What conditions can impact your eyelid and tear duct?

Some of the most common eyelid and tear duct conditions we can help with include:

Dry eye

What are the symptoms?

You’ll usually have symptoms in both eyes, with the most common including:

  • Gritty or itchy eyes

  • A stinging or burning sensation

  • Red eye

  • Blurry vision

  • Despite the name, dry eye can make your eyes very watery

What are the causes?

Tears play an important role in keeping the eye’s surface healthy. Sometimes your eyes don’t produce enough tears or they can dry up quickly, which can lead to dry eyes.

Other common causes of dry eye include:

  • Blocked oil glands in the eyelid

  • An inflammation of the eyelid, called blepharitis

  • Age (more common in over 50s)

  • Wearing contact lenses

  • Following some eye surgeries, like laser

  • Being in an air-conditioned environment

  • Side effects of some medications

How is it diagnosed?

If you have dry eye symptoms, your optometrist or GP will have a good look at your eyes to check for signs of certain conditions or to find out the cause. If your dry eye is more severe, they’ll refer you on to specialists like us to explore more treatment options to help with your symptoms.

How is it treated?

Most cases of dry eye can be helped with regular use of moisturising eye drops or eye ointment. In severe cases, you might need more specialist medication or surgery to help with your symptoms.

How do I get referred?

Find out how

Eyelid lumps and bumps

What are the symptoms?

There are a variety of conditions that can show up as eyelid lumps and bumps. Symptoms can range from a painful and red infection in the eyelid (like a stye) or a very slow development of a painless lump in or on the edge of the eyelid.

What are the causes?

Some lumps appear because of an infection in the eyelid.

A stye is an infected hair follicle in one of the eyelashes and appears quickly. It can feel sore, but it does tend to settle quickly once treated.

A chronic eyelid infection, such as blepharitis, is also linked with the development of inflamed, blocked glands in the eyelid. These are known as chalazions and can take longer to settle or may need some minor surgery.

Other lumps produce fluid-filled cysts in the eyelid, which are often harmless. If they bother you, then minor surgery can be an option to remove them.

Although not as common, it’s also possible to develop skin tumours on the eyelid, which will require specialist surgery to make sure any serious problems are prevented. Your optometrist is trained to spot these and they’ll make sure you’re referred as quickly as possible if they think this is the case.

How are they diagnosed?

Your optometrist will be able to diagnose eyelid lumps and bumps. If they need a further specialist opinion or think you might need treatment, they’ll refer you on to a specialist like us.

How are they treated?

The majority of lumps and bumps on the eyelids are harmless and resolve on their own, but if they’re getting in the way or bothering you, then they can be removed with a small procedure under local anaesthetic. Sometimes lumps and bumps might need some additional testing just to make sure there’s nothing else going on.

Misdirected eyelashes (trichiasis)

What are the symptoms?

Trichiasis causes the eyelashes to grow inward or misdirected towards the eye, and can cause symptoms such as:

  • Constant feeling of something in your eye

  • Watery, red or painful eye

  • Sensitivity to light (called photophobia)

What are the causes?

Misdirected eyelashes can happen for a number of reasons. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Injury to the eye (like a burn)

  • Eyelid inflammation

  • A loss of the eyelid’s normal elasticity with age (known as entropion)

  • Having an extra row of eyelashes (known as distichiasis)

How is it diagnosed?

Sometimes you’re able to see a misdirected lash in the mirror, but your optometrist will be able to spot and diagnose eyelash problems quickly.

How is it treated?

It can help to simply remove an eyelash, but sometimes they can just grow back in the same place. If they cause persistent, bothersome symptoms, often the best treatment is with what’s known as electrolysis. This involves using a small probe under local anaesthetic to permanently remove an eyelash and the follicle where it grows from.

Drooping eyelid (ptosis)

What are the symptoms?

Some people have droopy skin in their upper eyelid, which can increase with age. This can run in families too. The position of the eyelid is still okay, but the droopy skin can cause a hooded look that might be bothersome. This is known as blepharochalasis.

What are the causes?

Ptosis can be present at birth but often happens later in life as the eyelid muscles stretch with age. It can also be associated with trauma after eye surgery. Less commonly, ptosis is caused by problems with the lid muscles themselves or their nerve supply.

How is it diagnosed?

Your optometrist is your best port of call to check out drooping eyelids, so if you think your eyelid is getting droopy, get in touch with them.

How is ptosis treated?

Surgery for a drooping eyelid typically involves shortening the muscles or tendons that lift the upper eyelid. Using tiny stiches, the muscle is reattached to your eyelid. The stitches might be visible on the skin of your eyelids for a short time but are removed about one week after surgery.

If there’s excess skin, then this can be trimmed at the same time as your surgery. The surgery is very straightforward and doesn’t need any muscle tightening – any excess skin is removed, and the upper lid is stitched to help reduce the hooded appearance. This can be considered a cosmetic procedure, so it might not be covered by the NHS or with private health insurance.

Outward turning eyelid (ectropion)

What are the symptoms?

This can affect one or both eyes and happens when the lower eyelid turns outward and away from the eye. Ectropion disrupts the drainage of tears, which make the eye sore, gritty, red or watery and more vulnerable to infections, such as conjunctivitis.

What are the causes?

