Australians warned to watch their eyelids this summer


As summer approaches, Australians are being warned to cover their eyes and protect them against harmful ultra violet rays.

Gold Coast Private Hospital oculoplastic and opthalmic surgeon, Dr Sharon Morris, said between five and 10 percent of all skin cancers occur around the eyes and Australians need to take care.

"While melanoma can sadly be fatal, other types of  tumours and lesions can also cause enormous damage if not detected early and removed by a skilled surgeon," she said.

"Any problem with the eyelid structure or damage to the lids can compromise the eye and cause blindness or complete loss of the eye.

"Eyelids are delicate and made of three main layers, so when tumours affect the eyelid, careful reconstruction of these layers is important to ensure the eyelid can function properly.

"Additionally, the tear duct drainage system sits within the eyelids close to the nose and compromise to this causes significant watery eye symptoms.

"To this end, patients should seek a highly skilled ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon to give them every chance of retaining full function of the eye and good physical reconstruction of the area."

Dr Morris said lids were the eyes' first line of defense and the best way to avoid skin cancers and tumours was to "cover up".

"Any damage to the area - be it growths on the lids or cataracts of the lens - can directly affect eyesight, which is why protecting them from the sun's rays is imperative," she said.

"A big hat is a good start, but people also need to wear sunscreen and UV-blocking glasses.

"What many people don't realise, or some choose to ignore, is that most sunglasses are solely for the purpose of fashion, offering little to no protection against the sun.

"It is crucial to wear good sunglasses with proper UV protection to help safeguard your eyes from cancer."

Dr Morris said if you think you have an eyelid lesion, seek attention early.

"Beware of recurrent styes, loss of eyelashes and inflammation of the lid," she said.

"If you experience any of these symptoms, or can see a lesion in your eye area, seek medical attention immediately."


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