Many patients every year undergo orbital decompression and it is often related to Grave’s Disease where patients may be experiencing exophthalmos which causes a bulging of the eyes. With orbital decompression the symptoms from exophthalmos are relieved, resulting in increased visual acuity for most individuals who are diagnosed with this disease.
What’s orbital decompression surgery all about?
Orbital decompression surgery provides a viable solution to provide more space within the orbital space. This allows the orbit to better house the eye and the other tissues that are commonly found within the orbit in most healthy people. If you are experiencing exophthalmos you may have bulging of the eyes, pain, or decreased or absent vision. This is due to the compression of the tissues caused by bulging eyes; as a result there may be significant nerve or tissue damage in these areas without appropriate treatment.
During orbital decompression surgery you can expect to have some bones of the medial and inferior orbital areas to allow the eyes to return to a normal position to relieve pain or pressure. Ideally your vision will improve as well, although this may not always be the case and may vary among different individuals. Other benefits may include reduced tearing or dry eyes. Orbital decompression can also reduce the risk of further orbital or eye tissue damage in the future. Complications include loss of vision, double vision, meningitis, incomplete or inadequate decompression of the orbit, infection of the eye, and possible damage or trauma to the tear ducts or sinuses.
Why Do I Need Orbital Decompression Surgery?
• Chronic eye pain
• Severe or chronic headaches
• Bulging eyes
• Retracting lids
• Vision impairment or loss
• Optic nerve neuropathy
• Eye irritation causing keratitis (scar tissue on the cornea)
How is this surgery performed?
There are two types of orbital decompression procedures. Which procedure you undergo will be the decision of you and your orbital decompression surgeon. This procedure may be performed with a traditional open incision or endoscopically through the nasal cavity. Endoscopic procedures allow for entry through the nasal cavity. With less bruising, quicker healing, and no open wounds this procedure is ideal for many individuals. Nasal cavity soreness and swelling should be expected though. When your surgeon has entered the nasal cavity the medial and inferior orbital bones will be removed, a later orbital decompression may also be performed at this time if necessary.