Ptosis refers to drooping of an upper eyelid of one or both eyes. The droop may be barely noticeable, or the lid can descend over the entire pupil. Often patients choose to correct ptosis for cosmetic reasons, however in most cases, the drooping upper eyelid results in a reduction in the field of vision. Sometimes people tilt their heads back to try to see under the lid or raise their eyebrows repeatedly to try to lift the eyelids resulting in a chronic furrowed forehead or a chin-up head position. Eyelid drooping can make someone appear sleepy or tired as well as making the eyes fatigue easily, especially when reading. Ptosis is usually caused by normal aging, but is sometimes caused by a neurologic problem.
Though ptosis can be relatively common it is important to know when to contact your health care provider. If the eyelid drooping is affecting your appearance or vision, one eyelid suddenly droops or closes, or if the drooping lid is associated with other symptoms, such as double vision you need to consult your eye doctor.
Your health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask some medical history questions which may include:
- Are both eyelids affected or just one?
- How long has this been present?
- Is it getting worse or staying the same?
- Is it present all of the time or only sometimes?
Eyelid surgery, called blepharoplasty, usually is the best treatment for drooping eyelids. Your surgeon tightens muscles to lift the eyelids, giving you improved vision and appearance. It is important to choose your surgeon carefully, since poorly done surgery could result in an undesirable appearance or in dry eyes from lifted eyelids not closing completely.