Most cases are associated with ageing as the muscles in the eyelids become a bit weaker. Less common causes of ectropion include problems with the nerves that control the eyelid, or damage to the skin around the eyelid.

How is it diagnosed?

Your optometrist will be able to diagnose an outward turning eyelid with a careful clinical examination.

How is it treated?

Mild cases may not need any treatment, but your optometrist might suggest using eye drops during the day and eye ointment at night to help relieve symptoms of grittiness and soreness.

If surgery is required, it’s a fairly minor procedure carried out under local anaesthetic and takes up to 45 minutes. This involves tightening the eyelid to improve its appearance.

Inward turning eyelid (entropion)

What are the symptoms?

This happens when the edge of the lower eyelid turns inwards and makes the eyelashes touch or rub against the surface of the eye, causing irritation. This irritation can cause red, watery eyes and sometimes blurry vision.

What are the causes?

Most cases are associated with ageing as the muscles in the eyelids become a bit weaker and the eyelid becomes more floppy. It can also happen after inflammation or injury that causes scarring to the eyelid.

How is it diagnosed?

Your optometrist will be able to diagnose an inward turning eyelid with a careful clinical examination.

How is it treated?

There are some measures that can temporarily help with the symptoms of entropion, like taping the eyelid to the cheek to keep the eyelashes away from the eye’s surface or using eye drops and ointments. But often, you’ll be referred to an ophthalmologist for surgery to tighten or reposition the eyelid and prevent it from turning inwards.

What is eyelid and tear duct surgery?

Medically known as oculoplastic and lacrimal surgery, this describes a variety of procedures that focus on disorders of the eyelids and tear ducts. These types of eye conditions can affect your vision, eye comfort and eye health as well as your appearance – so often, surgery is an option to relieve bothersome symptoms.

What are the benefits of eyelid and tear duct surgery?

Having surgery for these types of conditions should make your eyes feel more comfortable, with irritating symptoms like watery and sticky-feeling eyes. It should also help to improve the appearance of your eye.

What are the possible complications?

Although the vast majority of patients won’t experience any complications, as with all surgery there are some risks of complications. Our team will discuss these with you in detail at your appointment and will make sure you’re happy to go ahead with treatment.

How much do eyelid and tear duct surgeries cost?

These types of surgeries are often available on the NHS. That means that if you opt to get your NHS treatment at Newmedica, all your appointments and procedures will be fully covered, with no additional cost to you.

If you’d rather go private, each surgery is different and tailored to your specific needs. You’ll have more choice about when you’ll have your surgery and which consultant will do the procedure for you. If you have any questions about available treatments or you’d like a full price list for eyelid and tear duct surgeries, please get in touch with us.

FAQs

Where can I get private eyelid and tear duct surgery near me?

You can find your nearest Newmedica clinic that provides this service here.

How do I get referred?

Your optician or GP will discuss the various treatment options available to you and where you can choose to have your treatment. You’ll be able to take the time to decide where you’d like to be treated, and your GP or optician will make the arrangements for your referral to Newmedica.

If you’d prefer to go the private route, you can get in touch with us directly. If you have private medical insurance, they might want some more information before you make your claim. You can find all the details on our private referral page.

Find your nearest clinic

Barlborough

Unit 1B and 1C Midland Place, Barlborough Links, Chesterfield, S43 4F

NHS Private
Brigg

Riverside Surgery, Barnard Avenue, Brigg, DN20 8AS

NHS Private
Bristol Aztec West

Building 720, Waterside Drive, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4UD

NHS Private
Gloucester Aspen

Aspen Medical Centre, Horton Road, Gloucester, GL1 3PX

NHS Private
Gloucester Brighouse

19D Brighouse Court, Barnwood, Gloucester, GL4 3RT

NHS Private
Grimsby

Cromwell Primary Care Centre, 1st Floor, Cromwell Road, Grimsby, DN31 2BH

NHS Private
Ipswich

London House, Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, IP2 0EE

NHS Private (unavailable)
Langford

Mendip Vale Medical Centre, Pudding Pie Lane, Langford, BS40 5EL

NHS Private
Leeds

St Martins House, 210 Chapeltown Road, Leeds, LS7 4HZ

NHS Private
Lincoln

North Hykeham Health Centre, Moor Lane, North Hykeham, Lincoln, LN6 9BA

NHS Private (unavailable)
Middlesbrough

29-30 Market Place, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, TS3 6HR

NHS Private
Swindon

Swindon NHS Health Centre, 1 Islington Street, Swindon, SN1 2DQ

NHS Private
Wakefield

106 Barnsley Road, Wakefield, WF1 5NX

NHS Private
Worksop

The Dukeries, 31-33 Retford Road, Worksop, S80 2PU

NHS Private

Getting referred to Newmedica

If you think you have an eye condition, you should see your optician or GP for a detailed assessment. They’ll go through all the options available and tell you where can have your treatment.

The referral process will differ slightly depending on whether you want to be an NHS or private patient. You’ll find all the information you need on our NHS and private patient pages.

Are you a health care professional?
Find out how to refer a patient.

NHS patients

Learn more about our NHS services
and how you can be referred.

Read more

Private patients

Find details about our private
options and how to get started.

Read more

Self-referring? Call 0800 4096 792

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