Conjunctivochalasis is a common condition in which the conjunctiva develops excess folds. The conjunctiva is the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the sclera, or the white part of the eye. Conjunctivochalasis is most commonly caused gradually as the tissues thin and stretch with age. This loose tissue can irritate the eye, causing dry eye symptoms or excess tearing. Other symptoms include irritation, foreign body sensation, and can also cause corneal ulcers, although rare. There is a simple procedure called a conjunctivoplasty that is done to remove this excess tissue that is typically performed in-office instead of a surgery center, as anesthesia is not necessary.
Conjunctivochalasis is commonly accompanied by lax eyelid syndrome (LES). LES occurs essentially the same way that conjunctivochalasis does. As we age, our skin and ligaments loosen over time, causing the eyelids to droop. Eyelid laxity can cause ectropion, which is when the lower eyelid turns slightly outward and does not touch the eyeball as it should. This contributes to irritation, and LES can be worsened by conjunctivochalasis since the excess conjunctival tissue sits between the eyeball and the eyelid. Eyelid laxity prevents the eyes from blinking completely as well, making dry eyes worse. LES can also be corrected by an in-office procedure, and it can be performed at the same time as the conjunctivoplasty.
If you have eye irritation or dryness that you believe could be due to conjunctivochalasis or LES, call Dr. Dudee’s office at (859) 278-9486, and we will get you scheduled as soon as possible!