PURPOSE: Upper blepharoplasty may be related to dry eye symptoms since the function of the orbicularis oculi muscle may affect the tear film. We aimed to assess the effect of blepharoplasty with or without the removal of a strip of orbicularis oculi muscle on tear film dynamics and dry eye symptoms.
METHODS: A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial comparing upper blepharoplasty without (group A) or with (group B) orbicularis oculi muscle excision was performed on 54 healthy Caucasian patients. Tear film dynamics and dry eye symptoms were evaluated using multiple dry eye parameters, i.e. tear osmolarity, Schirmer test I, corneal/conjunctival staining, tear break-up time (TBUT), Oxford Scheme, Sicca Ocular Staining Score and Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire. All the parameters were assessed preoperatively and 6 and 12 months after upper blepharoplasty. All the groups' outcomes were compared.
RESULTS: The differences were not significant between the two upper blepharoplasty techniques regarding most of the above-mentioned outcomes. Subjective symptoms of ocular irritation, consistent with dry eye disease and vision-related impairment, were reduced after upper blepharoplasty independent of the type of the technique applied, while the pre and postoperative outcomes of the objective tear dynamics did not differ 12 months after surgery. However, group B demonstrated a significant increase in tear osmolarity and TBUT at the 6-month follow-up visit.
CONCLUSION: An upper blepharoplasty alleviates subjective dry eye complaints in the long term, while not changing the tear dynamics. The improvement was independent of the blepharoplasty technique used.