An eyelid suture is a stitch placed in or through the eyelid to repair trauma, correct a cosmetic issue or hold an implant of some kind. Surgeons must place stitches in this area with care to avoid injuring the eye and might use specialty suture products designed specifically for use around the eye. Usually, an ophthalmological surgeon is responsible for placing an eyelid suture.
One reason to suture the eyelid is to address trauma. Patients might tear or injure their eyelids in a variety of accidental circumstances, such as dog bites or car wrecks. It might be necessary to place one or more sutures in the eyelid to pull damaged tissue together and encourage it to heal evenly. Sometimes a graft is necessary to replace tissue that is too damaged to repair. With some types of injuries, a doctor might suture the eye closed temporarily while a patient recovers from trauma.
In the case of an eyelid suture to address trauma, the suture usually is of an absorbable design. As the patient's eyelid heals, enzymes that are present in the body will start to break down the suture. Doctors can remove such sutures if they fail to break down or are no longer necessary but have not dissolved yet. Patients typically need to exercise care around the site of the injury at first to avoid tearing or damaging the sutures.
In cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, an eyelid suture might be temporary or permanent. Some blepharoplasty procedures to correct the shape and structure of the eyelid use a permanent suture to hold the eyelid in position. In other cases, the surgeon might make an incision and use sutures to hold the eyelid together while it heals. When the sutures come out, a thin scar or line might be present, and the surgeon might take care with the placement to make it minimally visible.
Eyelid weights are the most common form of implant that a surgeon might need to use, and an eyelid suture will hold the weight in place in the eyelid. Patients who have difficulty closing their eyes and keeping them closed might need weights to pull the eyelid down and protect the eye. These implants can be designed and placed in a variety of ways, and they should not be obtrusive after the patient's eyelid heals. If a doctor thinks that a weight is appropriate, the suture will be strong and durable to hold the weight in place but will be very fine so that it does not cause problems with the patient's eye.