Eyelid closure is mediated by the mimic muscles, especially the orbicularis oculi muscle. It plays an important role in the moistening of the cornea and prevents its dehydration by regular wetting with tear fluid.
Lagophthalmos is a symptom representing incomplete closure of the eyelids of one or, more rarely, both eyes. The reasons for this can be manifold, the cause can be congenital malformations, traumatic damage and very often a nerve paralysis ( fascial paresis). Paresis can be congenital or acquired.
What happens when affected patients can no longer close their eyelids completely?
The surface of the eye (cornea) is normally moistened, protected and disinfected by a regular tear film. If this tear film is inadequately distributed due to insufficient eyelid closure, severe clinical pictures with accompanying visual deterioration, visual impairment or destruction of the cornea can result, leading to complete loss of visual acuity. These consequences can sometimes occur within a few days or weeks.
In order to avert serious consequential damage, the cornea must be protected at all costs. Various conservative and surgical methods are available.