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Glossary of Common Terms

Absorbable sutures

Stitches that don’t need to be removed and dissolve in a few weeks. Sometimes removed by the surgeon anyway.

Actinic keratosis

Common skin lesions related to the age and the sun exposure. They are benign but sometimes a biopsy is necessary to rule out other skin tumors. They can be also treated for cosmetic purposes

Age spots

Refer to brownish marks that appear on the face and body with age. Also related to sun exposure.

Anterior Chamber

The anterior chamber (AC) is the fluid-filled space inside the eye between the iris and the cornea’s innermost surface.


A medical condition which develops, not born with.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

The most common malignant skin tumor, especially common in the eyelids. Related to genetic make-up, age and sun exposure. Metastasis is extremely rare. BCC causes local destruction of tissue. Must be completely removed, usually through surgery. (Excision of lesion with/without frozen section and reconstruction)


Inflammation of the eyelids, especially the margin. Causes redness, irritation, itchy eyelids and the formation of scales on eyelashes.


Eyelid surgery used to removed the excess of skin and/ or fat of the eyelids. This is one of the most common procedures in oculoplastic surgery. (Upper Eyelid Blepharoplasty)


Called eyelid ptosis, or just ptosis. An eyelid condition characterized by a droopy upper eyelid. Ptosis correction is a common procedure in oculoplastic surgery. (External Levator Resection)


A blepharospasm (from Greek: blepharo, eyelid, and spasm, an uncontrolled muscle contraction), is any abnormal contraction or twitch of the eyelid.


One of the commercial names of the botulinum toxin. It is a natural toxin used widely in medicine (for both cosmetic and medical purposes) because of its effects as a muscle paralizer. It can be used for to improve/ reduce wrinkles, etc and also to for medical conditions such as blepharospasm and facial palsy.


Brow ptosis

Term referring to a drooping eyebrow.(Direct Brow)


Surgical technique to tighten the eyelids. Done for both medical and cosmetic purpose. (Can be added to surgeries)


Surgical technique to tighten the eyelids. Usually not used for cosmetic purposes.


Cyst in the eyelid that is caused by inflammation of a blocked meibomian gland, usually on the upper eyelid.

Chemical peel

Chemical substance used to improve the skin quality and appearance, very fine wrinkles and superficial spots. A TCA peel is most common.


Present at birth


Fine, clear layer that covers the white of the eyeball.

Conjunctivodacryocystorhinostomy (CDCR)

Lacrimal tear duct operation to relieve a severe watering eye where there has been damage or disease of the canliculi (small tear ducts at the corner of the eye). A glass tube is placed between the corner of the eye and the inside of the nose to drain the tube. This bypass glass tube is called a Jones tube.(CDCR with jones tube placement)


The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber.

Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR)

A lacrimal tear duct operation to create an opening for the tears to drain between the lacrimal sac and the inside of the nose in order to drain the tears when there is a lacrimal duct blockage. (DCR with or without Stent Placement-usually with)


Excess of skin that hangs from the upper lids; can affect vision in severe cases. (Blepharoplasty)

Dry eye

Ocular surface dysfunction due to a lack of / poor quality of tears. It causes redness, irritation, itchy eyes and even corneal lesions in severe cases.


A medical condition in which the lower eyelid turns outwards, due to a weakening of the tissue of the lower eyelid


Abnormal position of the eyeball where it appears sunken into the orbit.


A medical condition in which the eyelid (usually the lower lid) folds inward. It is very uncomfortable, as the eyelashes constantly rub against the cornea and irritate it.


Watering eye from lacrimal tear drainage blockage.


Also named proptosis. Abnormal position of the eyeball where it bulges outwards. May be related to Graves’ Ophthalmopathy.


Bulkiness in and below the lower lid. Caused by an excess of skin, prolapse of orbital fat, retention of fluids, etc. Can be rectified with a lower eyelid blepharoplasty. (transconjuctival or subcilliary)


Dressing used to cover the eye after surgery. Can also be used to treatment of corneal abrasions.


An eyelid is a thin fold of skin that covers and protects the eye. With the exception of the prepuce and the labia minora, it has the thinnest skin of the whole body.

Eyelid laxity

Common condition related mainly to the aging process, consisting in an excess of laxity of the lower lids. It can cause eyelid malpositions as entropion, ectropion, etc.

Exta-Ocular Movement (EOM)

Movement of the eye

Eyelid ptosis

Term for a drooping upper eyelid, caused by a stretched levator muscle

Eyelid rejuvenation

Various techniques aimed at improving the appearance of the eyelid by reducing wrinkles and skin spots, removing excess skin etc. These include blepharoplasty, chemical peels, Botox® injections, fillers etc.


type of eye-bag typically located lower eyelid to cheek in the cheek. Related to excess of skin, mid-face descent, and sometimes fluid retention.


Fitzpatrick skin number (scale)

Medical scale used to classify skin type. There are 6 groups depending on skin color, response to sun exposure etc. (We use this in laser patients)

Foreign Body (FB)

Usually refers to a corneal foreign body such as a piece of grit, dust or

Graves’ Disease

AKA thyroid eye disease.A complication of thyroid diseases. Symptoms include bulging eyes, double vision, red eyes and visual impairment.


An accumulation of blood that has clotted. It lies within the soft tissue planes and causes discoloration and swelling, known as a bruise. Bruising is common with eyelid surgery. There is an increased risk of hematoma in patients taking aspirin or warfarin anticoagulation. (that is why we try and have people stop blood thinners prior to surgery if possible)

Hemifacial Spasm

Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is a rare neuromuscular disease characterized by irregular, involuntary muscle contractions (spasms) on one side (hemi-) of the face (-facial).[1] The facial muscles are controlled by the facial nerve (seventh cranial nerve), which originates at the brainstem and exits the skull below the ear where it separates into five main branches.

