JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Acquired lax eyelid syndrome: an unrecognized cause of the chronically irritated eye.

PURPOSE: To describe the demographics, symptoms, and findings of acquired lax eyelid syndrome and to assess the efficacy of the 4-eyelid tarsal strip-periosteal flap technique to treat horizontally lax upper and lower eyelids.

METHODS: A retrospective, case-series review of 80 patients (320 eyelids) evaluated from January 2000 to April 2004 for lax upper and lower eyelids causing chronic irritation was performed. Ten patients with diagnosed floppy eyelid syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea were excluded. Height and weight of all patients were recorded to calculate body mass index. Lateral tarsal strip fixation of all 4 eyelids to periosteal flaps based inside the orbital rim was performed to achieve horizontal tightening. Postoperative follow-up ranged up to 52 months. Preoperative/postoperative symptoms and examination findings of upper and lower eyelid distraction, keratopathy, and conjunctival inflammation were compared.

RESULTS: The most common presenting symptoms were epiphora (85.7%) and irritation (80%). The most common examination findings were upper and lower eyelid horizontal laxity and palpebral conjunctival injection (100% patients). Thirteen of 70 patients (18.6%) were obese, based on body mass index; 26 of 70 patients (37.1%) were mildly overweight; 29 of 70 patients (41.4%) were normal weight; and 2 of 70 patients (2.9%) were underweight. After surgery, 91% of patients had improved or resolved symptoms and signs; 2.5% of dehiscences occurred with the use of the 4-eyelid technique. Gradual continued improvement was observed for up to 1 year.

CONCLUSIONS: Evaluation of patients presenting with chronically irritated eyes should include distraction of both the upper and lower eyelids and examination for conjunctival inflammation. Acquired lax eyelid syndrome is similar to floppy eyelid syndrome; however, 43.3% of patients were normal weight or underweight. The 4-eyelid tarsal strip-periosteal flap fixation is a rapid and effective technique for correction of this syndrome.

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