Open your eyes: why you should choose an eyelid specialist

Written by: Miss Vickie Lee
Edited by: Sarah Sherlock

Eyelids are very delicate and complex, requiring a specialist with a special set of skills. Highly-experienced consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon Miss Vickie Lee describes what we need to know about eyelid surgery and why a specialist is important.


oculoplastic eyelid surgery


What is an ophthalmic or oculoplastic surgeon? 

Ophthalmic or oculoplastic surgeons are specialists known as ophthalmologists who also have an expertise dealing with eyelids. Before this, they have many years of training as an eye surgeon. Following this, advanced training is required to specialise in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery for the complex, delicate anatomy and function of the eyelids and surrounding structures. The tear duct system and the bony cavity around the eye (the orbit) are also included.



Can other surgeons do eyelid surgery?

Plastic surgeons, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeons, and maxillofacial surgeons are some of the various surgeons that may perform cosmetic eyelid surgery. However, none have undergone as many years of ophthalmic training as oculoplastic surgeons to be able to manage any and all the complications that involve the eye itself.


Another benefit of an oculoplastic surgeon is their goal to attain the correct balance between aesthetics and conserving the vision and comfort of eyes.



What can go wrong with eyelid surgery?

As mentioned, the anatomy of the eyelids is complex and delicate, with the eyelid skin being the thinnest in the body. Opening and closing of the eyelid muscles are to support clear vision, maintain ocular comfort, and provide protection. In conjunction with the functional purpose, eyelids are integral to facial expressions.


The smallest of complications from eyelid surgery can result in:


  • blurred vision
  • watery or dry gritty eyes
  • incomplete eyelid closure
  • corneal abrasions (scratches to the surface of the eyes)
  • bruising or bleeding behind the eye
  • wound infection
  • sunken appearance if too much tissue has been removed
  • asymmetry
  • scarring


Vision may also be affected by many of these. Avoiding these complications and treating them appropriately if they occur is an oculoplastic surgeon’s main priority.


oculoplastic eyelid surgery


What types of surgery can an oculoplastic surgeon perform?

A thorough assessment of what can be accomplished and managing a patient's expectations are important parts of an oculoplastic surgeon's function. An oculoplastic surgeon can:


If the eye has been lost, an oculoplastic surgeon can improve the image of the eye socket and make the artificial eye look more natural.



If you have noticed any conditions mentioned in this article, you can arrange a consultation with Miss Vickie Lee via her Top Doctors profile.

By Miss Vickie Lee

Miss Vickie Lee is a highly established, esteemed consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon who currently practises at Imperial College and London North West Healthcare NHS Trusts. She is also an honorary senior lecturer at the Imperial College School of Medicine. 

A Cambridge University graduate, she undertook training in London before taking up her NHS consultant post in 2002. She has an extensive interest in orbital trauma and thyroid eye disease, and specialises in treatment of all eyelid conditions (including cosmetic), watering and dry eyes, and is part of a small group of lacrimal specialists who are highly experienced in performing endonasal dacryocystorhinstomy for tear duct obstruction. She also works closely with an extensive network of leading specialists from other medical and surgical disciplines to ensure her patients can access the best multi-disciplinary care possible.
Alongside her clinical work, Miss Lee is dedicated to education, both for the medical students at Imperial College and for the future generation of ophthalmologists. She has been an invited lecturer at many national and international conferences and has published original research in many peer-reviewed journals. She is a founding member and executive committee member of the British Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery Society (BOPSS).
Miss Lee is recognised by all major medical insurance schemes.

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