Eyelid Ptosis, more commonly referred to as ‘droopy eyelid’, is a condition which normally occurs in older people due to a muscle dysfunction, and causes the eyelid to droop down into the visual eye area. Not only can ptosis be extremely annoying and look rather unsightly, but in many cases, it can actually cause long-term vision problems.
We discuss the symptoms and causes of ptosis, as well as the different ways to help treat this bothersome eye condition.
What are the symptoms of Ptosis?
Of course, the most noticeable symptom of eyelid ptosis is a drooping of the eyelid, which can occur in both or just one of them.
Ptosis varies in severity between person to person, but most who are suffering from it will find it hard to keep their eyes open, which results in eye fatigue, strained eyes and aching eyebrows, simply due to the added exertion of trying to keep their eyelids from drooping down into their line of vision.
If you are a parent and you notice your child titling their head back frequently, or raising their chin and eyebrows more than is normal, this too could be sure fire sign of something wrong. These actions are what people with ptosis typically do in order to be able to see better and this unusual tilting can result in neck pain and headaches.
What causes this eye condition?
Eyelid ptosis is often hereditary, meaning people are born with because of a defect in the muscles which are used to raise our eyelids. This type is known as congenital ptosis, and can range from mild to severe. In many cases, treatment will be recommended, as if it is left alone it can cause permanent vision problems down the line.
In other people, ptosis is a result of the natural ageing process, or can be caused by a trauma to the eye area, or though cataract surgery or daily lens wear. This type of ptosis is called acquired ptosis and is usually unavoidable.
How do I treat droopy eyelid?
In severe cases, where a patient’s vision is affected or where the appearance of their droopy eyelids is very unflattering, corrective surgical treatment might be advised by a medical doctor.
In these instances they will be referred to a specialist eye surgeon, who will be able to perform an operation to raise the affected eyelids and reattach them to the lid, attempting to hide the incision behind the natural skin crease of the eyelids so that scarring is minimal. This may also be carried out on the under-side of the lid so that there is no need for an incision in the skin. The best way to carry out the procedure will be discussed with the patient and the surgeon during initial consultations.
A procedure to surgically fix eyelid ptosis usually takes around 45 minutes to one and a half hours, but this will depend upon whether just one or both eyelids are being corrected. Local anaesthetic is used on adults, but children will need to have general anaesthetic.
For many people, this type of surgery won’t be necessary. Instead, simple props which can be attached to their everyday eye wear is able to suffice.
Likewise, specialised contact lenses also exist for people suffering from ptosis and work to hold the lids up in the right position.
Do I need to seek medical help?
If drooping of the eyelids occurs suddenly, it can be a sign of a neurological issue, so it’s vital to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Eyelid ptosis is unavoidable, but it can be prevented from getting worse by seeking the relevant treatment early on in the process. Your doctor can discuss with you whether you’re a suitable candidate for surgical treatment, but in many circumstances, non-surgical options are able to help ease the problem.
It is highly recommended that every person undergoes regular eye check-ups – ideally once every two years – to ensure the eyes are in good working order and to catch any potential issues before they can escalate into something more serious. Your eyesight is very a precious thing, so be sure to take good care of it!
Author bio: Daniel Ezra is a leading UK ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon, who specialises in reconstructive surgery of the eye area for many eye-related health conditions, including droopy eyelid, blepharospasm and eye dystonia.