As we age, we start noticing changes in our bodies, and the eyes are no exception. Eyeball wrinkle, also known as Conjunctivochalasis, is one of the most noticeable conditions. It is often known as mechanical dry eye and is mostly observed in primary eye care. Its symptoms are similar to those of dry eyes, and most people mistake the two. Most people with this condition are over 60 years old, so it’s vital to understand everything about it if you are in this age bracket.
Conjunctivochalasis is the presence of redundant non-oedematous conjunctiva. It can be asymptomatic or symptomatic because of the unstable tear film or mechanical disruption of tear flow. It is commonly found in older people and often overlooked as it’s seen as a normal eye variant due to aging. However, it increases in prevalence and severity over time.
The eye condition is characterized by excessive folding of the conjunctiva skin. The folds often accumulate between the eyelid margins and the globe. If the condition does not show any symptoms, doctors classify it as a normal eye variant caused by aging. However, if it shows signs similar to those of dry eyes, they diagnose the cause and treat them so the patient can live a normal life.
In most instances, Conjuctivochalasis is triggered by the natural age-related thinning and stretching of the conjunctiva, the mucus membrane covering the front of the eye, and lines within the eyelids. Some cases can be caused by eye inflammation caused by aqueous tear deficiency. It’s more common in older people, but it can also be found in younger people, where severity increases with age.
The prolonged use of contact lenses can also trigger the development of Conjunctivochalasis. It happens when you wear contact glasses for a long time without taking a break. The risks also increase if you misuse disposable contacts and don’t remove them when sleeping.
In addition, various eye surgeries and thyroid dysfunctions can cause eye condition. Individuals with overactive or underactive thyroid are at higher risk of developing Conjunctivochalasis. Medications like antibiotics, anti-malarial, and antiretroviral might also cause eye wrinkles.
The Difference Between Conjunctivochalasis and Dry Eye
Conjunctivochalasis is often confused for dry eye since they present similar symptoms. Both are common in older people and present symptoms like blurred vision and eye burning sensation. However, the two have some differences. Conjunctivochalasis results from the thinning and stretching of the conjunctiva, while dry eyes result from poor quality or inadequate tears.
Sometimes, Conjunctivochalasis does not show any symptoms, so you may not realize you have it. In such instances, you need to visit a medical office for diagnosis. Some of the signs that determine if you have an eyeball wrinkle include:
- Dry Eyes: Having dry eyes is often a common symptom in patients. Instead of having normal eyes that are moist and lubricated, you may experience dry and scratchy eyes.
- Eye Pain: In most instances, eye pain is used to define any eye discomfort. However, eye pain due to Conjunctivochalasis is pure pain. It is similar to the pain felt after a severe bruise.
- Burning Sensation: Conjunctivochalasis can present itself in the form of a burning sensation in the eyes.
- Feeling Tissue Under Eye Lids: When blinking and opening the eyes, you may experience a distinct feeling of dry tissues under the eyelids. This happens in milder and severe cases of symptomatic Conjunctivochalasis. The sensation can be alarming and disrupt normal activities.
Besides these symptoms, Conjunctivochalasis also leads to a disruption in some behaviors. Therefore, you should watch out for:
- Difficulty driving
- Difficulty reading
- Frequent blinking
- Keeping eyes closed for long periods
- Regular use of eye drops
- Suicidal thoughts due to the pain
- Not participating in normal activities
How’s Conjunctivochalasis Treated?
If you’re experiencing the above symptoms, it’s vital to visit an ophthalmologist within the shortest time possible. This is because the symptoms cannot go away without professional medical intervention. The condition can be easily treated, but it often gets complicated due to misdiagnosis. A medical practitioner will use cutting-edge equipment and examinations to determine your condition during the diagnosis.
If you’re diagnosed with Conjunctivochalasis, the practitioner will recommend the best treatment depending on whether the condition is symptomatic or asymptomatic. If there are no symptoms, the eye doctor may recommend lubricating eye drops to ease the discomfort. However, if there’s inflammation, practitioners often recommend topical corticosteroids to minimize it.
When medications fail to ease the symptoms, surgeries to remove the excess conjunctiva tissue may also be the best choice. However, an ophthalmologist considers several factors, like age and medical history, before recommending surgery. The surgical process removes the extra tissue, and it’s replaced with an amniotic membrane with anti-scarring and anti-inflammatory properties. They enhance the healing process and minimize discomfort after surgery.
Does Conjunctivochalasis Have Complications?
Most patients ignore Conjunctivochalasis and expect it to go away by itself over time. However, these delays only give room for more complicated symptoms. The eye condition can cause ulcers and severe pain that worsen over time. Individuals with medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, should seek medical attention promptly.
Is Conjunctivochalasis Preventable?
It can be difficult to prevent Conjunctivochalasis because it’s often caused by old age. However, it’s important to go for routine checkups if over 60 years old. Early diagnosis will help manage the condition before it worsens.
Many people ignore an eyeball wrinkle, but it’s not wise because it can cause severe discomfort. Also, understanding Conjunctivochalasis helps you know when to visit an eye doctor. It also prepares you for what to expect during and after diagnosis. An ophthalmologist conducts the necessary tests and recommends the best treatment method. It’s also vital to note that the eye condition is easily treatable and manageable when detected early. If not addressed early, it could lead to vision damage, so it’s vital to seek medical attention whenever you have changes in your eyes. Routine exams will also give you peace of mind knowing there are no symptoms of the disease.