age. Also known as baggy eyes, the excess eyelid skin that causes the condition is potentially more problematic than a cosmetic concern. To learn about dermatochalasis, contact the office of Dr. Syed Ahmad in Plano, TX.
What is Dermatochalasis?
Dermatochalasis can affect both the upper and lower eyelids, although the upper eyelid is usually the most affected area. While the tired eye appearance caused by droopy eyelids can be cosmetically undesirable, the excess eyelid tissue can impair vision and diminish the quality of life for those with the condition. This is because the skin can droop over the eyeball, causing discomfort. The overlap of skin can cause other related conditions as well, including ocular irritation, eyelash interference, and inflammation of the eyelids and surrounding skin.
The cause of this disorder lies with the elastic fibers underneath the skin’s surface. The fibers become stretched, which is accompanied by the thinning and protrusion of the skin. Sometimes this skin actually lies on top of the lashes, so some patients are able to keep their eyes open only by keeping the brow elevated with the muscles of the forehead and scalp. This may lead to headaches and excessive fatigue, especially when reading. The upper portion of vision may also be cut off by this excessive tissue. The lower lids are also affected, but it doesn’t cause the functional problems that arise from the upper lids.
Dermatochalasis vs. Ptosis
A common misconception about dermatochalasis is that it is the same condition as ptosis. Ptosis is caused by a weakening of muscle that results in the upper eyelid drooping over the eye, while dermatochalasis is caused by excess skin, fat, or muscle in the eyelid area. Both conditions cause a similar appearance, but each requires a specific procedure to correct and should, therefore, only be diagnosed by a qualified professional.
Dermatochalasis can usually be improved with eyelid surgery. In this surgery, excess skin can be removed, and sometimes the muscle underlying the skin is also removed or adjusted. Occasionally deeper layers of fat are also removed. The surgery is customized based on the patient’s needs.