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Trick of the Trade: Retracting Swollen Eyelids

Posted Apr 14 2010 12:00am

Eyelids can become edematous from blunt trauma and local inflammation, making it difficult to visualize the orbit. How do you retract the eyelids, if you don't have the fancy ophthalmology eyelid retractors?

Trick of the Trade: Use a Q-tip
I thought of this idea when I was rolling up a projector screen in a conference room. Why can't we use this rotational concept on the upper eyelid to retract it? Rest the Q-tip on the surface of the upper eyelid and slowly rotate the Q-tip to "roll" the eyelid out of the way.

Below are a series of photos of a woman with eyelid swelling from conjunctivitis. This technique provides a relatively painless way to retract the eyelid without placing pressure on the orbit itself. Although the images look like I am merely lifting the eyelid using the Q-tip, I am actually twirling the Q-tip.


Consent and photographs taken by Lourdes Adame
(Visual Aid Project member)
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