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Question:
If an individual has optic disc drusen, can a dermatologist perform a Pelleve skin tightening treatment (radio-frequency) on his or her orbital eye area and eyelids?

Answer:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding radio frequency skin tightening procedures and optic disc drusen.

Treatment of sun-damaged skin and wrinkles is attracting increasing interest as the possible approaches expand. Recently mono- and bipolar radio frequency devices have been introduced as new treatment options for skin rejuvenation. Initial studies have demonstrated changes in collagen content of the skin as the molecular basis of skin texture improvement. However, there are many possible risks and side effects.

Optic disc drusen are acellular calcific deposits occurring in small, crowded optic discs (the area where the optic nerve meets/enters the back of the eye.) In affected patients, the number and size of disc drusen are highly variable. Most patients with disc drusen are asymptomatic, but visual changes can occur. Optic disc drusen have no established effective treatment. Diagnosing disc drusen correctly is important to avoid unnecessary work-up and to avoid overlooking potential serious conditions.

Since the radio frequency is treating collagen in the skin, and the disc drusen are located at the optic nerve head, it stands to reason that the potential for adverse effects of the treatment on the disc drusen is unlikely. Discussing the procedure fully with the dermatologist to understand your options and the potential risk associated with the treatment are paramount to your safety and eventual success of the treatment. Discussing the optic disk drusen with your ophthalmologist, or Eye MD, who diagnosed them will assist you in making a fully informed decision regarding any potential treatments you elect to proceed with.

Answered by: Philip R Rizzuto, MD, FACS Dr. Philip R Rizzuto, MD, FACS

Categories: Eye Health Conditions, Eye Surgery

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Answered: Oct 30, 2013

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