Ron Pelton MD - Colorado Springs
Oculoplastic surgery deals with the reconstruction and cosmetic surgery of the eyelids, eye sockets and surrounding structures. I find it an exciting field because of the numerous challenges it presents. As an Oculoplastic surgeon I see people of all ages from infants to geriatric patients with a wide variety of issues. The specialty is particularly fulfilling because I can literally see the outcome of my work, as can my patient. For many specialties the changes happen inside the body whereas oculoplastic results are easily recognized and present me with instant feedback on the operation.
In my practice I do a wide range of oculoplastic procedures from cosmetic to severe trauma requiring different skills and techniques. I help people feel better about their appearance and often work to restore function to those in traumatic situations, which I find a very fulfilling part of my work. As a surgeon, my days are divided between office and operating time giving me the variety and flexibility to keep me challenged and always moving forward in my field.
In the past few years the oculoplastic specialty has seen many rapid changes and advancements. On the cosmetic side there is a trend away from big surgeries to subtle improvements. Lifestyle changes have had a great deal to do with this direction. Our growing understanding of the dangers of smoking and tanning, have changed our cultural paradigm in a positive direction as people have become more health conscious. Along with the advances in Botox and fillers we are able to do more of the simple procedures to make a difference and therefore see less of the complete plastic surgery overhaul of years past.
On the functional side of oculoplastics, better implants and more options have improved our ability to help severe trauma patients achieve improved function and return to their normal lives much faster. Before these advances, broken facial bones needed to be wired together. Now we have small titanium plates and screws that improve surgical time and outcomes.
The advances continue and I look forward to numerous tools and techniques that will continue improving oculoplastic results for both cosmetic and functional procedures. Better lasers to treat skin defects will mean less collateral damage while better Botox and fillers may mean results last anywhere from six months to a year; or perhaps even become permanent. There are procedures on the horizon that may act like Botox but can be isolated to specific nerves and delivered without injections.
Continued improvement of facial implants may bring the creation of artificial eyes or eye sockets with advanced procedures and drugs to help restore function and appearance in extreme situations. While the improvements in imaging technology have already given us greater surgical guidance, there is a new robotic surgical system in the works for ophthalmology. A tool like this has the potential to allow a physician located in one place to operate on a patient located across the world. This could open access for highly challenging procedures to more patients or improve oculoplastic surgical options and time for wounded soldiers in other countries.
Our improved technology has the potential to help in many ways. With my own patients I use the expanded access to information of the internet to help patients learn more about their own oculoplastic issues and options. I like to offer my patients specific words to search, but with the warning that not all information sources are created equal and that they must recognize those reputable, well-informed sites and learn to distinguish them from those without the proper expertise. However, improved information creates engaged patients with well thought out questions – always a pleasure to see.