As many people get older, the tissue on the white part of the eye, or the conjunctiva, can loosen and become slack. This can cause symptoms which is often confused for dry eyes such as tearing, constant foreign body sensation, burning, or blurred vision. The condition is called conjunctivochalasis and, for many people, it’s a cause for discomfort and sometimes vision issues.
With conjunctivochalasis, treatments such as artificial tears or eye drops may not help; it’s not a lack of moisture, but the folds from the tissue laxity that causes the problem. They can cause moisture to actually flow out of the eye, rather than coating it for comfort.
Occasionally, lubricating eyedrops or topical steroids may reduce the symptoms to a comfortable level. However, the way to correct this problem is a surgical procedure called conjunctivoplasty, or conjunctival revision surgery. Conjunctivoplasty is sometimes used as a cosmetic procedure to remove tissue with visible blood vessels and make the eye whiter.
In a conjunctivoplasty, the surgeon identifies the areas of the conjunctiva that need to be tightened. Two techniques may be used. The surgeon may use forceps to pull the excess tissue taut, then surgically remove it. Our surgeons use a technique that does not require sutures or cautery. Medical tissue glue is used to tighten and seal the incision after the excess conjunctiva is removed. In some instances, sutures may be required.
Conjunctivoplasty is an outpatient procedure that only requires local anesthesia. Recovery usually takes about two to four weeks, depending on how fast the eye heals. After the procedure, most patients notice a significant improvement in their symptoms.
When you schedule an eye exam at Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun, our cornea specialists will do a thorough evaluation to see of a conjunctivoplasty is the right procedure for you, or if another treatment plan will provide optimum results. To schedule an appointment, call (865) 584-0905.