Dermatochalasis is the loosening of the skin around the eye or redundancy of upper or lower eyelid skin and muscle, also known as “baggy eyes.” Loose elastic fibers inside the eyelid may cause this condition. More specifically, this condition causes enlargement of the upper and lower eyelid, caused by either excess skin or loss of skin elasticity, according to webmd.com.
Dermatochalasis primarily affects the eyelid skin, but also the eyelash may be affected. All of these conditions come with specific symptoms. For example, a prominent upper eyelid may be accompanied by a headache. The eye itself may also experience irritation and visual impairment due to thickened mucous membranes inside the eye.
This condition primarily affects people above the age of 70. Due to the eyelid’s aging process, you can easily find this condition in the elderly population. But dermatochalasis may also affect young people, including infants, as premature aging or senile changes may cause this condition.
People with skin diseases like Ichthyosis and Netherton syndrome are more likely to develop this condition. People with a family history of dermatochalasis are also more likely to develop this condition, says nih.gov.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dermatochalasis?
The symptoms of dermatochalasis are usually the enlargement of the eyelids, but it is often accompanied by the symptoms below:
When the upper or lower eyelid is not sealed correctly, it allows bacteria and dust to enter the eye. When these bacteria and dust enter the eye, the eye’s mucous membranes may become irritated, leading to itching and irritation.
- Visual Impairment
Unsightly bags under the eyes may cause vision impairment through congestion. People with this condition cannot see as clearly as they would if their vision were normal.
- Accommodation Failure
Accommodation deficit is a condition in which the eyes close earlier than usual. This condition may be caused by the extra skin or mucous membrane, which can disturb the eye-muscle balance and cause blurring vision.
- Eye Discharge
Bacteria invade through the tear duct when it is not appropriately sealed. The bacteria cause eye discharge, such as itching and redness.
Accumulation of fats in between the eyelid skin and muscle causes this condition. This fat accumulation changes the shape of the eyelid, which may affect its movement.
- Bags’ or wrinkles in the lower eyelids
The bulging lower eyelids may cause fatigue, blurred vision, and red eyes, especially when the tear duct is exposed.
- Redness Of the eyelid
The redness of the eyelid may be caused by inflammation, irritation, and swelling. The irritation of the eye tissues may cause inflammation. This condition may also leave a permanent scar.
- Extra skin on the eyelid
When extra skin is present on the eyelid, it can cause extra pain when touching or rubbing your eyes. The extra skin also makes it difficult for people to apply make-up as it can cause attention to be drawn to this area.
What Causes Dermatochalasis?
- Premature aging
This condition is caused by premature aging, usually seen in the elderly. When a person gets older, they tend to experience loosening of their skin, including the eyelid. This causes the eye area to look saggy and droopy.
- Age-related degeneration of collagen
Age-related degeneration of collagen may be the cause of this condition. People with loose eyelid skin tend to develop a condition called blepharochalasis. Blepharochalasis is a similar condition that causes drooping of the eyelid and is also caused by age-related collagen degeneration.
- Loss of elastic tissue in the eyelid skin
In some cases, dermatochalasis is caused by deterioration of elastic tissue in the eyelid skin. The deterioration of elastic tissue may also cause baggy eyes.
- Chronic inflammation in the eye tissues
Inflammation may be caused by microbial infection, injury, and allergies. It may also cause against the eye tissues. This condition will leave permanent scars on the ocular surface when it becomes chronic.
- Hereditary factors and genetic inheritance
Hereditary factors are passed on to their children through genes. Inheriting this condition from one of your parents is very rare. But if you have a family history of dermatochalasis, your chance of developing this condition may be higher.
- Actinic exposure and smoking
If you are exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds for extended periods, it may cause this condition. Smokers are also more likely to develop this condition.
- Shirmer’s Test
Shirmer’s test measures basal tear secretion, identifies the presence of weeping and failing eyes and helps confirm the diagnosis.
- Examination of the eyelid skin
The doctor will check the skin of your eyelids. The doctor may also test for abnormalities by looking for lumps or bumps on the eyelid. The doctor will also determine if you have dry eyes by examining your tear ducts.
- Jones Test
The Jones test is the most effective way to detect eyelid movement. While doing the Jones test, the doctor will put an object between your eyes to see it. Then, the doctor will move the object around and finally stop it. This stops your eyelid movement.
How Is Dermatochalasis Treated?
This procedure is used to remove the extra eyelid skin. The doctor uses an instrument to cut away the excess skin and raises the eyelid. This procedure is usually done under local anesthesia with some sedation. Then the doctor sutures the eyelid. This procedure can be done for the upper or lower eyelid.
- Ptosis Surgery
If you have droopy eyelids, your doctor may suggest a ptosis surgery. Ptosis surgery is an eyelid surgery used to correct the droopy eyelid by making an incision on the lower eyelid and raising it. Some doctors may also use sutures and tape to raise the eyelid.
- Collagen Punctal Plugs
The doctor will insert a punctal plug into the tear duct. A Punctal plug is a thin, soft, flexible tube-like device placed into the duct to keep it open. This procedure helps to keep the duct open and prevent excess tearing and dry eyes.
In essence, dermatochalasis is a condition caused by abnormal skin in the eyelid area that is affected by excess skin or tissue. This extra skin can cause variable effects on the eyelid, such as wrinkled and loose eyelids.
Over time, this condition can cause pain as the excess skin, and tissue gradually loses their elasticity. This may also result in vision impairment, redness of the eyes, allergy symptoms, and other complications due to dryness of the eyes. For more information on dermatochalasis, its causes, and treatment methods, visit healthline.com.