Ruby Hawks feared the worst when she heard the loud boom. It happened when her husband, Ivan E. Hawks, fell in the living room of their Winston-Salem home.
Fortunately the retired electrician escaped with only bruised ribs, but Ruby had a good idea what may have caused him to fall in the first place, his drooping eyelids which they had just scheduled an appointment to have repaired.
“There was so much skin hanging down on his eyes. I don’t think he was seeing down low,’’ Ruby Hawks said. “I wish we had decided to have this done two years ago.’’
The results of the eyelid repair performed by ophthalmologist Molly Fuller, M.D., Ph.D., at Wake Forest Baptist Health-Davie Medical Center in Bermuda Run pleased the Hawks. During a recent follow-up visit, Ivan Hawks’ eyelids were still a bit red and swollen. But they were wide open, and he said he was seeing better.
Drooping eyelids, also known as ptosis, are a common problem in an aging population, Fuller said.
It’s a stretching of tissue that used to be youthful and firm,’’ Fuller said. “Gravity takes effect and the eyebrows sit low. The muscles that lift the eyelid can stretch out and allow the eyelid to drop down. Then your vision can be blocked.’’
Fuller joined the ophthalmology team at Davie Medical Center in October. She completed a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Michigan and a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
The eye surgeons at Davie Medical Center treat people with corneal and external diseases of the eye, retinal disorders and more common eye ailments. Fuller’s specialties are ophthalmic plastic surgery and orbital surgery.
Her procedure removes extra skin on the eyelids or tightens the muscle. It is performed on an outpatient basis and takes just an hour.
Although the majority of Fuller’s patients with drooping eyelids are older, it is not uncommon among children, who can have the condition at birth. Fuller sees patients of all ages twice a week at the Bermuda Run campus for a variety of eye issues.
Fuller said she enjoys the variety of her work and the camaraderie between staff and patients at Davie Medical Center.
I like the fact that this is such an intimate place,’’ she said. “You get to know your colleagues. We’ve had patients bring in gifts for us because they’ve had such a wonderful preoperative and postoperative experience.’’