What You Need to Know

Ptosis (say TOE-sis) is the medical term for when your upper eyelid droops down over your eye. In most cases, the levator muscle stretches or separates from its attachment to the upper lid, causing the lid to droop.

What are the Symptoms of Ptosis?

There are various degrees of ptosis, from a little to a lot. Some people become concerned with just a little ptosis because they believe it makes them look old or unattractive. But ptosis can severely or even completely block your vision. This happens when the lid droops down so far, it partially or completely covers the pupil, which is the round, black ‘dot’ at the center of your eye that lets in light. If this is the case, you should see one of our physician eye specialists for an evaluation.

Although some people have surgery to correct the drooping lid for cosmetic purposes, we don’t do that type of surgery here at our eye center. As vision specialists we are concerned with treating anything that interferes with your vision. If your upper lid or lids are drooping enough to interfere with your vision, then we will most likely recommend surgery to lift the lids.

Who is at Risk for Ptosis?

Most ptosis is due to aging, but can also occur due to an injury. In rare cases, a drooping lid could be a side effect of certain surgeries, medications or even a tumor. Thyroid eye disease (meaning your body’s immune system attacks the tissues surrounding your eyes) or a condition called myasthenia gravis (which causes your muscles to weaken easily) can occasionally be the cause of ptosis.

How is Ptosis Treated?

If you have ptosis, one of our eye physicians will do a thorough exam and take a medical history to find out the cause. If surgery is recommended, it can be done as an outpatient in our center. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the eye and the area that surrounds it.

As with any type of surgery, your eye physician will discuss the procedure with you and go over the benefits as well as any risks involved. Depending on the severity of the ptosis, our physician may need to make just a small adjustment to your eye’s levator muscle, or the muscle may need to be strengthened and then reattached to the eyelid. Sometimes, to help the lid work correctly, extra skin in the upper eyelid may need to be removed as well.

If you have a drooping eyelid or eyelids, don’t hesitate to make an appointment for an evaluation with one of our physician eye specialists. We would be happy to evaluate this condition and discuss your treatment options.  

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