Local Eye Surgeon

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I'm Dr. Timothy Minton. I decided to become an ophthalmologist many years ago when I was in the ninth grade, which is sort of unusual, and never really deviated from that in obtaining that goal. But I see patients that have problems with neuro-ophthalmology and oculoplastics. I also am a comprehensive ophthalmologist so I do a lot of cataract surgery too. 
 
What do you enjoy about Brookings Health System?

What I like the most is the integration of the hospital, and the clinic, and the individuals involved with that, everybody seems to be on the same page in taking care of patients, and everybody that I've run into has been extremely personal and professional.

What is oculoplastic surgery?

Oculoplastic surgery is plastic surgery around the eyes only. Most individuals are familiar with plastic surgery in general, but we take care of problems that encompass drooping of lids, in turning and out turning lids, tear duct problems, and reconstructive problems after skin cancer is removed on the lids. 
 
What conditions are treated by oculoplastic surgery?

 Common conditions that we treat are problems with extra tissue on the upper lids or drooping of the of upper lids that create problems with peripheral vision. The lower lids can have problems with out turning of the lids and in turning of the lids. If you have an in turning lid, then you have eyelashes rubbing on the eye and that's very irritating and, of course, causes problems with the vision also. And then there are problems with tearing and there's many different reasons for tearing, but one of the common ones is a blockage of the tear ducts somewhere along the course from the eye down into the nose. So we deal with that type of problem also. 
 
Some patients will develop skin cancers on the eyelids and once those skin cancers are removed then we have to reconstruct a lid. If you don't have a lid that has good function after reconstruction then there's problems with the vision too. So that's why there is a specialized area of this oculoplastics that has been developed over the years to just treat these sorts of problems.

How long is typical recovery time?

Well, depends upon the procedure, but let's say that you remove extra tissue from the upper lid of an eye lift usually, the patient should minimize activity for one or two days, but then they can get back to normal activity. 
 
We do measures to decrease the amount of swelling, and bruising, and discomfort from the procedure by using cold compresses and not having the patient bending over at the waist with their head below their heart, and elevating their head at night time. But the amount of bruising and the amount of swelling is usually individualized and it can be different from the right side to the left side if we're doing the procedure on both upper eyelids. The most common healing period, I would say is about 10 to 12 days, but a lot of things are fairly well-healed by about 7 days and that's the time that we usually take out any sutures if they're embolden.

Is oculoplastic surgery covered by insurance?

If the particular problem is a medical problem and there is a medical reason for doing the surgery then the surgery is covered, and that's even if you have extra tissue on your upper lids.
 
However, if you have extra tissue on your upper lids and there is not really a decrease in your peripheral vision, but because of wanting to look better or look younger, you want the procedure done for a cosmetic reason, that's not gonna be covered by insurance.

What benefits come from these procedures?

If you have a problem with upper lid skin excess or a drooping of the eyelid, you are having a restriction of your peripheral vision. So by taking care of that, that improves the peripheral vision. If your lower lid is interned and irritating the eye then you get the benefit of not having discomfort anymore and, again, improved vision. If your eye is tearing constantly, that also does not make your vision as good as it can be because the vision fluctuates depending upon the amount of tearing. So if you get rid of the tearing or we can minimize the tearing then, again, your vision is improved. So a lot of these things do involve improvement of the vision even though there are multiple and different types of procedures.