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Ptosis Surgery (redo)

Seeking a second opinion in regard to son, age 16, who first had surgery for Ptosis at age five. Mom feels that he needs to have the surgery redone. He is exhibiting behaviors of eye poking and pushing at his eyelids. His physician is of the opinion that the behaviors are self-stimulating and that surgery is risky because any poking or pushing at the eye in the two-week period following surgery could result in long-term damage, even blindness. Mother feels that the benefits outweigh the risks. Can you comment?

The indications for Ptosis surgery are two-fold:

  1. Eyelids that are droopy to the point that they obstruct vision or that the child has to lift her/his chin so much to see under the lids that it impairs the ability to walk. This is easy to determine by the eye doctor.
  2. Cosmetically unacceptable appearance. This is a parental decision.

If the doctor feels that #1 is not satisfied, then surgery is not needed unless parents choose surgery for reason #2.

The symptom you describe (eye poking) is not a sign that the eyelids need to have surgery. Lid pushing can be a sign if the child is specifically lifting their upper lid (I have seen kids with CdLS do this) to see. This is usually obvious as the child will hold the lid up specifically to accomplish a visual task (not random lid lifting).

The doctor is absolutely correct that eye poking could be very harmful in the immediate postoperative period. If the wounds were to open you would have a much worse problem on your hands. However, if surgery is absolutely necessary, a helmet with eye visor can be worn while things are healing.

AL/TK 7-13-10



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