Pathologic droopy eyelid, also called ptosis, may occur due to trauma, age, or various medical disorders. This condition is called unilateral ptosis when it affects one eye and bilateral ptosis when it affects both eyes. It may come and go or it might be permanent. It can be present at birth, where it’s known as congenital ptosis, or you can develop it later in life, which is known as acquired ptosis. Depending on the severity of the condition, droopy upper eyelids can block or greatly reduce vision depending on how much it obstructs the pupil. In most cases, the condition will resolve, either naturally or through medical intervention. Anyone can get droopy eyelids, and there aren’t substantial differences in prevalence between men and women or between ethnicities. However, it’s most common in older adults because of the natural aging process. The levator muscle is responsible for lifting the eyelid. As you age, that muscle can stretch and, as a result, cause the eyelid to fall.
Keep in mind, though, that people of all ages can be affected by this condition. In fact, babies are sometimes born with it, though this is rare. Sometimes the exact cause is unknown, but other times it may be due to trauma. It can also be neurological. The most common cause of congenital ptosis is the levator muscle not developing properly. Children who have ptosis may also develop amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye. This disorder can also delay or limit their vision. If your eyelids are drooping, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, especially if the issue affects both eyelids.
If just one of your eyelids droops, it may be a result of a nerve injury or a temporary stye. Routine LASIK or cataract surgery is sometimes to blame for the development of ptosis, as a result of the muscle or tendon being stretched. In some cases, droopy eyelid is caused by more serious conditions, such as a stroke, brain tumor, or cancer of the nerves or muscles.
The treatment for droopy eyelid depends on the specific cause and the severity of the ptosis. If the condition is the result of age or something you were born with, your doctor may explain that nothing needs to be done because the condition isn’t usually harmful to your health. However, you may opt for plastic surgery if you want to reduce the drooping. The ptosis crutch is a nonsurgical option that involves adding an attachment to the frames of your glasses. This attachment, or crutch, prevents drooping by holding the eyelid in place.
Blepharoplasty is a type of surgery that repairs droopy eyelids and may involve removing excess skin, muscle and fat. You might consider blepharoplasty if droopy or sagging eyelids keep your eyes from opening completely or pull down your lower eyelids. Removing excess tissue from your upper eyelids can improve your vision. Upper and lower lid blepharoplasty can make your eyes appear younger and more alert. Blepharoplasty may be an option if you have:
After surgery you spend time in a recovery room, where you are monitored for complications. You can leave later that day to recuperate at home. After surgery you may temporarily experience:
Your doctor will likely suggest you take the following steps after surgery: