Tarsorrhaphy is the surgical fusion of the upper and lower eyelid margins. It is one of the safest and most effective procedures for healing difficult-to-treat corneal lesions. Tarsorrhaphy is most commonly performed to protect the cornea from exposure caused by inadequate eyelid coverage, as may occur in Graves disease or facial nerve (CN VII) dysfunctions such as Bell palsy. It can also be used to aid in the healing of indolent corneal ulceration sometimes seen with tear-film deficiency, herpes simplex or zoster, stem cell dysfunction, or CN V dysfunction (neurotrophic lesions). Tarsorrhaphies may be temporary or permanent; in the latter case, raw tarsal edges are created to form a lasting adhesion. They may be total or partial, depending on whether all or only a portion of the palpebral fissure is occluded. Tarsorrhaphies are also classified as lateral, medial, or central, according to the position in the palpebral fissure. BCSC Section 7, Orbit, Eyelids, and Lacrimal System, discusses eyelid anatomy and surgical procedures in detail.
Note that the cosmetic effect of a lateral tarsorrhaphy is significant, and patients are often unhappy with the appearance afterward.