elderly woman closeup on drooping eyes

Oculoplastics: Your Vision and Eye Health are More than Just About Your Eyes

Many people incorrectly assume that as eye care professionals, we only treat your eyes. In fact, if they adversely impact your vision or eye health, we can also directly treat issues related to your eye sockets, eyelashes, eyelids, tear ducts, and brows. These facial features support and protect your eyes so when these structures are no longer doing their job, due to disease, accident, or aging, a special kind of ophthalmologist called an oculoplastic doctor can diagnose and recommend specialized treatment options.

What is Oculoplastics?

Oculoplastics (pronounced OCK-YOU-LO-plastics), is a subspecialty of ophthalmology and an oculoplastic surgeon can provide plastic and reconstructive surgery that focuses on the eyelids and the structures surrounding the eye, including the tear ducts (lacrimal system), the orbit, and areas surrounding the eyeballs.

The goal of this subspecialty is to improve your vision and your quality of life.

Are you a Candidate for Oculoplastic Surgery?

Age, trauma, disease, or hereditary conditions of your supporting eye structures can impact your vision and eye health. When they do, your eye doctor may recommend you book an appointment with an oculoplastic specialist.

Medical conditions that may result in needing an oculoplastic specialist include:

  • Drooping eyelids from aging can affect your peripheral vision
  • Eyelids turned in can cause your eyelashes to irritate your eye and result in too frequent tearing
  • Eye injuries can shatter eye sockets requiring reconstruction
  • Obstructed tear ducts can limit your eye’s ability to lubricate and protect your eyes
  • Abnormal growths in eyelids due to cancer or disease can impact vision and may need removal

An oculoplastic surgeon can also help counteract the natural effects of aging, heredity, and gravity, or even excessive exposure to the sun and wind. These natural factors contribute to the appearance of wrinkles and sagging facial features, which can be surgically corrected or temporarily corrected for by BOTOX or filler injections. Cosmetic eye procedures can help rejuvenate your face, giving patients a more youthful appearance, improve their quality of life, and raise their self-esteem.

How is an Oculoplastic Specialist Different than a Regular Ophthalmologist?

An oculoplastic surgeon is an ophthalmologist, or eye specialist, who has completed additional training and education, so they can perform surgeries such as eyelid surgeries, reconstructive surgeries, tear duct surgery, eye socket reconstruction, and cosmetic surgeries and procedures. Oculoplastic surgeons are highly specialized as they not only complete general ophthalmology certification exams, but also additional exams given only to oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

Included Surgeries or Procedures

Some of the procedures and surgeries that may be performed by an oculoplastic surgeon include:

·       Lower lid blepharoplasty ·       Upper lid blepharoplasty
·       Double eyelid blepharoplasty (Asian blepharoplasty) ·       Ptosis
·       Entropion repair ·       Ectropion repair
·       3 Snip punctoplasty ·       Hughes eyelid reconstruction
·       Eyelid retraction repair ·       Eyelid tumour excision
·       Endoscopic brow/forehead lift ·       Direct brow lift

 

For additional details about these procedures, please read our Eyelid Procedures page.

A Growing Need for Oculoplastics in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley

In Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, there are only a handful of oculoplastic surgeons, all of whom operate primarily in the Vancouver area. For our patients, this means long waiting lists for eye surgery, which can be frustrating and limits their quality of life.

At Fraser Valley Cataract and Laser (FVCL), we saw the need for doctors skilled in oculofacial plastics and reconstruction.  We want to give patients the the ability to enjoy clear vision quickly and boost up their self-esteem, all without limiting their lifestyle.  Because of this, FVCL is excited to welcome our newest associate, Dr. Timothy Ekhlassi, an oculoplastic surgeon, to the FVCL family.

Introducing Dr. Timothy Ekhlassi, Oculoplastic Surgeon

Starting this month, Dr. Ekhlassi will begin seeing patients in our Coquitlam and Surrey offices, and on occasion, our Abbotsford office.

Dr. Ekhlassi graduated from the University of Miami, School of Medicine and completed his residency training in ophthalmology at Chicago’s John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, one of the busiest training programs in the United States. He continued on to train in oculoplastic and reconstructive surgery through a prestigious ASOPRS fellowship in Detroit, Michigan. As an ASOPRS fellow, Dr. Ekhlassi focused intensely on plastic and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids, orbit, and face, completing over 5300 surgeries and procedures within two years.

In addition to specializing in oculoplastics, Dr. Ekhlassi is fully trained in general ophthalmology and other surgical procedures such as a cataract surgery. He also has extensive experience injecting BOTOX and fillers.  Dr. Ekhlassi is currently accepting referrals for new medical ophthalmology patients and oculoplastic patients.

If you need oculoplastic surgery for medical or cosmetic reasons, ask your regular eye care professional for a referral to Dr. Ekhlassi, or contact our office for more information.

Fraser Valley cataract laser Dr Ekhlassi

Fraser Valley Cataract Laser – Dr. Tim Ekhlassi, Oculoplastic Surgeon

eyelid surgery recovery fraser valley cataract laser

Recovery Tips For Eyelid Surgery

Following an eyelid procedure, all patients experience a few aftereffects. In this post, Drs. Joseph King and Gabriel Chu of Fraser Valley Cataract & Laser provide tips to handling these effects and encouraging a speedy recovery. They will help you along the way, overseeing your recovery over the span of six weeks following surgery. Read on to learn more.

What Is A Typical Recovery And How Long Will It Take?

The most common aftereffect of eyelid surgery is swelling of both the upper and lower lids, which can be controlled using ice packs. Bruising is also quite common and may take up to two weeks to fully heal. The surgeon will typically use dissolving sutures to stitch up the incisions, and these stitches will fall out on their own. An anti-inflammatory cream and an antibiotic ointment will be prescribed to accelerate the healing process.

How Can I Speed My Recovery?

After your surgery, your behavior can have a powerful effect on your recovery time. Your goal should be to minimize both swelling and bruising. Eyelids are inherently soft, movable tissue. Ideally, your surgeon would be able to avoid visible bruising, but some swelling and irritation is unavoidable. In the two to three days immediately following surgery, one should keep their head elevated at all times. Ice packs should be applied to the face as a mild cold therapy. This will help reduce both swelling and inflammation. While bruising is extremely common, any bleeding in the first 48 hours should be reported to your physician. To avoid bleeding, try to minimize head and eyelid movement. Because reading, surfing the internet, and watching TV involve eye and eyelid movement, patients would be well advised to seek other means of entertainment. Listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts are the most popular activities for recovering patients.

Can My Diet and Medications Affect My Recovery?

Yes, diet can be a factor in recovery time. Some patients choose to consult with a nutritionist prior to surgery to develop a post-operative eating plan. A high amount of salt in one’s diet can exacerbate swelling, so going low-sodium for a few days is a good idea. Bruising may increase if one takes too much fish oil supplements. Aspirin may have a negative effect on your bruising as well. Your surgeon may proscribe medications designed to speed recovery. Be sure to consult with your doctor regarding any other medications you may be taking, as these meds may slow recovery.

Contact Fraser Valley Cataract and Laser

Dr. Chu and Dr. King will be happy to answer all of these questions and any others you may have during your initial consultation. Be sure to bring your notepad, iPad or laptop with you so that you can record all of the information provided. To set up your consultation, please call (604) 372-3937.