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Eyelid ptosis, also called blepharoptosis, is a droop in the upper eyelid. The droop can occur on one or both eyelids and ranges from mild to severe. Mild ptosis may not be very noticeable nor cause any vision problems, while severe ptosis can obstruct the vision partially or entirely.
Unilateral ptosis is the term used when one eyelid droops. Bilateral ptosis refers to when both upper lids droop.
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Although the main feature of ptosis is an upper drooping eyelid, other signs include:
Some people have a condition called dermatochalasis, which causes pseudoptosis. Pseudoptosis is associated with a gradual loosening and sagging of the eyelid skin and is common in older people. Signs of pseudoptosis can appear similar to ptosis, although these are two separate conditions with different treatments.
There are a variety of conditions that cause ptosis. In most cases, the underlying cause affects the muscles that control your eyelid movements. The eyelid muscles are called the levator palpebrae and Muller’s muscle. Other causes of ptosis are related to neurological conditions.
Types of ptosis are divided into two general groups, congenital or acquired. Congenital ptosis is present at birth, while acquired ptosis develops later on in life.
Untreated ptosis can cause astigmatism, amblyopia (lazy eye), and other eye conditions. Surgery can help prevent the development of stimulus deprivation amblyopia.
If the ptosis is mild and there is no underlying disease to address, treatment may not be necessary. Some people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons or if they have vision problems as a result of ptosis.
An oculoplastic specialist is an ophthalmologist that specializes in ophthalmic plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery (cosmetic surgery for the eyes). You may be referred to one if you're seeking surgical treatment.
Treatment options include:
In general, ptosis surgery is quite safe. However, there are some potential complications to consider:
Ptosis is not always preventable. However, leading a healthy lifestyle may reduce your risk of developing diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions can lead to complications that cause ptosis, among more serious medical problems.
These are some areas you can consider to improve your lifestyle:
Other things you can do to reduce your risk of ptosis:
Getting regular eye exams from your ophthalmologist can help detect ptosis, refractive errors, cataracts, and any other eye conditions.
Alsuhaibani, Adel, et al. “Blepharoptosis.” EyeWiki, 20 Jan. 2020, www.eyewiki.org/Blepharoptosis.
Kaiser, Peter K., and Neil J. Friedman. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Illustrated Manual of Ophthalmology. Saunders, Elsevier, 2009.
Marenco, Marco, et al. “Clinical Presentation and Management of Congenital Ptosis.” Clinical Ophthalmology, vol. 2017:11, 27 Feb. 2017, pp. 453–463., doi:10.2147/opth.s111118.
Modi, Pranav, and Tasneem Arsiwalla. “Cranial Nerve III Palsy.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 1 Feb. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526112/.
Satariano, Nicholas, et al. “Environmental Factors That Contribute to Upper Eyelid Ptosis: A Study of Identical Twins.” Aesthetic Surgery Journal, vol. 35, no. 3, 2015, pp. 235–241., doi:10.1093/asj/sju070.