Horner’s syndrome

Neuro-ophthalmological disease characterized by eyelid ptosis and myosis of the pupil; in some cases it can appear a pseudo-enophthalmos and a discoloration of the iris.

Hyaluronic acid gel

Ophthalmic gel made with hyaluronic acid, used in the treatment of dry eye syndrome. When applied it lubricates and regenerates the surface of the eye.


Overwatering of eyes in response to irritation, corneal foreign body etc when there is no tear duct blockage.


Thin, circular structure in the eye, responsible for controlling the diameter and size of the pupils and thus the amount of light reaching the retina


Filler made from hyaluronic acid. See also Restylane®.


An infection of the eye causing a redness and bloodshot appearance. There are many causes, including the Herpes simplex virus. Treatment is typically with antibiotic ointment.


Eye ointment used to lubricate the eye. Ointments are more uncomfortable to use than drops but remain on the surface longer and are hence more effective.


Tear glands or ducts: relating to the glands that produce tears, or the ducts through which they drain

Lacrimal sac

Small sac between the eye and the nose which is part of the lacrimal duct. This is a sort of reservoir for the tears that go down towards the nose.

Laser resurfacing treatment

Laser treatment useful in face and periocular rejuvenation. It removes aged or sun damaged skin to allow younger looking skin to regrow in its place. (C02 laser)

Lateral canthal canthopexy

Surgical technique to tighten the eyelids. Used for both medical and cosmetic purposes.

Lateral hooding

Excess of skin mainly affecting the lateral part of the upper lids. Can impede vision in severe cases. Can be corrected with a blepharoplasty.


The crystalline lens is a transparent, biconvex structure in the eye that, along with the cornea, helps to refract light to be focused on the retina.

Levator muscle

Small muscle located in the orbit and upper lid; moves the upper lid.

Levator palpebrae superioris

Also called “levator muscle”. Small muscle located in the orbit and upper lid; moves the upper lid.

Liver spots

Also called “lentigines” or “age spots”. Refer to brownish marks that appear on the face and body with age. Also related to the sun exposure.

Muller’s muscle (superior tarsal muscle)

Muscle located in the upper lid; works in conjunction with the levator muscle to move the upper lid.



cells that produce the pigment melanin that produces skin color


Skin cancer related to age and sun exposure; arises from the melanocytes. It can cause both local destruction and distant metastasis. Surgery (+/- chemotherapy +/- radiotherapy) is used to treat it.


Dissemination (spread) of malignant cells from a tumor around the body (to liver, lungs, bone, brain etc). Occurs in later stages of cancer and complicates treatment.


Spontaneous movement

Myasthenia Gravis

Neuromuscular disease that can affect the eye and eyelid muscles causing eyelid ptosis and double vision.

Nasal Lacrimal Duct Obstruction (NLDO)

Nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO) is the obstruction of nasolacrimal duct and may be either congenital or acquired. Obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct leads to the excess overflow of tears called epiphora


Oculoplastic surgeon

a surgeon specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery of the eyes and face (Dr. Hunts)


Name for the field of medicine that researches and treats conditions affecting the mid-face, including eyebrows, eyelids, cheek, orbits and lacrimal system, and any other associated eye conditions. Oculoplastics surgery is also concerned with facial cosmetic procedures.


In anatomy, the orbit is the cavity or socket of the skull in which the eye and its appendages are situated.

Papillary dermis

Most superficial portion of the dermis, just below the epidermis.


Refers to the space surrounding the eyeball but within the orbit.


Refers to the area surrounding the eyelids and outside the orbit.


AKA exopthalmos. Abnormal position of the eyeball where it bulges outwards. May be related to Graves’ Ophthalmopathy.

Punctal plugs

Small plastic plugs. Used to block the tear draining system permanently to treat dry eyes, or sometimes to open the lacrimal puncta temporarily to treat watering eyes.

Top of Form



Filler made with hyaluronic acid. Injected into the face to treat wrinkles, hollowness etc.

Skin Tags

Common soft, benign lesions that appear to hang off the skin. They can be removed for cosmetic or diagnostic purposes.

Slit lamp

Microscope used to examine the eye and periocular area.(we use it during initial examination follow up of certain diagnosis)

Squamous cell carcinoma

Malignant skin tumor related to age and sun exposure. Metastasis and local tissue destruction possible. Must be treated surgically along with other treatments.


Medical staples. Can be used instead of the stitches, commonly on the scalp. (Endoscopic Brow lift and Some S-Lift)

Sutures/ Stitches

Fine thread used to close wounds and join tissues.

Tear trough

Dark hollowness located between the lower eyelid, cheek and nose. It can appear in middle-aged and old people causing a sad, ill or tired appearance. It can be corrected through oculoplastic procedures.

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

AKA Graves’ Ophthalmopathy. Results as a complication of thyroid diseases. Symptoms include bulging eyes, double vision, red eyes and visual impairment.

Transconjunctival blepharoplasty

Specialized blepharoplasty technique to correct lower lid bags. It is done through the inner side of the eyelid (conjunctiva) so as to avoid physical scarring.


abnormally positioned eyelashes that grow back toward the eye, touching the cornea or conjunctiva.

Visual field test

A simple test to assess to field of vision, particularly useful to assess patients with glaucoma, thyroid eye disease, optic neuropathies, eyelid ptosis etc.

Visual function

General term referring to all visual functions (color vision, visual acuity, visual field, contrast vision etc.

Aesthetic Surgical Arts