Ophthalmology: Eyelid problems
In the fifth part of their series, Sophia Pathai and Andrew McNaught take you through problems with the eyelid
- By: Andrew McNaught, Sophia Pathai
Although ophthalmic examinations concentrate mostly on the globe of the eye, you should also pay attention to the eyelids. Lid problems can vary from chronic common conditions to providing important signs of life threatening pathology.
It's worth being aware of some basic eyelid anatomy so that you can try to work out where the problem lies. From superficial to deep, the eyelid consists of skin, subcutaneous tissue, the obicularis oculi muscle, the orbital septum (a membranous sheet continuous with the periosteum), tarsal plates, smooth muscle, and finally, conjunctiva. The upper lid also receives the insertion of the levator palpebrae superioris muscle which raises the lid.
The skin is thin and contains many sebaceous glands and small sweat glands. Remember that dermatological problems can also affect the skin of eyelids. The obicularis oculi muscle is important in facial expression, and contraction of the muscle closes the eyelids; its nerve supply is