Is Eyelid Occlusion a waste of time?
About 60% of patients having a general anaesthetic will get lagophthalmos, or incomplete eyelid closure, as well as decreased tear secretion. As a direct consequence of this, they can develop exposure keratopathy; a condition in which the cornea dries out1. The symptoms of this can be severe pain, irritation, foreign body sensation, tearing and photophobia. Additionally, the cornea may adhere to the under surface of the eyelid, leading to a corneal abrasion upon eye opening.
Corneal abrasions in theatre may also result from direct trauma or pressure from surgical drapes, face masks, surgical instruments and anaesthetic circuits.