Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Seeing and Looking Your Best


By Peter Fries, M.D.

“The eyes are a window to the soul.” Proverb
“What the eye does not admire, the heart does not desire.” Proverb
“I Only Have Eyes For You.” The Flamingos
“Brown Eyed Girl.” Van Morrison

have been the theme of proverbs, songs, and poems for centuries. Your
eyes not only provide the function of seeing, but are also one of the
first things people notice about you. Unfortunately, your eyes are also
the first feature to show signs of aging. Hooded upper lids and sagging
lower lids can give you an older, tired appearance and in many cases
obstruct your field of vision. Fortunately, this can be fixed with a
common outpatient procedure that can improve appearance and vision.

upper eyelid functions as both a squeegee for the eye, spreading and
smoothing tears over the cornea to achieve good vision and avoiding
dryness, and as a protective barrier for the eye to help avoid trauma or
injury. If the upper eyelid droops, called ptosis, it may block the
pupil causing limited field of vision, especially to the side or up.
Blurred vision is common. Using a finger to lift the droopy eyelid
immediately improves eyesight and peripheral vision.

Ptosis most
commonly occurs due to stretching of the lifting muscle of the upper
eyelid. The stretching can be due to repeated injury or trauma, frequent
eyelid infections and swelling, and excessive lid rubbing, but mostly
is due to aging alone. Ptosis may also occur from pregnancy, birth
defect, eye surgery, and can be associated with certain nerve disorders.
Nearly all ptosis is corrected by shortening the stretched or weak
lifting muscle in surgery.

The skin can also stretch under the eye
causing bags to form on the lower lids and may limit your side vision in
the upper eyelid. The procedure to remove this excess skin and fatty
tissue is called blepharoplasty.

These eyelid procedures are
typically performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The
eyes are not bandaged shut and vision is quite normal enabling reading
and other activities to be enjoyed during the convalescence. There is
swelling and bruising of the eyelid after surgery. Most of this is gone
within 5-7 days but can persist for up to 14 days in individuals that
bruise easily.

The decision to have aesthetic eyelid surgery can be
extremely rewarding, clearing central blurry vision, restoring normal
peripheral vision, and improving the cosmetic appearance of the eyelids.
Careful preoperative attention to eyelid abnormalities, associated brow
problems, any potential eye or physical maladies, and dialogue with the
surgeon about the planned surgery and its outcome yields the most
satisfying and lasting results. If the minimum criteria of vision loss
is met, insurance will cover these procedures. However, if the
improvements are only related to appearance, than the procedure will be
considered elective. As with any surgery, there are risks. Please make
sure to discuss these with your doctor. Then you can begin enjoying
better vision and a more alert youthful appearance; and who knows, you
may become the inspiration for, or serenaded with, songs like Frankie
Valli’s Can’t take my eyes off of you.

Dr. Peter Fries, with
Eye Surgeons Associates, is certified by the American Board of
Ophthalmology and completed a fellowship in Ophthalmic Plastic and
Reconstructive Surgery. He practices at our Bettendorf and Rock Island
offices. For more information please visit our website at