eye-419646_640.jpgWhen considering your eyes and eye health, it’s important to remember that some conditions that may affect your vision de

velop outside or around your eyes rather than within them. One such condition is ptosis, where the upper eyelids begin to droop, sometimes to the point that they interfere with one’s ability to see and carry out daily tasks properly.

Ptosis, however, is not the only condition that can interfere with a patient’s eyesight. A similar issue, dermatochalasis, can also cause problems and may even require medical intervention in some cases. Because of this, it’s important for everyone to understand what this condition entails and what to do should they find that they need treatment. 

About Dermatochalasis

“Dermatochalasis” describes a condition where the elastic tissues and fibers underneath of the skin around our eyes are unable to maintain their elasticity and so lose the ability to hold on to their normal shape and structure. As this happens, our skin tissues will begin to stretch and expand, creating excess skin that hangs or droops downwards; this loss of elasticity also often leads to thinning of the skin, wrinkling, and/or drooping.

This condition is sometimes called “baggy eyelids” outside the medical community. However, while general cases of “baggy eyelids” are not particularly uncommon, extreme cases of dermatochalasis can still be problematic. In some cases, dermatochalasis can lead to brow aches. Like ptosis, dermatochalasis can also potentially interfere with one’s ability to see properly if it develops on the upper eyelid. Unlike ptosis - where the drooping occurs due to muscle problems - dermatochalasis occurs over time and often does so due to the natural side effects of aging.

Symptoms Of Dermatochalasis

Dermatochalasis, also known as 'baggy eyelids,' can present with various symptoms including:

  • Excess skin on the upper or lower eyelids.
  • Tired or aged appearance around the eyes.
  • Drooping or sagging of the eyelid skin.
  • Wrinkling or thinning of the skin around the eyes.
  • Brow aches, especially in severe cases.
  • Interference with peripheral vision, particularly if the excess skin affects the upper eyelids.

Causes of Dermatochalasis

Dermatochalasis is caused by a loss of elasticity in the healthy connective tissue supporting the structure of the front portion of the eyelid. This loss of elastic tissue can be attributed to natural aging processes, including the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers that provide support and structure to the skin.

Other factors that may contribute to the development of dermatochalasis include:

  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Chronic sun exposure and UV damage.
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Poor skincare habits.

Treating Dermatochalasis

Dermatochalasis can’t be prevented, but there are steps that anyone and everyone can take to reduce its progression. Since dermatochalasis is a skin aging issue, these steps revolve around one theme: good skin care.

To reduce your own risk of developing dermatochalasis, make sure that you:

  • Do not over-wash your face, as this can create more skin problems
  • Keep your skin well moisturized - this will help keep it healthy
  • Avoid smoking and excessive drinking, which can damage your skin
  • Use sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and avoid spending more time in the sun than necessary to prevent some aging-related skin issues

As mentioned earlier, the development of dermatochalasis - baggy eyelids - is normal, especially if you’re over the age of 50. But the condition should not interfere with your ability to live a normal life. If it does, you should speak with your eye doctors about eyelid surgery - or blepharoplasty treatments, which remove the problematic excess skin.

Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing dermatochalasis, including:

  • Aging, as skin elasticity naturally decreases over time.
  • Family history of dermatochalasis or other skin-related conditions.
  • Prolonged and repeated sun exposure without protection.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.


A diagnosis of dermatochalasis is typically made through a comprehensive eye examination by an eye care professional. They will assess the physical symptoms and inquire about any potential vision concerns or discomfort.

In some cases, additional diagnostic tests, such as visual field testing, may be performed to evaluate the extent of vision obstruction caused by the excess eyelid skin.


While dermatochalasis cannot be prevented, effective management strategies can help reduce its impact and improve quality of life. Some management options include:

  • Good skin care practices, such as gentle cleansing, regular moisturization, and sun protection.
  • Habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to skin damage and accelerate aging.
  • Using artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to alleviate dryness or discomfort caused by the condition.
  • Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty surgery) may be recommended in severe cases when dermatochalasis significantly interferes with vision or daily activities.  There are two main types: upper eyelid blepharoplasty and lower eyelid blepharoplasty.
    • Upper blepharoplasty focuses on removing excess skin, muscle, and orbital fat from the upper lids to improve sagging and drooping. It can also address issues like brow ptosis (droopy brows) that contribute to dermatochalasis.
    • Lower eyelid blepharoplasty, on the other hand, targets the lower eyelid and aims to reduce under-eye bags and improve fine lines. This procedure may involve an incision below the lash line or inside the lower eyelid (transconjunctival approach).

Prioritizing Your Eye Health with Everett & Hurite Eyecare Specialists

While some stretching and drooping of the skin can be expected as we all age, cases where these developments interfere with your ability to see and live a normal life should not be ignored. By taking care of your skin now, you may be able to retard the development of severe dermatochalasis. If you ever notice the skin around your eyes sagging more than you’d expect, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor immediately. 

At Everett & Hurite Eyecare Specialists, we understand dermatochalasis's impact on your vision and overall quality of life. Our team of experienced eye care specialists is dedicated to providing personalized care and tailored treatment options to address your specific needs.

You can take proactive steps toward maintaining optimal eye health by scheduling an appointment with us. Our experts will evaluate your condition, recommend appropriate treatments, and guide you through the process to achieve the best possible outcome.

Don't let dermatochalasis hinder your visual potential and well-being. Contact Everett & Hurite Eyecare Specialists today to schedule your consultation. Together, we can work towards improving your eye health and enhancing your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dermatochalasis recur after treatment?

While eyelid surgery can provide long-lasting results, natural aging processes can cause some recurrence of skin laxity over time. Regular follow-up with an eye care professional is recommended.

Are there any non-surgical treatments for dermatochalasis?

Non-surgical treatments like skincare practices, lubricating eye drops, and lifestyle modifications can help manage dermatochalasis to some extent. However, for severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Are there any home remedies or natural treatments for dermatochalasis?

There are some home remedies and natural treatments for dermatochalasis, such as cool compresses, cucumber slices, chamomile tea bags, and good skincare habits. However, consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended for effective treatment.

Can upper lid blepharoplasty address ocular irritation?

Upper lid blepharoplasty removes excess eyelid skin and fat, which can improve ocular irritation symptoms caused by dermatochalasis. However, for long-term relief, the underlying cause of the irritation should be addressed.

Will there be visible scarring after an eyelid crease incision?

In most cases, the incision is well-hidden within the natural eyelid crease, minimizing visible scarring. However, individual healing and scar formation may vary. Your surgeon will provide aftercare instructions to help minimize scarring.