Eyeball wrinkles or conjunctivochalasis is a common ocular condition. The condition causes wrinkling or loosening of the conjunctiva. The condition of wrinkle on the eyeball features excess folds on the conjunctival skin compiling between the eye’s globe and eyelid margins. The eye condition causes the patient to experience uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms. The good news is the eye condition is easily treatable.
What Causes Conjunctivochalasis?
In the majority of the cases, conjunctivochalasis is triggered by the age-related stretching and thinning of the conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that covers the eye’s front side and the lines inside the eyelid. It is further believed that the eye condition is caused by eye inflammation and is also linked with several conditions like Aqueous Tear Deficiency, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Blepharitis, and Meibomian Gland Disorder (MGD). Previous eye surgeries might also trigger the development of conjunctivochalasis.
In several cases, the condition of wrinkle on eyeball is asymptomatic, which means that there are no signs and symptoms of the presence of the condition. However, some patients experience and show certain common symptoms as mentioned below:
· Sore eyes
· Dry eyes
· Stinging or burning eyes
· Red eyes
· Painful eyes
· Scratchy eyes
· The feeling of tissues under the eyelids
· The presence of foreign body sensation
· Recurrent pink eyes
· Watery eyes
· Tired eyes
· The presence of menthol around the eyes
In several cases, the symptoms mentioned above can worsen with excessive and rapid eye blinking. In serious conditions, even a light breeze is bothersome for the patient. The excruciating pain of the eyes can be challenging to lead a normal day-to-day life. The eye specialist cannot just confirm the condition with the symptoms experienced. He/she will examine the patient’s eyes minutely, carry out tests and finally come up with the diagnosis.
Dry eyes are one of the most common symptoms of conjunctivochalasis. This is mainly because the eye condition causes tear circulation impairment. The impairment leads to a lack of lubrication in the eyes and thereby causing dry eyes. Moreover, dry eye syndrome is also a common issue among patients post-surgery, like LASIK laser eye surgery. This, in no way, indicates that if a patient is suffering from dry eye syndrome, there is a chance of conjunctivochalasis.
Behaviors to Look Out for
When a patient complains about the condition of wrinkle on eyeball and also experiences the symptoms associated with it, there are certain behaviors to look out for.
· Difficulty reading
· Difficult driving and riding
· Frequent blinking
· Non-participation in daily activities
· Keeping eyes closed for a longer duration
· Frequent eye drop usage
Depending on the symptoms and the behaviors of the patient, the severity of conjunctivochalasis can be graded on different scales.
Grading of the Severity of Conjunctivochalasis
The grading of severity is based on the number of folds or wrinkles on the eyeball and the relationship to the height of the tear meniscus.
· In grade one cases, patients don’t seem to have folds or any wrinkle on eyeballs.
· In grade two, single, small folds and wrinkles are visible
· In grade three, more than two folds are visible, and the folds are not higher than tear meniscus.
· Finally, in grade four, multiple folds and wrinkles are visible on the eyeballs, and they are higher than tear meniscus.
Can Conjunctivochalasis Become Worse?
There is every possible chance that the condition of conjunctivochalasis can become worse as time passes. This mainly happens when the condition is asymptomatic and left untreated. The severity increases, and it causes a cycle of more punctum blockages, worse tear flow, and unnecessary tissues. Progressing age is one of the factors for conjunctivochalasis, and without proper management, things can go worse. Moreover, patients wearing contact lenses regularly are at risk of increasing wrinkles and unnecessary conjunctival folds.
Allergies and Conjunctivochalasis
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis or SAC is one of the most common eye allergies affecting thousands of people of different age-group. When seasonal conjunctivitis affects an older adult, he/she becomes more vulnerable to experiencing conjunctivochalasis. Allergies and conjunctivochalasis are related to each other and can affect the patient severely. Henceforth, it is necessary to seek medical attention and treat the condition.
Diagnosis and Treatment
One of the challenging aspects of conjunctivochalasis is the difficulty in diagnosing it. This is mainly because it occurs in individuals suffering from dry eye conditions. Thus, it is difficult to distinguish between general dry eye syndrome and conjunctivochalasis by examining the eye minutely. In case the presence of conjunctival folds has been identified, there are two courses of action that can be considered.
Mild and Asymptomatic Treatment
When the eye condition is asymptomatic or mild, eye specialists usually recommend or prescribe lubricating eye drops to eliminate the discomfort and displeasure of the eyes. Several patients are also prescribed topical corticosteroids that help reduce any inflammation. When patients fail to achieve relief and comfort from the symptoms using lubricating eye drops and other topical methods, surgery is the next and final step considered.
When conjunctivochalasis is severe and cannot be treated using eye drops, surgery is the only resort. The surgery involves the elimination of the conjunctival folds. This aids in restoring the tear film so that it becomes smooth, and the lubrication of the eyes is also better. Furthermore, this also helps eliminate dry eye symptoms, and the patient can experience more comfort without any pain and irritation.
The wrinkle on the eyeball represents the eye condition known as conjunctivochalasis. The name might confuse people with some serious condition. In reality, it is a common eye condition affecting people, mainly over the age of 60 years. Several young people, though it is rare, also suffer from conjunctivochalasis. Though it is not hazardous, if timely treatment is not rendered, discomfort, and inflammation can disrupt the day-to-day life of the patient. Henceforth, timely treatment is vital. Moreover, this eye condition can be treated with lubricating eye drops and topical corticosteroids. In severe cases, eye surgeons prescribe surgery. Thanks to the presence of treatment options, patients don’t have to experience painful eyes for long.