shutterstock_1371644090.jpeg (shutterstock_1371644090.webp)Ptosis, also known as a droopy eyelid, is a common condition that can affect the upper eyelids. This occurs when the eyelid muscles are weakened or damaged, causing the eyelid to sag and partially cover the eye. It can occur in one or both eyes and may be present at birth or acquired later in life.

In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for ptosis to help you better understand this condition and how it can be managed.

Understanding Ptosis

Ptosis is a condition that affects the levator muscles in the upper eyelid, which lift the eyelid. When these muscles are weakened or damaged, they can droop, causing obstruction of vision and an asymmetrical appearance. In some cases, ptosis may only affect the upper lid margin, while in others, it can cover the entire pupil. The severity of ptosis can vary from mild to severe, depending on the degree of muscle weakness and the amount of eyelid droop.

What Causes Ptosis?

Some variations of the causes of ptosis include:

  1. Congenital ptosis: Ptosis can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life (acquired ptosis). An infant born with ptosis is caused by underdevelopment of the levator muscle within the womb, the eyelid muscle responsible for holding the eyelid in a raised position.
  2. Age-related ptosis (Aponeurotic ptosis): The most common cause of ptosis is the body's natural aging processes. Over time, the ligaments of the muscle responsible for lifting the eyelid are stretched, eventually causing drooping in one or both eyes.
  3. Myasthenia gravis: Myasthenia gravis is a rare neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle weakness as a result of impaired communication between nerve cells and muscles. Ptosis can occur as a symptom of this disorder.
  4. Facial muscular impairment: Any circumstance that inhibits the function of the facial muscles, whether it be a muscular injury or a muscular disorder, may result in ptosis. Ptosis may appear as a symptom of inherited muscular diseases, such as oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy.
  5. Nerve problems: The muscles of the eye rely on nerve processes to function; therefore, an injury to the brain can also cause ptosis. Brain injuries can occur as a result of an aneurysm, stroke, tumor, or diabetic-related nerve damage. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Ptosis?

The most obvious sign of ptosis is a drooping eyelid, and the degree of drooping varies from person to person. An eye doctor can screen for ptosis by recording precise measurements of the eye to determine the degree of ptosis. To screen oneself at home, the patient should look for the following cues while examining oneself in a mirror: that the iris above the pupil is visible, and if not, that the pupil itself is visible.

In the case that one does have ptosis, other symptoms may prevail:

  • Headache (often caused by a natural raising of the eyebrow to compensate for the drooping of the eyelid)
  • Loss of the crease caused by the fold of the skin between the eyelid and eyebrow
  • Vision impairment (primarily caused by obstruction of the eyelid, which could be as simple as peripheral vision impairment)

If the patient has an uncomplicated condition of ptosis, the symptoms are minimal. If ptosis is the symptom of a larger medical issue, such as ptosis related to diabetic nerve damage, the illness that is causing ptosis may be causing more severe symptoms.

How Is Ptosis Treated?

Ptosis treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition:

  • Age-related ptosis: The eyelid may be adjusted by cosmetic surgery.
  • Congenital ptosis: If the condition could result in visual development issues for the child, a doctor may suggest corrective surgery at an early age.

If ptosis is a symptom of a larger medical issue, then a physician would treat the illness that is causing ptosis.

How is Ptosis Diagnosed?

Ptosis is usually diagnosed by a comprehensive eye exam performed by an eye specialist. During this exam, the doctor will assess the position and movement of your eyelids, as well as measure the degree of drooping in your eyelid. They may also conduct additional tests to determine the overall health of your eyes and any potential underlying conditions that may be causing ptosis.

Can Ptosis Be Prevented?

In most cases, ptosis cannot be prevented, except by preventing injuries or illnesses that may result in it.

Contact a doctor immediately if drooping eyelids:

  • Appears over a short period of time (within a few days to a few hours)
  • Appears with symptoms of infection (redness, pain, or bulging of the eye, fever)

You should also consult medical attention if ptosis is experienced alongside:

  • Double vision
  • Muscular weakness in extremities
  • Difficulties with motor functions (including speaking and swallowing)
  • Severe headache

Visit Everett & Hurite for Expert Care and Treatment of Ptosis!

Ptosis is a condition that affects the appearance and function of the eyelid and can have various causes, such as age, congenital factors, and underlying medical issues. While it may not always be preventable, early detection and treatment can greatly improve the symptoms and overall quality of life for those affected by ptosis. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of ptosis, it is important to consult with a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

At Everett & Hurite, our dedicated eye specialists have years of clinical experience diagnosing and treating ptosis. Dr. Charles Kent is a seasoned oculoplastic surgeon and will evaluate your eyelid position and determine how to customize surgery to ensure optimal results. Our 10 offices are conveniently located in Western Pennsylvania. Request an appointment with one of the physicians or call 412-288-0858 today to receive an evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to recover from ptosis surgery?

Recovery time varies for each individual, but typically, patients can expect to return to normal activities within 1-2 weeks after surgery.

Is reconstructive surgery an option for ptosis?

Yes, reconstructive surgery can be an effective treatment option for severe ptosis, also known as drooping eyelids. This procedure involves lifting and tightening the upper eyelid to improve function and appearance. For patients with severe ptosis or droopy eyelids that are causing visual impairment or cosmetic concerns, Ptosis surgery is often recommended.

Can ptosis cause a lazy eye?

Ptosis does not cause lazy eyes, but it can contribute to their development. Ptosis can impair vision and make it difficult for the affected eye to focus properly. If left untreated, this can lead to amblyopia or lazy eye.

Is upper eyelid ptosis a common condition?

Yes, upper eyelid ptosis is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by natural aging, genetic factors, or underlying medical conditions. If you suspect you may have ptosis, it is important to consult our eye specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.