What is Oculoplastics Surgery?

Oculoplastics surgery is a relatively “new” subspecialty within Ophthalmology which deals with disorders of the lids, lacrimal system and orbits. Oculoplastic surgeons are fully trained ophthalmologists who have an in depth knowledge of the eyes and eyelids, in particular the anatomy and function, and understand how eyelid and lacrimal surgery can affect the comfort of the eye and the clarity of vision.

How did Oculoplastics start?

Like any other surgical subspecialty, Oculoplastics was born out of a need to provide specialized surgical care and in this particular case, to people suffering from severe eyelid disease, trauma and watery eye problems. One can say that this particular line of surgery originated from a ‘cross breed’ between plastic surgery and ophthalmology.

The influential British plastic surgeon Jack Mustardé*, way back in the 1960s was beginning to hope that "in the future we might see a generation of surgeons arising who would be, fundamentally, either plastic surgeons or ophthalmic surgeons, but who would take specific training of some sort in the contra lateral field.” 

He went on to say that "I had the honour to be invited to speak at conferences by both plastic surgeons and ophthalmic surgeons.  The plastic surgeons didn't know enough ophthalmology to contradict me, and the ophthalmic surgeons didn't know enough plastic surgery to contradict me either!"

A few years later, the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) 3 was founded in 1969 to establish a qualified body of surgeons who have training and experience in this highly specialized field; the European Society (ESOPRS) 4 was set up in 1982 and the British Oculoplastics Surgical Society (BOPSS) in 2000.

It is now standard practice internationally to have ophthalmologists trained in Oculoplastic Surgery because this allows them to apply the micro precision of ophthalmology to the aesthetic concepts of facial plastic surgery.