Childhood Epiblepharon

July 2019

The weather in Hong Kong is hot and humid, which is easy to trigger different sensitivities. When parents find their children rubbing eyes or having red eyes, they may associate it with eye allergies. However, their children may suffer from Epiblepharon.

What is Epiblepharon?

Epiblepharon is a condition in which an eyelid’s pretarsal muscle and skin ride above its margin. Pushing sufferers’ eyelashes against their eyeball this can seriously damage corneas

Alex points out that around one in 10 Asian youngsters is afflicted with Epiblepharon. Tell-tale signs include a flat nose and small eyes. Children with single eyelid or deep epicanthal folds are far more likely to be sufferers.

Epiblepharon patient's eyes before surgery

Epiblepharon patient's eyes after surgery

Negative impacts of Epiblepharon

Dr. Alex also warns that once eyelashes scratch the center of corneas, victims of Epiblepharon will start fearing light and suffering visual impairment plus possible bacterial infections and corneal ulcers.The condition may also cause astigmatism and eventually Keratitis in young children.

"As over 90% of clinical cases are mild, vision can be restored by using artificial tears to moisturize and repair the cornea. If the corneal scratching does not improve after long-term observation and medication, an operation will be required."

Surgery here is used to remove excess eyelid skin and muscle and takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The risks are very low and scarring can easily be covered by eyelashes so as not to harm patients’ appearance.

Epiblepharon’s symptoms and characteristics

  • Children often tilt their head to the side and refuse to turn their eyes to a certain direction (such as inward and downward)
  • Frequently rubbing eyes, having red eyes
  • Producing so much eye secretions
  • The degree fluctuates when doing eye checking

​Dr. Ng indicates the usual position of Epiblepharon, but the kid in the photo does not have this eye problem.

Dr. Alex reiterates that both Epiblepharon and its related symptoms must be spotted and reported to an ophthalmologist as early as possible if further suffering is to be avoided!