Wed, Mar 19, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Eye-rubbing makes eyelids sag: doctors

HANDS OFF:Rubbing your eyes or pulling your eyelids to put on contact lenses can damage the muscles that lift the eyelids, and might even necessitate surgery

By Hung Su-ching  /  Staff reporter

Rubbing your eyes or pulling at your eyelids may lead to sagging eyelids, doctors warned.

Changhua Christian Hospital plastic surgeon Shih Po-chun (施博淳) said a male patient surnamed Wu (吳) recently came to the hospital saying his eyelids had become saggy, changing dramatically over the past six months.

Wu said his colleagues had reacted by asking him whether he suffered from a disease in which the immune system starts to attack tissue or muscle, causing weakness.

Shih said Wu had been using an eye ointment frequently, and over a long period of time, which caused a significant amount of weeping. This led to his unconscious eye-rubbing.

After diagnosis, Shih said Wu’s long-term eye-rubbing caused the muscle in his right eye that elevates the lid to become fractured and an associated muscle in his left eye to become loose, causing his eyelids to droop.

As a consequence, he had to use the muscles on his forehead to keep his eyelids open.

Shih recommended surgery to solve Wu’s problem.

Wu said he began using the new eye ointment as a treatment for glaucoma.

Hospital ophthalmologist Chen San-ni (陳珊霓) said the reasons for sagging eyelids are mainly related to aging and physique.

The muscles that are responsible for pulling up the eyelids weaken as people age and become droopy, she said, adding that as the forehead muscles also loosen, the eyelids will appear more saggy.

Treatment options include tightening the upper eyelid through surgery or undergoing an endoscopic facelift to lift the forehead, if the muscles start to droop from the eyebrows.

Chen said some people experience sagging eyelids much earlier than others because of differences in physique or daily habits — including frequent eye-rubbing caused by itchiness due to allergies or makeup, or pulling the eyelids when putting on or taking off contact lenses.

Chen said it is better to only pull down the lower eyelids when using eye drops.

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