Eyelid Pathologies: Medical Vocabulary

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  • 0:00 The Eyelids
  • 0:20 Drooping and Curling
  • 1:30 Types of Swelling
  • 2:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Do you get puffy eyes in the morning? Do you know why people get puffy eyes? Or do you know about any other strange problems affecting the eyelids? This lesson defines several problems affecting our eyelids.

The Eyelids

What makes a person's eyes beautiful? Is it the color of the iris? Maybe it's the shape of the eye, something like an almond.

That shape is, of course, influenced less by the eye itself than the eyelids surrounding the eye. And that's what this lesson's about. The eyelids. Namely, the problems the eyelids can experience when something goes wrong.

Blepharoptosis, Ectropion, Entropion

Bloodhounds are famous for their droopy eyelids. But that's how they're built. For most other breeds of dog and, quite frankly, people, droopy eyelids aren't all that cute.

The technical term for the drooping of the upper eyelid, commonly as a result of paralysis, is blepharoptosis, commonly called just ptosis. 'Blepharo-' refers to the eyelid and '-ptosis' implies something is sagging.

While the upper eyelid might droop, the lower eyelid can sort of curl outward or inward. The eversion of the margin of the eyelid is called ectropion, where 'ec-' means 'out,' 'trop' means 'to turn,' and '-ion' refers to some sort of condition.

The opposite of this, the inversion of the margin of the eyelid, is called entropion, where 'en-' means 'to go into,' as in the eyelids curl into the eye. This isn't a pleasant problem to have. As you can only imagine, the eyelid margin has lots of eyelashes and if they are turned inward as a result of entropion, they can really irritate the eye.

You thought one eyelash stuck in your eye is irritating, try a bunch of them all at once! Yikes!

Chalazion, Hordeolum, Periorbital Edema

Eyelids can also suffer from all sorts of different swellings. And I don't just mean the puffy eyes you might have after not getting enough sleep. I'm talking about more serious problems that stem from things other than a lack of beauty sleep!

One of these is called a chalazion, a cyst of the eyelid that occurs as a result of a blocked and inflamed sebaceous gland called a Meibomian gland.

Another kind of swelling is a hordeolum, an infection that affects the sebaceous glands of the eye, namely the glands of Zeis. A hordeolum is more commonly called sty or stye.

The pictures of a chalazion and hordeolum should make it pretty clear that they affect focal, or specific, regions of the eyelid.

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