Droopy Eyelids (Ptosis)

Ptosis not only affects our appearance, but also causes discomfort due to lid heaviness and visual obstruction.

What is ptosis?

Ptosis refers to a pathological drooping of the eyelids. Age, trauma, or even various medical conditions or abnormalities can result in ptosis. It is possible for ptosis to affect a person temporarily, although it has been known to be a permanent condition for some.

It is possible for ptosis to be present at birth (congenital ptosis), and it is also possible for persons with normal eyelids to acquire ptosis through a variety of causes. In severe cases of ptosis, the drooping eyelid can hinder or reduce the visual ability of the afflicted person as it may get in the way of light entering the pupil of the eye.

Though it is possible to recover from ptosis naturally if the underlying condition is resolved, it is best to see an eye doctor or specialist if you feel that your drooping eyelid(s) are affecting your visual quality and ability.

Who is at risk of developing ptosis?

There are several likely causes of droopy eyelids, varying from natural causes to more serious health conditions. It is most common in older adults due to the ageing process, where the eyelid muscles responsible for opening the upper eyelid stretch over time. This stretching causes the eyelid to fall lower, and in some cases, obstruct the person’s ability to see properly.

That said, it should be known that persons of every age can be develop ptosis. There is also no bias between ethnicity or gender.

Ptosis in Children

The most widely recognized reason for congenital ptosis is the levator muscle not growing appropriately. Kids who are born with ptosis are likely to also suffer from amblyopia, also known as lazy eye. This condition may affect the visual ability of the affected children.

What are the risk factors for ptosis?

The conditions below may increase the risk of a person developing ptosis. Read on to find out:

Underlying Disease or Injury

In the event that your eyelids are drooping, it could be an indication of an underlying ailment, particularly if the condition affects both eyelids.

On the off chance that only one of your eyelids experiences drooping, it might be an aftereffect of a nerve injury or a stye. Routine LASIK or cataract surgery can occasionally result in ptosis due to the levator muscle or tendons in the area getting stretched from the procedure.

Serious Medical Conditions

Sometimes, droopy eyelids are brought about by health conditions that are more serious in nature. For example, a stroke, tumours of the brain, or malignant cancers of the nerves or muscles.

What are the symptoms of droopy eyelid?

You may also experience very dry or watery eyes, may also appear exhausted or listless.

The primary zones affected by ptosis will be around the eyes. Pain or discomfort may also be felt. Which in turn can make you appear more tired than you actually are.

Some patients with advanced ptosis may even need to tilt their heads back to see their counterpart when holding a conversation.

An eye specialist that examines persistent ptosis cases should always check for underlying health abnormalities or pre-existing conditions. This is particularly significant if the patient complains of headaches, migraines or different symptoms that have appeared since the drooping of eyelids was first observed.


Treatment of ptosis is not always cosmetic and often medically necessary to relieve visual obstruction. The method of treatment for the droopy eyelid, however, would depend on the specific cause and the severity of the ptosis.

In the event that the condition is the consequence of the normal ageing process, or if it was a congenital case, your eye specialist may state that the condition is not damaging to your health. In such cases, there may be no need, except for aesthetic reasons to correct the droopy eyelid(s). Plastic surgery is then an option here to reduce the drooping eyelid(s).

In the event that your eye specialist finds that your ptosis is brought about by an underlying medical condition, the priority here would then be to first treat the condition that first brought about ptosis in the first place. With the condition under control, the drooping will typically cease at that point.

Should your case of ptosis cause an obstruction to normal vision, surgery may then be required to correct the drooping eyelid, and to restore your visual ability.

Ptosis Surgery & Risks

Ptosis surgery may be recommended as treatment if the condition poses a hindrance for the patient to see normally.

This procedure involves the tightening of the levator muscle. The result is a ‘lifting’ of the previously drooping eyelid. For congenital ptosis cases, the eye specialist may suggest for the child to prevent the development of ‘lazy eye’ in the future.

Risks of surgery include dry eye, scratched corneas, and/or hematomas. Human error is also a risk to be considered. Surgeons have been known to ‘over-correct’ or ‘under-correct’ ptosis, leaving the eyelid hanging too high, or low.

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