We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Tarsorrhaphy?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Tarsorrhaphy is a non-invasive surgical procedure performed to hold the eyelids partially closed. A patient who cannot close one eye because of facial nerve paralysis or extreme swelling due to infection may require the operation to help protect his or her cornea. When the eyelids cannot shut on their own, the eye is subjected to excessive dryness and irritation. Tarsorrhaphy and follow-up maintenance care with moistening eye drops and medications provides a temporary solution. The procedure can usually be performed in about half an hour in an outpatient setting.

Patients may lose their ability to close their eyes if they experience strokes, Bell's palsy, or another form of nerve paralysis. A puncture wound or cut on the cornea that becomes infected can result in major swelling, causing the eye to bulge and making it difficult or impossible to blink. Before considering tarsorrhaphy as a form of treatment for such conditions, doctors usually try medications, protective contact lenses, eye patches, and other nonsurgical techniques. Operations are only necessary in the most serious cases.

Before a tarsorrhaphy procedure, the patient is given an injection of a localized anesthetic, most commonly lidocaine, into his or her eyelids. The eye surgeon frequently applies moisturizing drops to the exposed cornea and sterilizes the corners of the eyelids, called the palpebral fissures. Three to ten precision stitches are used in each fissure to partially close the eye. After the sutures are in place, the surgeon applies an antibiotic ointment and a temporary bandage or patch to promote fast healing. A topical or oral anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed to help with pain and swelling.

The patient can usually remove the patch two or three days after undergoing tarsorrhaphy. Central vision is typically left intact, but peripheral vision may be blurry or partially obstructed by the stitches. It is important for the patient to keep applying eye drops regularly so the part of the eye still exposed gets enough moisture.

An ophthalmologist can determine when it is safe to take the stitches out based on the original reason for surgery and the quality of recovery. Most patients who have temporary palsy or infections regain their ability to blink in less than two weeks, while individuals with more serious handicaps might need to keep their stitches for several months. The procedure to remove the sutures is straightforward and does not usually require special aftercare. Patients who are able to blink on their own generally recover their peripheral vision.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By orangey03 — On Aug 03, 2011

I am horrified of eye surgery, and I can imagine the fear my coworker must have felt when she had to have a tarsorrhaphy after developing Bell’s palsy. I don’t think that I could possibly allow a person with a needle to come near my eye, even if I was sedated.

I notice that this article mentions a local anesthetic. It doesn’t say that they put you to sleep, so I know that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I would have to be out cold for anyone to work on my eyes.

My coworker lost the ability to move the left side of her face for a few weeks. She said she had lain awake the night before her tarsorrhaphy, envisioning how she would handle it. When the time came, the anesthetic had numbed the area so completely that she did not feel a thing, and that made it bearable.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.