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Contacts Shown to Increase Risk of Droopy Eyelids

Study of identical twins finds more drooping in hard vs. soft contact lenses

Couple, eyelid surgery models

Contact lenses help millions of people see the world more clearly. However, research at the annual Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, found that contacts can contribute to droopiness of the upper eyelids. Of the 96 sets of identical twins studied, those who wore hard contacts showed the most drooping, while those who did not wear contacts measured in with less drooping than soft contacts wearers.

Researchers also looked for links between drooping eyelids and body mass index (BMI), smoking, sun exposure, alcohol, work-related stress and sleep. None of these factors were found to have much of an impact on eyelid droopiness (or ptosis of the eyelids).

The Twins Days Festival, held annually in Twinsburg, Ohio, is billed as the largest gathering of twins in the world. The 2015 festival, set for Aug. 7-9 of this year, will mark the event’s 40th anniversary.

With so many twins gathered in one place, researchers have a unique opportunity to study the effect of environmental factors on people who are genetically identical. This blog previously reported on factors that affect breast appearance among twins, such as breastfeeding, hormone therapy, smoking and drinking.

Researchers analyze photos, patient histories

To assess the effect of contact lenses on eyelid ptosis, researchers analyzed photographs along with social and medical histories collected at the Twins Day Festival from 2008 to 2010. The severity of drooping eyelids was more evident in twins who wore hard contact lenses (1.84 mm) compared to those who wore soft lenses (1.41 mm). Twins who did not wear contact lenses had a mean ptosis measurement of 1.00 mm.

Drooping eyelids were not linked to work stress, sleep, sun exposure or BMI.

“We assessed the correlations of many different environmental factors that could contribute to droopy eyelids, and wearing contact lenses was the only external factor that was linked,” said Dr. Bahman Guyuron, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio.

Eyelid surgery used to correct drooping eyelids

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to improve the appearance of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both. Eyelid surgery was the second most popular facial plastic surgery procedure in 2014 just behind rhinoplasty, or nose surgery.

Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

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