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Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011 Nov-Dec;27(6):436-8. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0b013e3182232465.

The effect of orbital decompression surgery on lid retraction in thyroid eye disease.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



To determine the effect of orbital decompression surgery on lid retraction as a function of proptosis reduction in the setting of thyroid eye disease.


Retrospective interventional case series of all consecutive medial and lateral orbital decompressions performed by the authors for thyroid eye disease from 1999 to 2008. Primary outcome measures included postoperative proptosis and lid retraction.


One hundred sixty-five eyes of 89 patients were included. The average amount of proptosis reduction at final follow up (average 30 months) was 4.6 mm. The average improvement in upper lid retraction was 0.9 mm, and the average improvement in lower lid retraction was 0.8 mm. There was a statistically significant correlation (0.12, p = 0.005) between the amount of proptosis reduction and lower lid elevation. No such correlation (-0.010, p = 0.90) was seen for upper lid position. In cases where inferior rectus recession was performed subsequent to decompression surgery (n = 20), the effect of proptosis reduction on lower lid position was negated (correlation -0.01, p = 0.980).


A statistically significant correlation exists between the amount of proptosis reduction from orbital decompression surgery and improvement in lower lid retraction. No such correlation exists between proptosis reduction and upper lid retraction. Inferior rectus recession negates the positive effect of orbital decompression on lower lid position.

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